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!

Grandstanding of the Parties which Form the Establishment

Accountability Begins at Home with Deeds Not Words

The Consequences on the Environment of Methods of Production

- K.C. Adams -

Alberta Election 2019

Results That Do Not Bode Well for Either Alberta or Canada
- Pauline Easton -

For Your Information

Election Results

Indigenous Peoples Fight for the Affirmation of Sovereignty 

Crown Drops Charges Against Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders
Hereditary Chief Says "Reconciliation Is Not at the Barrel of a Gun"

Trump Administration Enforces Title III of Helms-Burton Act

Let Us Make Sure the Government of Canada Does Not
Appease the U.S. in Its Attempt to Strangle Cuba!


- Isaac Saney, Co-Chair and Spokesperson,
Canadian Network on Cuba -

Where Is Canada's Backbone in Standing Up to the U.S. on Cuba?

- John Kirk and Stephen Kimber -


Revolutionary Government of Cuba

Global Affairs Canada

European Union

European Union and Canada

Ottawa Cuba Connections

Bolivarian Government of Venezuela

Government of Mexico

Civil War Conditions Evident in the United States

U.S. Federal, State and Local Clashes on Immigration

- Voice of Revolution -

Resistance to Attacks on Rights Increases

New Utah Law Protects Immigrants

Sheriffs in North Carolina Refuse to Cooperate with
Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Civil Rights and Immigrants' Rights Organizations Issue
a Statewide Travel Alert in Florida

- American Civil Liberties Union of Florida -

Action at the National Border Patrol Museum

- Tornillo: The Occupation -

Federal Court Blocks Trump's Forced Return to Mexico Policy

- American Civil Liberties Union -

Impunity in the Philippines Must Be Ended

Worldwide Opposition to Extra-Judicial Killings

Update on DPRK-U.S. Relations

Request for U.S. to Put in Place Proper
Conditions for Negotiations

- Nick Lin -

Important Anniversaries

58th Anniversary of Defeat of U.S.-Led Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba
71st Anniversary of Jeju Island Uprising in Korea
76th Anniversary of Heroic Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Earth Day 2019

All Out to Humanize the Natural and
Social Environment!

Student planet strike action in Montreal, March 15, 2019.

On Earth Day, April 22, the world comes together to demand 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 anti-national agendas.

The urgent need is to reverse this alarming deleterious trend. 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 wealth, 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 social 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 solutions.

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 is in 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 class, 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 environments.

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 entire world.

All Out to Make Our Claims on Society Known on Earth Day 2019!
All Out to Humanize the Natural and Social Environment!

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Grandstanding of the Parties which
Form the Establishment

Vancouver climate change march, September 9, 2018 calls out the Trudeau government for its grandstanding on the environment while purchasing a pipeline.

As people all over the world take a stand to humanize the 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 Conservative identity."

In this way, the ruling elite and their media have been trying 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 Gas 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 include Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

National Post columnist Andrew Coyne writes: "Incoming 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 others.

Canadians, especially the youth, are profoundly concerned 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.

(With files from CBC, CP, nationalpost.com and Global News.)

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Accountability Begins at Home with
Deeds Not Words

The federal government asserts that collecting a sales tax 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 nonsense.

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 working people.

As far as returning the revenue to the people or for green 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 competition 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 planet and 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 credibility whatever.

Accountability begins at home with deeds not words. The deeds 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.

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The Consequences on the Environment of
Methods of Production

The refusal to take into account the consequences on the 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, and society.

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 private interests.

The oligarchs argue and fight over how to pass the burden of 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 Ontario's economy.

Imperialist mantra asserts a boundary that the representatives 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 issue of 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.

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Alberta Election 2019

Results That Do Not Bode Well for Either
Alberta or Canada

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 preconceived notions.

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 fore.

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 widely publicized 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 power.

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. This 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. imperialism.

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 Edmonton Journal and the conservative Calgary Herald both supported Jason Kenney to form the next government. They received the wish they worked to promote and now have the arrogance to say the people 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 guarantee.

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 Liberals.

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.

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For Your Information

Election Results

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. Albert.

In Calgary, the UCP was elected in 23 ridings, with the NDP 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 population 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 ballot.

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 seat in 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 total 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 seats 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.

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Indigenous Peoples Fight for the Affirmation of Sovereignty

Crown Drops Charges Against
Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders

On April 15, the Crown dropped contempt charges against 14 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 territory."

CGL claims that it has agreements with 20 First Nations, including a 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 defenders, which 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 is in government at either federal or provincial levels.

The Canadian people from coast to coast to coast held demonstrations 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.

(With files from CBC.)

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Hereditary Chief Says "Reconciliation Is
Not at the Barrel of a Gun"

Chief Na'moks speaking in Smithers, January 16, 2019.

Chief Na'moks of the Tsayu (Beaver Clan) of the Wet'suwet'en 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."

Chief Na'moks pointing out where the pipeline is to cross Wet'suwet'en territory.

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 law."

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 we've 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 Wet'suwet'en 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 just 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 the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights will only be fought for and defended by 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 that is 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 violations 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.

(National Observer, CBC)

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Trump Administration Enforces Title III of Helms-Burton Act

Let Us Make Sure the Government of Canada
Does Not Appease the U.S. in Its Attempt
to Strangle Cuba!

Monthly picket at U.S. embassy in Ottawa April 17, 2019, demands end to the criminal
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 Caracas."[1]

Also on April 17, in a speech to the Bay of Pigs Veterans' 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 changes 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 that 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 Communist dictators!"

The new step of the Trump administration is a criminal act of 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 significant 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.

(With files from Prensa Latina, Cubadebate, Miami Herald, Politico.)

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Vancouver monthly picket, April 17, 2019, demands end to blockade of Cuba.

The U.S. Helms-Burton Act was conceived to codify 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?

Isaac Saney: 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 administration 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 economic 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; it is 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 Cuba.

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 Cuban economy.

TMLW: Tell us about the international community's opposition to the Helms-Burton Act.

IS: It is opposed by the international community 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 community, 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 was further strengthened specifically to deal with the Helms-Burton Act, by blocking its enforcement in Canada.

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 Honda 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 activation of 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.

As for FEMA, it was enacted in 1985 to block the extra-territorial 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 and Cuba.

FEMA was amended in 1997 to specifically deal with Title III of the Helms-Burton Act 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 jurisdictions.

As far as I know, FEMA has ever been enforced 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 relations 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 into 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 from the 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 activation of Title III attacks the Cuban nation and people.

IS: This is a continuation of the war against 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 Revolution, 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 Cuba's 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 when Helms-Burton's 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 international law?

By opposing Helms-Burton, not only do we uphold the sovereignty of nations, and in our particular case, Canadian sovereignty, but we uphold the right to and the necessity for the rule of law.

TMLW: How should the Canadian government respond to this?

IS: In my opinion the Canadian government should very vociferously, in all national and international fora, reject the extraterritorial nature of Helms-Burton. It should uphold Canadian sovereignty and act in keeping with its vote at the United Nations condemning the illegal U.S. economic, financial and commercial blockade 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 is a 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.

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Where Is Canada's Backbone in Standing Up
to the U.S. on Cuba?

In June 1996, mere months after the U.S. Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act to tighten the screws on Cuba's economy, Canada became the first country to publicly say "no" to Washington's plan.

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 arbitration.

Within the month, prime minister Jean Chrétien had 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 backbone today?

It's not hard to understand what Mr. Trump and his allies are 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 list of 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 United States.

Perhaps most ominously for Canada, Mr. Rubio pointedly warned 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 Havana 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 largest 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 sounded worried recently: Title III "could affect any company which has any, any relationship with Cuba," he declared.

While Ottawa insists Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is quietly lobbying Washington and reassuring Canadian companies she has their back, that muted response is telling -- and dangerous.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau desperately wants the seat on 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. Trudeau 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 Real Story of the Cuban Five.

(Contributed to The Globe and Mail, published April 15, 2019.)

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Revolutionary Government of Cuba

Today, April 17, is the anniversary of the launching of the United States' 1961 military invasion at Playa Girón. (Bay of Pigs) The Cuban people’s resolute response in defense of the Revolution and socialism, within only 72 hours, produced the first military defeat of imperialism in America.

Strangely, the date was chosen by the current U.S. government to announce new aggressive measures against Cuba and to reinforce their implementation of the Monroe Doctrine.

The Revolutionary 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.

We repudiate, as well, the decision to reinstate limits on remittances that Cuban residents in the U.S. send to their families and friends, to further restrict travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba, and impose additional financial sanctions.

We strongly denounce references that attacks against U.S. diplomats have occurred in Cuba.

They attempt to justify their actions, as is customary, with lies and coercion.

Army General Raúl Castro stated this past April 10: "Cuba is blamed for all evils, using lies in the worst style of Hitler's propaganda."

The U.S. government resorts to slander, to cover up and justify the obvious failure of its sinister coup maneuver, designating in Washington an impostor "President" for Venezuela.

They accuse Cuba of being responsible for the strength and determination shown by the Bolivarian Chavista government, the country's people, and the civic-military union defending 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.

They have the cynicism to blame Cuba for the economic and social situation Venezuela is facing after years of brutal economic sanctions, conceived and implemented by the United States and their allies, precisely to economically asphyxiate the country and cause suffering within the population.

Washington goes so far as to pressure governments in other countries to attempt to persuade Cuba to withdraw this unlikely supposed military and security aid, and even to stop lending support and solidarity to Venezuela.

The current U.S. government is well-known, within the country itself and internationally, for its unscrupulous use of lies as a tool in domestic and foreign policy. This is an old habit among imperialism’s practices.

The images are still fresh of President George W. Bush, with the support of current National Security John Bolton, indecently lying about supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a lie that served as the pretext to invade this Middle Eastern country.

Recorded in history, as well, are the bombing of the Maine anchored in Havana, and the self-inflicted Gulf of Tonkin incident, episodes that served as pretexts to unleash brutal wars in Cuba and Vietnam.

We cannot forget that the United States used fake insignia painted on the planes that carried out bombings here as a prelude to the Playa Girón invasion, to hide the fact that they were U.S. aircraft.

It should be clear that the U.S. slanders are based on an absolute, deliberate lie. Their intelligence agencies have more than enough evidence, surely more 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.

Those making this accusation have more than 250,000 soldiers and 800 military bases abroad, some of them in our hemisphere.

This government also knows, as Cuba has repeatedly stated publicly, that the more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators, more than 60 per cent women, are undertaking 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 international community.

It should also be absolutely clear that our firm solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is Cuba's right as a sovereign state, and also a duty that is part of our tradition and among the irrevocable principles of the Cuban Revolution’s foreign policy.

No threat of reprisal against Cuba, no ultimatum or pressure on the part of the current U.S. government will dissuade the Cuban nation's internationalist vocation, despite the devastating human and economic damage caused by the genocidal blockade to our people.

It is worth remembering that thuggish threats and ultimatums have been used in the past, when Cuba's internationalists supported liberation movements in Africa, while the 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.

At that time, Cuba rejected the pressure, as we reject it today, with the greatest disdain.

Army General Raúl Castro recalled this past April 10, "Over 60 years, facing aggression and threats, Cubans have shown the iron will to resist and 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."

The Cuban government calls on all members of the international community and U.S. citizens to put an end to this irrational escalation and the hostile, 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.

The President of the Councils of State and Ministers Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez declared this past April 13, "Cuba continues to have confidence in its strengths, 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."

Once again, Cuba repudiates the lies and the threats, and reiterates that its sovereignty, independence, and commitment to the cause of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, are not negotiable.

Two days before the commemoration of the 58th anniversary of the victory at Playa Girón, a historic site within our national territory, where mercenary forces 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


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Global Affairs Canada

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 Act:

"Canada is deeply disappointed with today's announcement. We will be reviewing all options in response to this U.S. decision.

"Since the U.S. announced in January it would review Title 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 this issue with the EU.

"I have been in contact with Canadian businesses to reaffirm we will fully defend the interests of Canadians conducting legitimate trade and investment with Cuba."

(Global Affairs Canada)

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European Union

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 Act:

"In the light of the United States Administration's decision to not renew the waiver related to Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton (LIBERTAD) Act, the European Union reiterates 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, suspended its case in the World Trade Organisation against the U.S.

"The EU will consider all options at its disposal to protect 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 EU, and allows EU companies sued in the U.S. to recover any damage through legal proceedings against U.S. claimants before EU courts."

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European Union and Canada

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 actions."

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Ottawa Cuba Connections

On April 17, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced 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 failed 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. Congress in 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 economy.

Title III authorizes U.S. nationals to bring action before 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 guided 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 in 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 Cuba!
Make Sure Canada Opposes Attempts to Impose Title III Against
Canadian Investments in Cuba!

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Bolivarian Government of Venezuela

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela strongly rejects the 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 Cuba.

As announced by Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the entry 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 Fidel Castro.

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

(Ministry of People's Power for Foreign Affairs, April 18, 2019. English translation slightly edited for style and grammar by TML.)

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Government of Mexico

The Government of Mexico regrets the decision of the United 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 in and 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 application of unilateral trade laws with an extraterritorial character because they violate the norms of international law.

In this regard, Mexico reconfirms its support for the end of the economic and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba.

(Ministry of Foreign Relations, April 17, 2019. Translated from the original Spanish by TML.)

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Civil War Conditions Evident in the United States

U.S. Federal, State and Local Clashes
on Immigration

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 others.

Along with broad united actions by the people both sides of 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 Utah's.

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 has 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 all.

(Voice of Revolution, April 12, 2019.)

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Resistance to Attacks on Rights Increases

New Utah Law Protects Immigrants

Utah is one of just a handful of states to pass legislation 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 most 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. She joins states like Washington, California and Nevada, that have passed so-called 364-day laws. Colorado and New York also adopted similar protections.

(Voice of Revolution)

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Sheriffs in North Carolina Refuse to Cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Protest in Charlotte, North Carolina, February 18, 2019 against Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.

In just four days in February, federal immigration officials 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 Customs Enforcement.

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, etc.

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 African Americans.

After the new sheriffs were elected, ICE's retaliation was 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 jurisdiction 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 legislature 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 law.

The federal government, using immigration, is striving to 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.

(Voice of Revolution)

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Civil Rights and Immigrants' Rights Organizations Issue a Statewide Travel Alert in Florida

Civil rights and immigrants' rights leaders issued a travel 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 adopting 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 taxpayers.

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 would 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 County.

"ICE's broken detainer system has wrongfully disrupted the 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 citizenship."

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 state.

"It's shameful that the state of Florida seeks to further 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."

(www.aclufl.org, April, 8, 2019)

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Action at the National Border Patrol Museum

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 exhibit a 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 Alonzo, Claudia Patricia Gómez González, and the more than 100 others who 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. A 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 exhibits.

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 free.

Protesters from Museum Action Face Criminal Charges

Sixteen activists are facing criminal charges stemming from a 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.


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Federal Court Blocks Trump's Forced
Return to Mexico Policy

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 Poverty Law Center, and Center for Gender & Refugee Studies successfully sought the preliminary injunction against what the administration calls, in an Orwellian twist, the "Migrant Protection Protocols."

Judy Rabinovitz, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' 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 that 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 Law Center.

The lawsuit cites violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedure 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.

(www.aclu.org, April 8, 2019)

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Impunity in the Philippines Must Be Ended

Worldwide Opposition to Extra-Judicial Killings


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 29.

A fact-finding investigation conducted by local human rights 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 strength.

Acts of state violence are increasing in the Philippines. 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 impunity 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 and 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 affairs.

Since coming to power, the Duterte regime has been a further 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 advancing 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 by the 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.




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Update on DPRK-U.S. Relations

Request for U.S. to Put in Place Proper
Conditions for Negotiations

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 in 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 day of 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 Hanoi as 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 first 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 deterrent 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 and science.

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 in the ongoing role of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo:

"[E]ven in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue 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 distrust."

Similarly on April 20, Vice Minister Choe criticized Bolton's 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 20 that 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 continues to 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 held 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 future."

Moon said to Trump that a third DPRK-U.S. summit should be held in the near future, describing the second summit in Hanoi as "part of a bigger process that will lead us to a bigger agreement."

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 been 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 it," he 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 before.

Ahead of the summit, Moon met successively at his guest house 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.

(With files from Rodong Sinmun, Hankyoreh, Xinhua.)

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