January 25, 2020 - No. 1
Out for the January 25 Day of Action
All Foreign Troops Out of Iraq!
• Actions Across Canada and U.S. Condemn
Targeted Assassinations and the Threat of War
Urgent Need for People's Empowerment and
a New Direction for the Economy
• Davos Summit and the Growing
of the World's People
Uphold Hereditary and Human Rights
of Indigenous Peoples of Canada
• Organize Broad Support and Public
Opinion for the
Just Struggle of the Wet'suwet'en People!
• Wet'suwet'en People Continue to Say No!
to Coastal GasLink Pipeline on Their Territory
Philip Fernandez and Barbara Biley -
• Canada Must Respect the Right of
and Peoples to Sovereignty and Self-Determination
• Statement of Solidarity
University of Northern BC Faculty and Staff -
• Thirty Years After Delgamuukw
• Actions Across Turtle Island and Beyond
Stand with Land Defenders
Mass Incarceration of Indigenous Peoples
• Statement by Chief of Human Rights
Latin America and the
• In 2020 Step Up Anti-Imperialist
with the Peoples of Our America!
- Margaret Villamizar -
61st Anniversary of Cuban Revolution
• Cuba Marches On! Cuba Resists! Cuba
Isaac Saney, Spokesperson, Canadian Network on Cuba -
Interferes (Again) to Save Guaidó
Misión Verdad -
• Solemn Commemoration Activities in
10th Anniversary of the Earthquake: Ayiti la!
• Thoughts on the Imperialist Economy and
Its Recurring Crises and Wars
K.C. Adams -
Out for the January 25 Day of Action
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
calls on all peace-loving people to join in the January 25 Global Day
of Protest to condemn targeted assassinations and the threat of war
It also expresses its sincere condolences to all the families and
friends who lost loved ones in the downing of Ukraine International
Airlines Flight 752. The fact that civilian aircraft were permitted to
fly in an active war zone leading to such tragic consequences is a
At the heart of
the matter is the use of force to resolve conflicts and acts which run
counter to acceptable norms of behaviour as well as international laws
established after the Second World War. The very notion of
international law has been cast aside by the ruling elites of the world
under the auspices of NATO and its "rules-based international order" in
which the warmongers, headed by the U.S., set the "rules."
Whenever the crisis in the U.S. deepens and the
U.S. resorts to such unlawful acts as targeted assassinations, a
stupendous effort is made to turn attention away from its condemnable
activities and raise every manner of diversion to create a situation
whereby the people themselves who are subjected to threats of
aggression and genocide are made the focus of attention. The government
of Canada is an appeaser of the U.S. in this regard. It must not pass!
The peoples of Iraq and Iran have always opposed
the occupation of their countries by the U.S. and other members of its
aggressive military alliance NATO. Now, in spite of the fact that the
Iraqi parliament has passed a resolution calling for the departure of
all foreign forces, neither the U.S. nor Canada have any intention of
complying with it. Trump uncouthly said U.S. troops would not leave
unless Iraq paid the U.S. back for the "billions" it put into the
country, threatening to steal its national oil revenues deposited in a
U.S. bank account. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has declared: "We
have to respect their process [speaking of the Iraqi vote] but it is
more complicated than just one vote."
What is "complicated" is that under the command of the U.S., Canada
goes along with the NATO pretext for inserting itself in the region --
that "peace and stability are key to pursuing the political and
economic reforms underway in Iraq," as Canada's Minister of Foreign
Affairs put it.
Not only is
Canada continuing to participate in the illegal occupation of Iraq, it
is playing yet again a leading role to appease U.S. imperialism by
promoting the disinformation that the U.S. is the indispensable nation
with its continued occupation of Iraq and interference in the region,
where it has over 65,000 troops plus thousands of private mercenaries
A first step to ensure peace and stability in the region is for Canada
to permanently withdraw its publicly reported 850 troops deployed to
Iraq and neighbouring countries as part of a Canadian-led NATO mission
and a mission called Operation Impact which supports the U.S. war
coalition's "anti-terrorism" operation. Any other non-reported Canadian
covert or "exchange" forces integrated with U.S. military forces in the
region should also be immediately withdrawn.
In the face of U.S. war crimes, sanctions, and criminal activities,
Canada's position is unacceptable as it serves to maintain the status
quo and creates conditions for another war of destruction in the region.
Canada must be a factor for peace and withdraw from NATO and all
economic and military alliances with U.S. imperialism and establish an
independent foreign policy based on the principles of diplomacy and
peaceful resolution of conflicts. This must include restoring
diplomatic relations with Iran and ending its sanctions against the
No to U.S.-Led Wars of
Hands Off Iran!
Canada Out of NATO and NORAD!
Make Canada a Factor for Peace!
Halifax, January 11, 2020
Montreal, January 5, 2020
Ottawa, January 4, 2020
Toronto, January 4, 2020
Waterloo, January 4, 2020
London, January 10, 2020
Windsor, January 4, 2020
Winnipeg, January 11, 2020
Regina, January 4, 2020
Calgary, January 4, 2020
Vancouver, January 5, 2020
Vancouver, January 10, 2020
Courtenay, January 4, 2020
New York City
Ann Arbor, MI
St. Paul, MN
San Francisco, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Need for People's Empowerment and a New Direction for the Economy
Some 1,000 people hike to the World Economic Forum in Davos declaring
the climate crisis a world economic failure and demanding a change of
The World Economic Forum of the global financial
oligarchy is once again taking place in Davos, Switzerland. The Davos
Summit is being held amidst the growing impoverishment of the world's
peoples and in opposition to the necessity for a new pro-social
direction for the economy. Canada, whose governments at the federal and
provincial levels represent supranational private interests in
opposition to the people and their economy, has several contingents
attending the forum financed by the public purse.
Media coverage of the Davos forum is always an extensive exercise in
disinformation to present no alternative to an economy whose inherent
feature is the trend of the rich becoming richer and the poor poorer.
In this regard, the 2020 report by Oxfam on global inequality titled Time
to Care says the world's 2,153 billionaires have more wealth
than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet's
population. The Oxfam report, released on January 20 in conjunction with the
gathering in Davos, confirms the global trend towards the concentration
of social wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer rich oligarchs. The
report also fuels the diversion that the representatives of the world's
richest people have an interest in a better distribution of wealth to
benefit the growing poor whose rebellion they clearly fear. In this
vein, several billionaires organized into a U.S.-led group called the
Patriotic Millionaires issued an open letter declaring the rich should
pay more taxes. According to their website, the oligarchs are "high-net
worth Americans, business leaders, and investors who are united in
their concern about the destabilizing concentration of wealth and power
agreement with the oligarchs that taxing the rich is a safer option
than a new pro-social direction for the economy, Oxfam writes, "Getting
the richest one per cent to pay just 0.5 per cent extra tax on their
wealth over the next 10 years would equal the investment needed to
create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and childcare,
education and health."
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, who is said to be in Davos this year to
represent the Oxfam confederation, feeds this narrative saying, "The
gap between rich and poor can't be resolved without deliberate
inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to
these." Behar adds a sense of urgency for the oligarchs to act to
defend their privilege and power saying, "Our broken economies are
lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of
ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question
whether billionaires should even exist."
To further divert attention away from any serious discussion on the
direction of the global economy and the urgent need for working people
to organize for empowerment through democratic renewal, Oxfam suggests
the oligarchs use the greater exploitation of women as a foil to stop
working people from unleashing their collective power for change. Behar
says, "Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today's
economic system. They spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and
caring for children and the elderly. Unpaid care work is the 'hidden
engine' that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and
societies moving. It is driven by women who often have little time to
get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our
societies are run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the
The Oxfam report reads: "The 22 richest men in the world have more
wealth than all the women in Africa. Women and girls put in 12.5
billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day -- a contribution
to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year, more than
three times the size of the global tech industry."
After citing more facts pointing to catastrophic scenarios that could
disrupt the lives of the financial oligarchy and the economic and
political systems it relies on, the Oxfam report concludes,
"Governments are massively under-taxing the wealthiest individuals and
corporations and failing to collect revenues that could help lift the
responsibility of care from women and tackle poverty and inequality. At
the same time, governments are underfunding vital public services and
infrastructure that could help reduce women and girls' workload. For
example, investments in water and sanitation, electricity, childcare,
healthcare could free up women's time and improve their quality of
life. For example, providing access to an improved water source could
save women in parts of Zimbabwe up to four hours of work a day, or two
months a year."
To save the current direction of the economy from collapse and a change
to the new, and to spread confusion as to the root cause of inequality,
Behar urges the oligarchs to act in their own self-interest saying:
"Governments created the inequality crisis -- they must act now to end
it. They must ensure corporations and wealthy individuals pay their
fair share of tax and increase investment in public services and
infrastructure. They must pass laws to tackle the huge amount of care
work done by women and girls, and ensure that people who do some of the
most important jobs in our society -- caring for our parents, our
children and the most vulnerable -- are paid a living wage. Governments
must prioritize care as being as important as all other sectors in
order to build more human economies that work for everyone, not just a
Regarding India, Behar's own country of origin, the report notes that
one per cent of the population owns more wealth than 70 per cent of the
population. Sixty-three billionaires have more wealth than the annual
budget of the government of India. What the report does not say is that
79 years of independence from brutal British colonial rule have brought
increased misery to a vast majority of the population because the state
ensures that a tiny minority control the decision-making power and
ensure no challenge is organized to its privilege no matter which party
forms the government and which policies are adopted.
Indian governments since independence have adopted "socialism" and
"secularism" along with a "green revolution" to eliminate poverty, and
then "liberalization" and "privatization" and now "Hindutva" and "Hindu
Rashtra." All these different versions of the same state power of the
rich and privileged have been meant to keep the people disinformed,
disorganized and disempowered.
world the dictate of the financial oligarchy is expressed in
supranational neo-liberal policies to use state funds to pay the rich
and build war economies. The peoples' tax monies and increased state
borrowing from private money lenders are employed to further militarize
economies and wage propaganda campaigns such as the Davos Forum against
any efforts of working people to organize to change the world in their
favour. The financial oligarchy is adamant to retain its control over
the economies of all countries regardless of the problems, misery and
wars this creates. It refuses to have in existence any economic forms
unless it can expropriate a portion of the new value as private profit.
The oligarchs gauge the health and success of the economy not by any
objective measure but from their own subjective outlook of whether the
rich are becoming richer and their empires more powerful.
The World Economic Forum in Davos is all about inventing new ways to
fleece the working peoples of the world and divert them from uniting in
their own interests in opposition to the rich oligarchs. Most
governments have become representatives of supranational private
interests in opposition to the people and their economy.
There is an alternative! A new aim and direction for the economy under
the control of the actual producers would begin to solve a country's
economic and social problems. This requires democratic renewal and the
empowerment of the working people using new political and economic
forms and institutions of their own creation.
The supplement to this issue of TML Weekly is
dedicated to discussion on the economy. See "Thoughts on the
Imperialist Economy and Its Recurring Crises and Wars," by K.C. Adams.
says Time to Care is a methodology document and
outlines how Oxfam calculated the statistics in the report and the
dataset. It says:
"Oxfam's calculations are based on the most up-to-date and
comprehensive data sources available. Figures on the share of wealth
come from the Credit Suisse Research Institute's Global Wealth Databook
2019. Figures on the very richest in society come from Forbes' 2019
Billionaires List. Billionaire wealth fell in the last year but has
"Oxfam is part of the Fight Inequality Alliance, a growing global
coalition of civil society organizations and activists that will be
holding events from January 18-25 in 30 countries, including India,
Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda and the UK, to promote
solutions to inequality and demand that economies work for everyone."
2. The World
Economic Forum is funded by its 1,000 member companies, typically
global enterprises with more than $5 billion in turnover (varying by
industry and region). These enterprises rank among the top companies
within their industry and/or country and play a leading role in shaping
the future of their industry and/or region. Membership is stratified by
the level of engagement with forum activities, with the level of
membership fees increasing as participation in meetings, projects, and
As of 2011, an annual membership costs $52,000 for an individual
member, $263,000 for an "Industry Partner" and $527,000 for a
"Strategic Partner." The admission fee was $19,000 per
In 2014, WEF raised annual fees by 20 per cent, increasing the cost for a "Strategic Partner" to $628,000. (Abhin
Poojary, Analyst at Performics. Convonix)
Hereditary and Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Canada
Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, January 4, 2020, gather as they evict
Coastal GasLink from
their hereditary lands.
Stand with the
Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders!
Our future lies in the fight for the rights of all!
The working class must boldly stand with the
Indigenous peoples who are fighting for their rights. TML
Weekly calls on all workers and their organizations to
organize broad support and public opinion for the Wet'suwet'en people
in northern BC who are courageously defending their territories from
imperialist encroachment and state-organized violence and
criminalization. The Wet'suwet'en people, on the basis of their own
judgment, have not given their free, prior and informed consent for a
supranational cartel called Coastal GasLink (CGL) to invade their lands
and construct a pipeline.
In defiance of
the people's ancient governance system and Wet'suwet'en customary law,
Anuc 'nu'at'en, CGL has engaged in wanton destruction of Wet'suwet'en
hunting and foraging areas, historical trails and sacred burial and
other sites central to the material, spiritual and cultural well-being
of the Wet'suwet'en people. In response to this illegal attack on their
territory, all five Wet'suwet'en clans issued and enforced an expulsion
order on January 4, evicting CGL's workers from their territory.
The federal Liberal government and the BC NDP/Green coalition
government, representing the supranational private interests of CGL and
associated global energy and financial cartels, are using their
political authority, the courts and the RCMP to negate the rights of
the Wet'suwet'en people and their lawful jurisdiction over their
territory. The BC Supreme Court has issued an injunction against the
Wet'suwet'en people criminalizing and ordering them to give up their
actions in defence of their rights. Armed officers of the RCMP have
been sent to the Wet'suwet'en territory to enforce the illegal colonial
injunction. The RCMP has set up a blockade of the CGL construction zone
blocking Wet'suwet'en people and their allies from entering their own
territory. The federal Parliament, BC Legislature, the courts and the
RCMP seek to criminalize with colonial injustice and brute force the
defence of the Wet'suwet'en people's rights, their territory, customary
law, governance system and economic development under their control and
which they decide favours their interests.
Colonial laws and
governance systems established through the oppressive racist Indian
Act of 1876 have been used to criminalize and outlaw the
Indigenous peoples and negate their rights from coast to coast to
coast. The Canadian and Quebec working class does not accept the
negation of its own rights or those of the Indigenous peoples. The
working class rejects with utter contempt the racist nonsense of BC NDP
Premier Horgan who, in slavish devotion to the narrow private interests
of a supranational energy/financial/construction cartel, dismisses with
the usual colonial arrogance the rights, customary law and traditional
governance systems of the Indigenous peoples. With regard to the
Wet'suwet'en people evicting CGL from their territory, Horgan has given
a green light to the RCMP to unleash yet more colonial violence against
the Indigenous people, as he did one year ago, saying, "This project is
proceeding, and the rule of law needs to prevail in BC."
The working class has become quite familiar with the rule of law of the
imperialists that negates workers' rights to defend their claims on
what they produce, to negotiate their terms of employment, oppose the
anti-social offensive and organize for a new pro-social direction for
the economy. Workers do not accept a rule of law that criminalizes the
struggles of the people in defence of their rights. The future of this
country and all its peoples lies in the fight for the rights of all!
Workers and their organizations should discuss this attack on the
Wet'suwet'en people, which is an attack on all of us, and pass
resolutions upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples, send messages
of support, and organize actions to demand the federal and BC
governments, the courts and the RCMP back off and allow the
Wet'suwet'en people their right of free, prior and informed consent,
according to their own judgment, to any activity on their territory.
State-organized Attacks on the Wet'suwet'en People and Their Territory!
Stand with the Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders!
Since the beginning of the year, the Wet'suweten
have stepped up their defence of their traditional territories in the
face of increased provocations by the colonial courts and the BC
government. The hereditary chiefs of the five clans that constitute the
Wet'suwet'en people issued and enforced an eviction order against
Coastal GasLink (CGL) from their territory. CGL has received government
approval to build a 670-kilometre natural-gas pipeline from west of
Dawson Creek, BC, to a liquefied-natural-gas export facility near
Kitimat, in violation of the Wet'suwet'en's sovereign right to refuse
such activity on their unceded lands. The last CGL contractor was
escorted out by the Wet'suwet'en on January 4.
These actions were taken in rejection of a December 31, 2019 ruling by
BC Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church granting CGL an interlocutory
injunction against the Wet'suweten blocking CGL's entry into their
territory. This injunction extends an interim injunction, in effect
during 2019, for the duration of the construction project and includes
an order providing the RCMP with power to enforce it.
In a press release issued at the time of the eviction, the Wet'suwet'en
hereditary chiefs stated: "Canada's courts have acknowledged in Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa
v. The Queen that the Wet'suwet'en people, represented by our
hereditary chiefs, have never ceded nor surrendered title to the 22,000
square kilometres of Wet'suwet'en territory. The granting of the
interlocutory injunction by BC's Supreme Court has proven to us that
Canadian courts will ignore their own rulings and deny our jurisdiction
when convenient, and will not protect our territories or our rights as
Following the eviction notice to CGL, the hereditary chiefs explained:
"Coastal Gaslink has violated the Wet'suwet'en law of trespass, and has
bulldozed through our territories, destroyed our archaeological sites,
and occupied our land with industrial man-camps. Private security firms
and RCMP have continually interfered with the constitutionally
protected rights of Wet'suwet'en people to access our lands for
hunting, trapping, and ceremony."
chiefs called out the hypocrisy of the Province of British Columbia for
adopting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(UNDRIP), while the Wet'suwet'en are actively denied the protections of
UNDRIP on their own lands. "When we enforced our own laws and required
that industry seek Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for development on
our lands we faced a brutal display of militaristic police violence and
an ongoing police occupation of our territories," they said. This was
in reference to the RCMP paramilitary operation of January 7, 2019,
that brutally attacked the Gidumt'en checkpoint to the Unist'ot'en
camp, arresting 14 land defenders, to enforce the interim injunction.
The hereditary chiefs also noted: "We have learned, through the
reporting of the Guardian, that RCMP are prepared
to kill unarmed Wet'suwet'en people if we continue to uphold our laws."
The statement also emphasized: "Anuc 'nu'at'en
(Wet'suwet'en law) is not a 'belief' or a 'point of view.' It is a way
of sustainably managing our territories and relations with one another
and the world around us, and it has worked for millennia to keep our
territories intact. Our law is central to our identity. The ongoing
criminalization of our laws by Canada's courts and industrial police is
an attempt at genocide, an attempt to extinguish Wet'suwet'en identity
A year after the RCMP assault on Wet'suwet'en Land Defenders on their
traditional territory in northern BC, the institutions of colonial
injustice continue to refuse to respect the hereditary rights and title
of the Wet'suwet'en. Both the federal and provincial governments, in
spite of high-sounding phrases about reconciliation and
nation-to-nation relations, insist that this is a "law and order"
matter. The NDP Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan, arrogantly
refused to meet with hereditary leaders on a recent trip to northern BC
and has repeated that "there are agreements from the Peace Country to
Kitimat with Indigenous communities that want to see economic activity
and prosperity take place [...] All the permits are in place for this
project to proceed. This project is proceeding and the rule of law
needs to prevail in BC." The agreements that the premier referenced
with Indigenous communities are deals struck with elected band councils
on the pipeline route that were established under the racist and
colonial Indian Act
precisely to accomplish assimilation and dispossession of the original
claims that the current stand off, the RCMP blockade, threat
of escalating violence and use of force is about "the rule of law." In
fact it is about negating by force Wet'suwet'en sovereignty and
Wet'suwet'en law and imposing the dictate of CGL to construct its
pipeline and get on with a $40 billion liquefied natural gas
The Wet'suwet'en have rejected the criminalization of their hereditary
rights and their sovereignty. They are affirming their sovereign right
to say No! to entry without consent. No!
to the dictate of monopolies like CGL. No!
to the illegitimate use of force and violence by the police, the courts
and other institutions of the racist, colonial Canadian state. Their
stand is that negotiations to resolve the conflict must be held between
the hereditary chiefs and the governments of British Columbia and
Canada, not with the RCMP or CGL.
Over the past year, the level of public support, understanding and
acknowledgment of the significance of this opposition by Indigenous
nations and others to the old colonial arrangements, has grown and
grown. The eyes of people in Canada and around the world have been on
the developing situation. In December 2019, the United Nations
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting in
Geneva at its 100th session, issued a decision which called upon the
"state party" to suspend construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline,
the Site C dam, and "to immediately halt the construction and suspend
all permits and approvals for the construction of the Coastal GasLink
pipeline in the traditional and unceded lands and territories of the
Wet'suwet'en people, until they grant their free, prior and informed
consent, following the full and adequate discharge of the duty to
consult," and specifically that the RCMP should be withdrawn from the
traditional territories. In their decision the UN Committee found that
there had been refusal, on the part of the state "to consider free,
prior and informed consent as a requirement for any measure, such as
large-scale development projects, that may cause irreparable harm to
Indigenous peoples rights, culture, lands, territories and way of life."
The Wet'suwet'en have continued to put their fight before the Canadian
people who have responded in their thousands in support of the
principled stand of the hereditary chiefs and the clan houses to uphold
their hereditary laws and rights. Most recently actions were organized
across Canada and Quebec during the week of January 7-12 under the
banner "All Eyes on Wet'suwet'en" to ensure that people spoke out in
their own name and the colonial state was not allowed a free hand to
criminalize and attack the Wet'suwet'en for their just stands.
brings into sharp relief the battle lines that are being drawn across
Canada between the governments of the financial oligarchies that have
usurped political power on one side and the Indigenous peoples, working
class, women and youth, and all fighting collectives for their rights
on the other.
Canada must respect the hereditary, constitutional and treaty rights of
Indigenous peoples in order to affect real reconciliation and make
right the centuries of wrong that the racist colonial state has carried
out against the Indigenous peoples of Canada.
No to the Criminalization
of the Wet'suwet'en People's
Defence of Their Hereditary Rights!
End Colonial Injustice!
1. Interlocutory is a legal term which can refer to an order,
sentence, decree, or judgment, that is provisional; temporary; not
final. Something intervening between the commencement and the end
of a suit which decides some point or matter, but is not a final
decision of the whole controversy. (Black's Law Dictionary)
2. It was the hereditary chiefs of the
Wet'suwet'en and the Gitksan who launched what became known as the Delgamuukw case,
a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the
hereditary chiefs' pursuit of a legal and political settlement of their
grievances and recognition of their rights. In 1977, the Wet'suwet'en
and Gitksan Chiefs' claim over their traditional territory was accepted
by the Federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs as a foundation
for negotiating a "comprehensive claim" under the federal treaty
process. The province refused to participate in negotiations and after
five years with no progress, the chiefs took their case for the
recognition they had been denied since 1860 to the courts. The attempt
by some forces to characterize the hereditary chiefs as "rogue
elements" or the dispute as narrow and short-lived, is shameful in the
The decision of a British Columbia Supreme Court
hearing in Prince George on December 31, 2019, concerning the
decades-long struggle of the Wet'suwet'en Nation to affirm their
hereditary rights once again underscores that the problem lies in the
refusal of the Canadian state to recognize Indigenous sovereignty and
The plaintiff in this case, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. (CGL), was
seeking another court injunction to prevent any obstruction to the
building of the CGL pipeline through the unceded territory of the
Wet'suwet'en. The company claimed that it had met all the regulations
and requirements and furthermore, had secured the agreements from 20
different first nations along the planned route of the pipeline, so
everything is "legit."
The defendants, according to the court documents, are Freda Huson,
Warner Naziel, John Doe, Jane Doe and "all other persons unknown to the
plaintiff occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or
delaying access at or in the vicinity of the area in and around the
Morice River Bridge or the area accessed by the Morice West Forest
things in her judgment in favour of the plaintiff, Justice Marguerite
Church wrote: "The Indigenous legal perspective in this case is further
complicated by the fact that the Wet'suwet'en people have both
hereditary and Indian Act band council governance
systems and there is dispute over the extent of the jurisdictions of
each of those governance systems."
By introducing the notion that there are two governance systems and
that there is a "dispute" and writing further "...there is considerable
disagreement among members of the Wet'suwet'en nation with respect to
the Pipeline Project and there are many in the community who support
the Pipeline Project and are of the view that it will have substantial
benefits to the Wet'suwet'en nation as a whole," Justice Church betrays
the colonial outlook of the Canadian state and its court system in the
service of private interests. In fact, there is only one legitimate
governing system for Indigenous peoples and that is the one which they
determine for themselves as sovereign peoples. The entire band council
system was imposed at the point of a gun through the Indian
Act by the Canadian colonial state in order to establish
control and dictate over the Indigenous nations and steal their lands
From the get-go Indigenous peoples resisted the imposition of the band
council system which has been the direct cause of their displacement
and impoverishment. Furthermore, in the case of British Columbia, the
vast majority of the lands were never subject to treaties. The band
council's jurisdiction only extends to Indian Act lands,
not the traditional lands. The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' quarrel
is not with the Wet'suwet'en band council. Their quarrel is with the
illegal and criminal actions of the Canadian state and with Coastal
What is also important is that throughout this period it is the
Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who have upheld the rule of law and
fought for the interests of their people by asserting their laws and
authority. In this they have the support of the Canadian people who
have stepped up their support for the legitimate stands and claims of
the Wet'suwet'en and Indigenous peoples of Canada, and are taking up
their social responsibility to work with the Indigenous peoples to find
solutions to their common problems stemming from a Canadian state which
does not represent their interests.
Actions took place across Canada under the banner "All Eyes on
Wet'suwet'en" earlier this month marking the first anniversary of the
blockade at Unist'ot'en, to serve notice to the state and its police,
and to tell the whole world that the Canadian and Quebec people are
standing by the Wet'suwet'en and their hereditary chiefs.
Turning the legitimate concerns and demands of the Wet'suwet'en people
into law and order matters is unacceptable. The decision of the BC
Supreme Court shows that the courts and governments are not interested
in finding a just solution to the problems but are instead intent on
imposing their dictate. It is the Wet'suwet'en and their hereditary
chiefs who have attempted to affirm their claims through diplomacy
within the framework that their sovereignty and territorial rights are
non-negotiable. There can be no access to their lands without their
free, prior and informed consent.
1. See TML
Weekly, February 2, 2019.
We, the following faculty and staff at the
University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), are expressing our
solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs who have evicted
Coastal Gas Link (CGL) and their employees from their territories. We
call on the Government of British Columbia and the Government of
Canada, as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to respect
this eviction that is based on the fact that the Wet'suwet'en
Hereditary Chiefs have never ceded their jurisdiction to the lands they
have governed for thousands of years.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in
Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa, upheld the fact that Aboriginal
Rights to traditionally occupied, unceded lands in British Columbia
have not been extinguished and that provincial laws cannot extinguish
Our federal government talks of reconciliation and our provincial
government has recently passed a bill that says they will honour the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(UNDRIP). These are hollow promises if they continue to support
resource development projects like CGL against the expressed will of
the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs.
Our university has a long history of recognizing
and honouring Aboriginal leaders who have fought for the land rights of
their people. The late Dr. Alfred Joseph held the name Gisdaywa and
spent a great deal of his life fighting for the land rights of the
Wet'suwet'en people. Dr. Roger William led the Tsilhqot'in land title
case that was decided by a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court of
Canada. Our present Chancellor, Dr. Joseph Gosnell was a key figure in
the Nisga'a, fight for self-government of their lands. These
individuals were all awarded honourary degrees from UNBC.
For full list of signatories, click
At this pivotal point in Canadian history, we ask our elected leaders,
provincially and federally, to insist the RCMP stand down. We also ask
our elected leaders to begin honourable and respectful negotiations
with the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs in regards to their rights and
title to the lands they have been responsible for since time immemorial.
Writing in the Globe and Mail
on January 9, the Honourable Stephen O'Neill, an associate lawyer at
Nahwegahbow Corbiere Genoodmagejig Barristers and Solicitors, formerly
a judge on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice from 1999 to 2015,
addresses the fight for justice for Canada's Indigenous peoples and the
requirement for government to act with honour to recognize Indigenous
rights. His opinion piece is entitled "For the Wet'suwet'en and Gitxsan
peoples, justice has been denied. What else is new?"
To illustrate, he
quotes Beverley McLachlin, then-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Canada, who said in the 2004 decision in Haida Nation v.
British Columbia (Minister of Forests): "Put simply, Canada's
Aboriginal peoples were here when Europeans came, and were never
conquered. [...] Many bands reconciled their claims with the
sovereignty of the Crown through negotiated treaties. Others, notably
in British Columbia, have yet to do so. The potential rights imbedded
in these claims are protected by s. 35 of the Constitution
Act, 1982. The honour of the Crown requires that these rights
be determined, recognized and respected. This, in turn, requires the
Crown, acting honourably, to participate in processes of negotiation.
[... W]hile this process [of reconciling Indigenous claims with Crown
sovereignty] continues, the honour of the Crown may require it to
consult, and where indicated, accommodate Aboriginal interests."
O'Neill goes on to address the current situation and the BC Supreme
Court decision to grant the Coastal GasLink injunction:
"This latest injunction represents a blow to the efforts to oppose the
project in the area, as this order could potentially criminalize those
land protectors who, with the support of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, have
been working for years to uphold customary Wet'suwet'en law; for about
a year, Wet'suwet'en members have blockaded a remote stretch of forest
service road and a bridge using checkpoints on their traditional
territory about 300 kilometres west of Prince George. This latest
injunction would restrain and prevent certain named defendants from the
Wet'suwet'en Nation from continuing to do so, and expanded the reach of
the order to include the entirety of that forest service road.
"But hidden in the decision is a paragraph of telling importance from
the hearing judge about a ruling that is key to understanding this
current contretemps: Delgamuukw v. British Columbia.
'The aboriginal title claims of the Wet'suwet'en remain outstanding and
have not been resolved either by litigation or negotiation, despite the
urging of the Supreme Court of Canada in Delgamuukw. It is
apparent from their affidavit materials and submissions that the
defendants are aware that their title claims remain outstanding.'
"Which brings us to a previous disappointing chapter in
Crown-Indigenous relations in Canada that makes this latest one even
more tragic. Shortly after its release, members of the same
Wet'suwet'en Nation, in conjunction with the Gitxsan, filed a legal
appeal of the 1990 trial decision in Delgamuukw,
which was heard in the same BC Supreme Court. The Delgamuukw case
sought declarations of ownership and jurisdiction (later amended to
aboriginal title) over 58,000 square kilometres of land in British
Columbia; in the case of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, their traditional
unceded territory (yin'tah) consists of 22,000 square kilometres.
"After 318 days of evidence presentation and 56 days of closing
arguments, the trial judge ultimately ruled against the plaintiffs. But
three years later, five judges of the BC Appeals Court unanimously
rejected that ruling, ordering the case back to trial to determine the
nature and scope of the aboriginal rights of the Wet'suwet'en and
Gitxsan peoples. And on further appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada,
the country's highest court ordered a new trial in 1997 because of the
trial judge's treatment of the various kinds of oral histories that
were presented at trial, which were very supportive of and important to
the Wet'suwet'en and Gitxsan peoples' legal position, but were
rejected. Antonio Lamer, the Supreme Court's chief justice at the time,
stated that had the oral history evidence been correctly assessed and
given the legal weight it was entitled to at trial, the trial judge's
findings of fact might well have been different.
"In ordering a new trial, however, the then-Chief Justice wrote these
words, which are often repeated in legal circles: 'By ordering a new
trial, I do not necessarily encourage the parties to proceed to
litigation and to settle their dispute through the courts. As was said
in Sparrow, at p. 1105, s. 35(1) 'provides a solid
constitutional base upon which subsequent negotiations can take place.'
Moreover, the Crown is under a moral, if not a legal, duty to enter
into and conduct those negotiations in good faith.'
"Which now takes us to this place in history. Thirty-six years after
the Wet'suwet'en and Gitxsan first entered the Canadian justice system
in good faith, honouring the processes of the court in pursuit of
affirmations and declarations relating to ownership, jurisdiction,
rights and title with respect to identified lands in British Columbia,
a final trial has not taken place on Delgamuukw,
nor has a settlement and resolution of the outstanding legal issues
been reached. And the injunction, fuelled in part by this decades-long
legal limbo, just shows how unproductive any real attempts at
good-faith negotiations have actually been for anything resembling
reconciliation between the Wet'suwet'en and Gitxsan peoples and the
"This is a wrong that is completely unconscionable. It is a wrong that
amounts to a deep injustice. It is proof again of the maxim that
justice delayed is justice denied.
"Is it any wonder then that people, whose backs are against the wall
and who have deep spiritual and cultural connections to their
traditional lands and waters, have asserted customary Wet'suwet'en law
and authority through blockades and other means?
"From the perspective of the named defendants, they were legally
asserting Wet'suwet'en traditional laws and authority in unceded
Wet'suwet'en territory. Further, from the Indigenous legal perspective,
and flowing from Wet'suwet'en traditional governance structures,
Coastal GasLink required the nation's consent and authorization to
enter upon and to construct works in unceded Wet'suwet'en lands. That
consent had not been given through the traditional governance
"Yet from the
point of view of the judge hearing the injunction, Wet'suwet'en
customary laws could not be recognized. 'There has been no process by
which Wet'suwet'en customary laws have been recognized in this manner.
The aboriginal title claims of the Wet'suwet'en people have yet to be
resolved either by negotiation or litigation. While Wet'suwet'en
customary laws clearly exist on their own independent footing, they are
not recognized as being an effectual part of Canadian law.'
"Denying Indigenous law any effectual meaning as 'law,' and potentially
criminalizing the actions taken under Wet'suwet'en customary law and
authority, will not lead to reconciliation. Indeed, it is the
antithesis to reconciliation, however that word may be interpreted in
law or in practice.
"The injunction ruling also added in part: 'The defendants are posing
significant constitutional questions and asking this court to decide
those issues in the context of the injunction application with little
or no factual matrix. This is not the venue for that analysis and those
are issues that must be determined at trial.' This has been the case --
the question of their rights and title repeatedly bounced around and
shirked for others to decide -- for decades. If not now, then when?
"What was not written in the ruling was that the evidence of aboriginal
title, use, possession and occupation of the identified subject lands
in the Delgamuukw case was strong, compelling and
arguably very convincing, when assessed through the appropriate legal
principles and with the proper weight to be given to the oral-history
evidence provided at the original trial.
"When examined through a larger lens, and with an understanding that
justice has been unconscionably delayed with respect to the Delgamuukw
case, the injunction court's condemnation and disapproval ought not to
have rested only on the shoulders of those people connected to the
Wet'suwet'en Nation and the people supporting them. Rather, and perhaps
far more important, the court's condemnation and disapproval ought to
have been directed toward all those members of the Canadian public who,
at one time or another between 1984 and 2019, have held and possessed
positions of power and authority both inside and outside the Canadian
justice system. They could have affirmed and recognized aboriginal
rights and title. They could have ensured that land-claim cases such as
Delgamuukw (of which there are many
outstanding in this country) are tried, or resolved and settled, within
a reasonable period of time.
"Justice delayed, and therefore justice denied. This is the real story
behind the injunction that has labelled people as obstructing, impeding
and blocking access to unceded Wet'suwet'en territorial lands -- people
who are members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, the unextinguished laws of
which were found by the injunction-hearing judge to clearly exist on
their own independent footing."
nation has been stewarding and protecting their traditional territories
from the destruction of multiple pipelines, including Coastal GasLink's
(CGL) liquified natural gas pipeline. To defend their just stand and to
prevent a repeat of the RCMP raid on their territory one year ago the
Wet'suwet'in land defenders called for a week of solidarity actions,
"All Eyes on Wet'suwet'en," January 7-12. Some 42 action were
advertised on their calendar of events, most in Canada and Quebec, and
actions have carried on to date. Solidarity actions were also
organized in the U.S. cities of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and
Many actions have taken place throughout BC. One
of the largest, in Vancouver, saw some 1,000 demonstrators
gather outside the BC Supreme Court, which issued the December 31
injunction ruling that Coastal GasLink must be allowed on Wet'suwet'en
lands, against the will of the Wet'suwet'en. Speakers at the rally,
which included Union of BC Indian Chiefs President Stewart Phillip and
Vice President Don Tom, emphasized that there would be no backing down.
Tom summed up the defiant mood of those present stating "It is up to us
to create the change that is necessary." Others said that the RCMP are
acting as private security for Coastal Gas and private companies. One
speaker stated the Wet'suwet'en "are fighting for all of us" and
"protecting all of our livelihoods." Another said, "we must resist the
criminalization of front lines" and government lies of "reconciliation
and climate leadership."
Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal
Incarceration of Indigenous Peoples
Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner
of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement
on January 21 under the title "Bold and Urgent Action Needed to Address
This National Disgrace."
The Commission is deeply disturbed by the recent
findings of the Office of the Correctional Investigator that the
proportion of Indigenous people in federal prisons has now surpassed a
staggering 30 per cent of the total inmate population.
This is a national disgrace. We strongly agree with the Correctional
Investigator that bold and urgent action is required to address this
persistent and pressing human rights issue.
The Government of Canada has committed to implementing the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and Missing and Murdered
Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry's Calls to Justice. Both call for
urgent criminal justice reform to address the over-incarceration of
Indigenous men and women.
While the work towards meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous
peoples to address the lasting legacy of colonialism continues, we call
on Parliament to take immediate steps to address the
over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system.
As a first step, we call on the federal government to review mandatory
minimum sentences, which have no deterrent effect and which
disproportionally impact the lives of far too many Indigenous, Black
and marginalized Canadians.
Canada is better than this.
America and the Caribbean
First monthly picket of the year, Ottawa, January 17, 2020.
The year that just ended was marked by important
advances as well as setbacks on different fronts for the people's
forces in Latin America. The coming year promises to be one in which
countries and peoples resisting U.S. imperialism's increasingly brutal
attempt to assert its hegemony over the entire region will continue to
face serious challenges. But it also holds promise in the sense that
the people's forces are courageously doing battle with the forces of
retrogression led by the U.S., in some cases under very dangerous and
difficult conditions. They are building their unity and organization in
the course of asserting their rights and putting forward their demands
for a society that guarantees the rights of all and a future for all
free from the disastrous economic and social ills bred by the
neo-liberal remedies the international financial oligarchy has imposed
on their countries.
Deserving of special mention is the fact that the
peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, united around their
governments, have been able to defend and strengthen their revolutions
in the face of every kind of infamy directed against them by the U.S.
in its quest to foment counterrevolution, overthrow their elected
governments and put an end to their sovereignty and independence. The
inability of the U.S. imperialists to bring the people and governments
of these three countries to heel after years of subversive activity
means they will step up attempts to accomplish their criminal aim, no
matter how unlikely the prospects of success.
Picket in Montreal, January 22, 2020, stands in solidarity with the
Chilean people's resistance to neo-liberalism.
Pompeo's Sabre-Rattling Tour
During the week of January 19-25, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited three
countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The first was Colombia,
whose government led by the neo-liberal and peace-destroying president
Ivan Duque, has been the closest collaborator of the U.S. in its
attempts to destabilize neighbouring Venezuela and overthrow the
government of President Nicolás Maduro. It was therefore not
surprising that Juan Guaidó, the fake "president" of Venezuela,
was smuggled into the country to appear alongside Pompeo at a meeting
of foreign ministers from the hemisphere and later meet there with a
gang of Miami-based counterrevolutionaries who, according to reports,
expressly requested that he ask Pompeo for a U.S. military intervention
also arranged for Guaidó to go on a European tour immediately
afterwards so he could spew out his lies and plead for more punishing
sanctions against his country to anyone who would listen there. In this
he was given a hand up by Canada, whose mission to the EU Parliament in
Brussels hosted a meeting on January 22 for him to meet with members of
the Lima Group, its EU-led counterpart, the International Contact
Group, the G7 and ambassadors of EU member states. In keeping with its
racist, colonial tradition, the Canadian government reported it as a
meeting of "the international community."
Guaidó was also allowed to make his
pitch to the filthy rich gathered at Davos for what is called a "world"
economic forum. Everything makes clear that the imposter's only real
support is outside the country, not inside it. That fact was further
driven home by his failure to muster enough votes from opposition
factions that previously supported him to be re-elected president of
the National Assembly. He then resorted to organizing his own
counterfeit "election" in front of the media on the premises of an
opposition newspaper so he could once again proclaim himself the
elected president of the legislature and therefore also of the country.
This is the basis on which his foreign handlers, the Trudeau government
among them, keep promoting the farcical notion that he is still
Venezuela's "legitimate president."
From "Humanitarian" to "Anti-Terrorism" Card
Officially, Pompeo went to Bogotá to
attend the Third Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial on January 20, for
which he had a specific agenda as well, using it as a platform to push
the notion that Venezuela harbours terrorist groups and supporters of
terrorist groups. He made special mention of the Lebanese organization
Hezbollah, which he called "the Iranian regime's top terrorist proxy."
Pompeo's message to governments that had not yet done so was to get on
with designating Hezbollah as a terrorist group and start taking action
against suspected individuals.
He then said to
the 20 or so foreign ministers in attendance that the U.S. had done its
part to "take down the threat of Iran's proxies" and "eliminated Qasem
Soleimani." A few sentences later he said that "neutralizing terrorists
is one of President Trump's top national security priorities." He
followed this with an offer to partner with their countries "in every
way possible," calling it burden-sharing. Pompeo was not explicit about
what kind of actions the partnership on offer might apply to, but given
the pains he took to link Venezuela and "Maduro" with Iran and
Hezbollah, one can only wonder what this former CIA director, who brags
about the lawless "neutralizing" of opponents, had in mind. It appears
that for the U.S., playing the "humanitarian crisis/intervention" card
and "responsibility to protect" may have run their course, having gone
nowhere. So now the stage is being set to switch from that pretense to
another one: terrorism in the name of fighting terrorism.
Pompeo's verbal sabre rattling at the badly named counterterrorism
ministerial was followed three days later by the arrival in Colombia of
paratroopers from the 82nd U.S. Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, N.C
and other members of U.S. Army South to participate with the Colombian
military in what is described as an airborne anti-terrorism
exercise. A second exercise will begin January 29 involving
fighter jets and helicopters.
Pompeo's second stop was in Costa Rica on January 21, which borders
Nicaragua, another U.S. target for destabilization and regime change.
In public remarks there he again singled out Venezuela for attack but
honed in on Nicaragua's Sandinista government, issuing warnings to it.
While there he met openly with Nicaraguan anti-government opposition
groups his government no doubt funds. They, like Guaidó, called
for more sanctions against their homeland.
Attempt to Divide CARICOM
Pompeo's third stop was Jamaica, for more dirty
work -- in this case attempting to divide Caribbean countries and split
their organization CARICOM, only some of whose members were invited to
meet with Pompeo. The 15-member organization has served as an effective
block to attempts by the U.S. and its allies to use the discredited
Organization of American States (OAS) as a political weapon against
Venezuela by denying them the number of votes needed to take action
against Venezuela in the name of the OAS. This led the U.S. and Canada
to set up the illegitimate Lima Group outside the OAS for the purpose
of advancing their illegal regime change project.
CARICOM Chair Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of
Barbados, said the meeting organized by Pompeo in Jamaica was an attempt
to divide the region and for that reason Barbados would not be
attending. "As chairman of CARICOM," she said, "it is impossible for me
to agree that my foreign minister should attend a meeting with anyone
to which members of CARICOM are not invited." Prime Minister
Keith Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago followed her lead, saying as head
of CARICOM Mottley also spoke for him. Grenada declined to attend as
well, leaving only six countries for Pompeo to lecture about
strengthening ties with the U.S. and its fraudulent project for a "free
Pompeo’s public speech in Kingston again targeted
Venezuela, this time adding Cuba, Russia and China to the list. He
accused Russia and Cuba of continuing "to meddle in the sovereign
affairs of nations, trying to destabilize democracies," and "easy
money" from China of feeding corruption, undermining countries' rule of
law, ruining their environment and not creating jobs for their
Part of Pompeo's time in Jamaica was spent meeting
separately with Prime Minister Holness and senior members of his
cabinet, where he again viciously attacked the government of
Nicolás Maduro, later declaring publicly that Holness agreed
with him on that. It is not known how that was received by Holness. He
urged Holness to exercise "leadership" in CARICOM and to encourage the
rest of its members to re-elect the U.S. henchman Luis Almagro as OAS
Secretary-General in March, and by implication, facilitate the OAS
acting officially against Venezuela.
There can be no doubt that the U.S. is stepping up
its offensive in Latin America and the Caribbean on different fronts --
against the government and peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in
particular, to discourage others from following their "bad examples" --
and against the people fighting for their rights in many other
countries as well. The machinery is already in action to prevent the
Bolivian people from freely and democratically electing their choice of
president later this year, while the U.S. hails the "democratic" coup
government of Jeanine Añez as it metes out state terror and
lawfare against leaders and supporters of the former governing MAS
party and criminalizes dissent.
The U.S. modus operandi for carrying out its offensive
against popular and democratic forces and governments in Latin
America and the Caribbean involves defamation, slander,
creating division and issuing warnings and threats – both in
words and in deeds. The panorama unfolding for the
year ahead indicates that 2020 will require vigilance
and stepping up anti-imperialist solidarity based on building
the unity of all the peoples of Our America for peace, freedom,
democracy and rights.
Anniversary of Cuban Revolution
New Year's event in Vancouver, December 31, 2019, organized by Cuban
friendship organizations, celebrates 61 years of the Cuban Revolution.
Sixty-one years! It is sixty-one years since the
triumph of the Cuban Revolution. Sixty-one years in which Cuba
definitively and defiantly embarked on a path that established
authentic self-determination, placing the Cuban nation firmly in the
hands of its people.
It is profoundly
poignant that the Cuban Revolution has not only outlasted 11 U.S.
presidential administrations but has also existed longer than the U.S.
neo-colony that was imposed on the people of Cuba in 1898 when
Washington militarily intervened in that heroic island nation just as
Cuba's liberation fighters were on the verge of throwing-off
once-and-for all the yoke of Spanish colonialism.
The Cuban Revolution is a culmination of the struggles for national
independence and social justice, first launched on October 10, 1868 by
Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, carried forward and deepened by
José Martí in 1895, and revived periodically
throughout the first half of the 20th century when Cuba languished
under U.S. hegemony. It is, therefore, the crystallization and
consummation of the historical aspirations of the Cuban people,
manifested time and time again in their re-affirmation and
determination to defend, strengthen and perfect the revolutionary
However, the empire has never accepted the verdict of the Cuban people;
it has waged an economic war and a campaign of destabilization aimed at
restoring U.S. imperialism's domination and tutelage.
In the face of unceasing and escalating U.S. hostility, the Cuban
Revolution has made an invaluable contribution to the global struggle
for justice, social development and human dignity.
Cuba holds an admirable place in the international community regarding
the protection and promotion of the rights of its citizens. Cuba is not
a haven for the economic violence that reigns in so many countries.
In Cuba everyone is guaranteed an education and access to universal and
free health care.
In Cuba no one is "disappeared" or the victim of extra-judicial
In Cuba there are no homeless roaming the streets, no one left to fend
for themselves, eking out an existence in a dog-eat-dog society.
Besieged by imperialism, the heroic island nation has made invaluable
contributions to the well-being of the world's nations and peoples,
having established an unparalleled legacy of internationalism and
More than 400,000 Cuban medical personnel have served in 164 countries
More than 2,000 Cubans gave their lives in the struggles to liberate
Africa from the scourge of colonialism and apartheid.
What Cuba has done nationally and internationally is no small feat. Its
impressive achievements have occurred in the midst of an all-sided
brutal aggression by Washington. The U.S. economic blockade -- the
principal obstacle to Cuba's social and economic development -- has
cost the island nation in excess of $1 trillion U.S. dollars,
constituting a flagrant violation of the human rights of the people of
Washington's objective is the negation and extinguishing of Cuba's
right to self-determination and independence.
Since the triumph of the Cuban Revolution on January 1, 1959, the Cuban
people have resisted all attempts to take away their independence and
freedom, and re-impose foreign domination. They have repelled the
unceasing economic, financial and propagandistic assault by Washington,
including the April 1961 mercenary invasion.
Cubans have never wavered in their revolutionary resolve and
commitment. As Cuban President Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel
Bermúdez declared in his December 21, 2019 address to Cuba's
National Assembly: "United we have won! United we will win!"
Long Live the Cuban
¡Viva la Revolución Cubana!
Mass rally in Caracas of the people's forces, January 23, 2020. Also
present were 400 delegates of social movements from more than 70
On January 5, the election of new leadership for
the National Assembly, the country's parliamentary body, took place in
Venezuela. In that session, deputy Luis Parra was elected, who was once
part of the opposition party Primera Justicia.
As is known, the events of January 5 were marked
by controversy given the decision of the deputy and outgoing president
of parliament, Juan Guaidó, not to come to the session and
his subsequent attempt to enter the chamber by jumping a fence -- an
image that went viral and became the cover story for an alleged boycott
against his re-election [and his supposed barred entry -- TML
That day ended with Juan Guaidó
swearing himself in without a parliamentary quorum in front of a group
of his followers at the headquarters of the newspaper El
Nacional. The event was just a media stunt that then turned
into a political act. For the U.S. government as well as for other
countries in the region, especially those that make up the Lima Group,
the media "truth" prevailed.
Several countries that went along with the same
narrative as the U.S. government dismissed the election of Parra and
blamed him for allegedly impeding the election of Guaidó.
However, another act, even more unusual, took
place on January 7. At the end of an ordinary session of
parliament, chaired by Luis Parra, Juan Guaidó violently
broke into the chamber accompanied by his supporting deputies.
He then appeared before the podium, his lackeys
flanking him and swore himself in, again, as president of the National
Assembly and, consequently, the "president in charge" of Venezuela,
that is to say, in front of no more than a few dozen deputies that
followed him in, and a lot of media. The whole thing was clearly staged
as a set-up in which the parliamentarians faked a session in which
Guaidó was once again declared president.
As it seems to have been planned, this was another
media event. For a number of media and political actors,
Guaidó took office in the legislature, that is, he presented
himself triumphantly as rescuing the "legality" and
"legitimacy" of the powers with which he is "vested."
Although for the internal politics of Venezuela,
Guaidó does not exercise any real power and his position is
today totally void in the Venezuelan institutional sphere, for the
press and the U.S. government and its allies, Juan Guaidó is
the man responsible for the two most important public powers of the
Venezuelan State, even though such a thing is fully outside the
Collusion of Two
Parliaments a Rupture of Venezuela's
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza addresses the contents of a
"diplomatic note" sent by the U.S. government to several countries.
The news channel TeleSUR reported that
Venezuela's Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza addressed the media to
disseminate the contents of a "diplomatic note" sent by the U.S.
government to several countries. The document was called "The U.S.
Government requests support for a statement on fair elections in the
Venezuelan National Assembly."
For the Minister, this document confirms the U.S.
government's intention to interfere in the election of the
parliamentary leadership, the only explanation for the unusual and
unprecedented actions taken by deputy Guaidó throughout
According to U.S. government spokesmen, the
"president" is still Guaidó. And indeed, Deputy Luis Parra
is expected to be added to the list of Venezuelan officials sanctioned
by the United States and the European Union, as clear retaliation. It
is now evident that the U.S. government insists on Guaidó's
continuity in the political arena despite his rejection by the majority
of deputies, now made up of dissident members of the opposition and
The seriousness of these events lies in the
deepening of the Venezuelan institutional crisis and the U.S. seems to
be perfectly clear about this. That seems to be the intention, along
with sustaining the artificial "presidency" of Guaidó, as a
multipurpose pressure and delegitimization tactic of both President
Nicolás Maduro, and now also the new president of the
Another of the derivations of the parallel
"National Assembly" that Guaidó governs is that it blocks
any possibility of a political detente in Venezuela between Chavismo
and the opposition, which could have repercussions for the Chavista
leadership and opposition forces, which, although they have distanced
themselves from Guaidó, continue to maintain an openly
With these actors, there is the possibility that
the Venezuelan legislature will recognize the other public powers and
that, consequently, Venezuela will overcome the political stagnation it
has suffered since the National Assembly decided to place itself in
contempt of the other branches of the state in 2016.
Another possibility lies in the renewal of the
Electoral Authority of Venezuela through the appointment of new
leaders, something that has not been possible because of the on and off
negotiations between Chavismo and the opposition, as well as the
no-dialogue position assumed in 2019 by the radical wing under the
command of Guaidó, on U.S. instructions.
The outcome of this series of events may be the
stagnation of the political and institutional exercise in Venezuela,
particularly in 2020, a parliamentary election year. Without a
political agreement, without a new National Electoral Council and
without an elementary detente, this year's parliamentary elections
would be at risk. Whether they are boycotted by a number of opposition
parties or even if they are carried out with the participation of broad
national sectors of Chavismo and the opposition, they could end in
non-recognition by the U.S. government and its satellites.
Such an outcome would mean, then, that Venezuela
would continue to be subject to U.S. pressure, which implies an
economic and diplomatic blockade and political interference accompanied
with threats of military intervention and the promotion of internal
The U.S. does not want a political solution
between Venezuelans and has as its central objective the dismantling of
the Chavista forces in government. The existence of two leaderships in
the National Assembly, one recognized within Venezuela and the other
recognized by the United States and its allies, represents a clearly
useful institutional dissonance to consolidate a rupture in Venezuela,
a fundamental link for the consolidation of a coup d'état.
On the other hand, the clearly disturbing presence
of Guaidó, artificially sustained in the political arena, is
clearly essential for the flow of resources for the benefit of specific
sectors of the opposition.
At the end of 2019, Namita Biggins, spokeswoman
for the U.S. State Department, said that during 2019 "the U.S.
government has given more than $650 million towards humanitarian
assistance, not only inside Venezuela but also to support 16
neighbouring countries." She said they would like to continue deepening
support for Guaidó during this year, which implies more
It should also be noted that supporting
Guaidó means continuing the U.S. strategy against Venezuela.
Getting another deputy recognized as "president in charge" would be
very cumbersome for the Trump Administration's diplomacy and, in
effect, would mean declaring the "Guaidó strategy" that was
expected to meet the objective of getting Maduro out in just months, in
early 2019, a failure.
In his recent presentation to the press,
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, referring to the U.S.
diplomatic document, indicated that it expressed the U.S. interest in
forming a "transition government" in Venezuela. At the same time they
ratified their intention to maintain the unilateral coercive measures
against the country to force the exit of the legitimate president
Everything seems to indicate that, in the
framework of an election year for Donald Trump, his bet on Venezuela
will be to sustain the "Guaidó strategy" despite its
catastrophic results in 2019. But in addition to that, everything seems
to point to an increase in economic pressures and policies against
Venezuela, to assert the U.S. "position of strength" and to present
Trump's foreign agenda as a "successful model" of institutional
relations for the region.
In the plot of their coup agenda against the
Venezuelan state, the U.S. is not concerned about forms, and their
agenda is clearly that of the "big stick."
anniversary of the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010 was
commemorated in Montreal on January 11-12 at TOHU, Montreal's
Cité des arts du Cirque, located in the heart of the
Saint-Michel district. The two-day events were organized by la Maison
d'Haïti in close collaboration with TOHU and the participation
of over 40 groups, organizations and artists. Activities included
conferences, artistic and artisanal exhibits, information kiosks, dance
performances, a film screening and a solemn closing event. Hundreds of
people of all ages took part throughout the weekend in exchanges,
learning and paying tribute.
The many activities were instructive in illustrating how the Haitian
people organize to surmount their difficulties. Amongst others, the
film "Haiti Betrayed" provided a wealth of information on the
situation within the country and the foreign interference there, which poses
a block to the Haitian people's defence of their sovereignty. The
one-hour-and-twenty-minute documentary, produced by Elaine
Brière, a documentary photographer and filmmaker from
British Columbia, deals in particular with the Canadian government's
role in Haiti. The ongoing resistance and struggle of the Haitian
people for their dignity against foreign occupiers, both past and
present, is very well illustrated. Interference, intrigues, the sending
of troops to take control of the country, as well as the coup
d'état carried out by Canada, the U.S. and France, with the
collaboration of successive governments in Haiti, are presented.
Efforts by foreign powers, including Canada, to prevent the Haitian
people from affirming their sovereignty clearly emerge through the
presentation of facts, interviews and a review of the history of the
Workshop on the current crisis in Haiti, January 12, 2020.
A workshop was organized on January 12 by
Solidarité Québec-Haïti to delve into
the crisis afflicting Haiti in the earthquake's aftermath. A very
animated exchange took place during a video-conference between two
activists in Haiti and another in Canada. The corruption of the big
foreign powers and how they act with impunity are key features of the
years following the earthquake. The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission
(IHRC), 13 international members and 13 Haitian members, under
the co-chairmanship of former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive
and former U.S. President Bill Clinton, was established in 2010
following the quake. The commission's mandate was to manage the funds
collected to assist the Haitian people in the reconstruction of their
country. The commission squandered close to $13 billion in funds with
full impunity. The Petro-Caribe fund of $3.8 billion, an energy
cooperation agreement initiated by Venezuela for the development of
social programs, has also been pilfered. It was the youth who began
asking where those funds had gone. Since then, the Haitian people have
taken to the street to demand justice, condemn the corruption and theft
by the big powers and demand that they leave the country
The weekend closed with a solemn commemoration attended by over 300
people, including survivors of the quake, a large number of
participants from the Haitian diaspora, as well as dignitaries from the
Haitian Consulate and representatives of the federal, provincial and
municipal governments. Dance and music were performed live on stage,
followed by closing remarks from Marjorie Villefranche, General
Director of la Maison d'Haïti, who said in part: "No one has
forgotten. That's why we're here tonight, that's why we commemorate, to
honour all those who perished -- children, fathers, mothers, brothers,
sisters, parents, friends and the unnamed buried without ceremony,
without a grave. With us this evening are the survivors, the bereaved,
united by the same courage, the same will to acknowledge and to pay
homage. Five years ago in this very place, I told you that we were
living through times of crisis, that indifference would become a
formidable foe. I had no idea then of the scope that climate change
would take, nor of the rise of agent orange [in reference to highly toxic
hybrid seeds donated by Monsanto -- TMLW Editor's Note],
populists of all kinds. [...] Your presence here tonight and that of
our elected members, of our unwavering friends reassures me, reassures
us. What it signifies is that we are not giving up. Haiti is not alone
in confronting the violence of social inequality and injustice. The
indecency of those who possess over half of all the planet's wealth is
sickening. However, we also know that many peoples are
resisting, even as we speak. And what if the next goudou [earthquake
rumbling] were to come from us, from the strength of the peoples? The
solidarity of our friends is precious and indispensable. We live on a
planet that demands that we relate to one another to be able to live,
have water, air and food. We must remain connected and supportive of
each other. Thanks go to all our activists, organizations, for their
active, supportive presence [...]"
The weekend's events brought to light the fact that despite the huge
difficulties, the corruption within the ruling class and foreign
intervention, the Haitian people continue to defend their sovereignty
and their right to be. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the
earthquake in Haiti, they are laying their claims for their dignity,
justice and repairs.
Ayiti la! We are one with the Haitian people!
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