Friday, April 24, 2015

Update from Columbia

World youth supports the peace process in Colombia and claims for stopping the war.

The peace process in Colombia is under threat. The recent combats between the Colombian Military Forces and the guerrillas of FARC-EP–that bring about lamentable outcomes–are again motivating the response of the national and international pro war and hawkish rightist groups, who seek to exacerbate the armed confrontation and weaken the peace process that takes place in La Habana between the guerrillas of FARC-EP and the Colombian government.

Since December 20th of last year the guerrillas of FARC-EP announced a unilateral ceasefire, which has helped out to decrease the armed actions and whose compliance has been publicly recognized by the Colombian government. However, despite of this peace gesture of the insurgency, the Colombian Military Forces have used all kind of excuses to justify provocations and armed actions in areas of guerrillas’ presence. A bilateral ceasefire is needed; it is not possible to go on with the dialogues when the armed confrontation remains, exposing the civilian population over again as the main casualty.

We strongly reject the order of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to resume the bombing against the guerrillas’ camps. This decision goes in the wrong direction to strengthen the peace process; in fact, they encourage the enemies of the peace process to impulse the war, increase the humanitarian crisis, and promote the forced displacement of civilian population and the persecution of social, popular, and political organizations that claim for the end of war and the achievement of an agreement based on the social justice and the social, political, and economic transformations that Colombia requires.

The World Federation of Democratic Youth WFDY, expresses its solidarity with the struggle of the Colombian people for Peace with Social Justice, as well as expresses its condolence with all the families who have lost their loved ones in the middle of this cruel war. We request the youth organizations of all over the world to express their solidarity with the struggle for peace in Colombia and to support the peace process that takes place in la Habana between the guerrillas of FARC-EP and the Colombian government. We demand the bilateral ceasefire as the most suitable mechanism to preclude the bloodshed among Colombian people.

Communist Youth of Columbia and WFDY
Bilateral ceasefire now!

The law is but congealed politics

The conviction of the independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace on two
charges of breaching airport by-laws at Shannon Airport and the fine of
€2,000 imposed on them is farcical beyond belief. What Clare Daly and
Mick Wallace did in Shannon Airport on 22 July 2014 was a peace action
against the US warplanes landing there.

Both these peace activists had the absolute moral right and duty to
protest against the US military using Shannon Airport as part of their
global war strategy. It is clear to everyone, except, it seems, to the
Irish establishment, that American soldiers, munitions and killer drones
have been passing through Shannon Airport, while the government turns a
blind eye, making this state complicit in the military actions and war
crimes of the United States and NATO, which have resulted in the deaths
of hundreds of thousands of people.

This state has also ignored the illegal transporting of victims who
experienced “extraordinary rendition” or, in ordinary people’s language,
kidnapping, who have also passed through Shannon Airport while their
torturers stopped off to have an Irish coffee.

Neutrality must mean something, not just some vacuous slogan trotted out
by a lame political establishment. It is time that this charade of
Shannon Airport was ended and all military flights banned from landing
in Ireland or passing through Irish air space.

Roger Casement and the struggle for indigenous rights in the Putamayo

Public Meeting 
Angus Mitchell (Historian and activist)
 Andrés Sacanambuy (Human Rights Defender of Putumayo, Colombia)
 The Ireland Institute, The Pearse Centre, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2
 6.00pm, Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Dublin based human rights and solidarity organisation Grupo Raices (Grúpa Fréamhacha) in collaboration with the Ireland Institute invite you to discuss the legacy of Roger Casement in his struggle for the rights of the Putumayo Indians, in the Colombian-Peruvian Amazon, and the situation there 100 years on.
A little over a century ago, the Irish nationalist revolutionary Roger Casement denounced the abuses against the Putumayo Indians happening in the Amazon borderlands between Peru, Colombia and Brazil. His investigation resulted in the most detailed official investigation ever undertaken into the human cost of ‘Red Rubber’.
Today, a century on, the borders may have changed, but the situation has not improved. The extractive economy, deforestation, ethnocide, displacement, disappearance and resistance persist as overused words in the daily communication of the Putumayo communities in the Amazon.
In order to help us to understand how the past impacts on the present and how the present reflects the past, Grupo Raices (Grúpa Fréamhacha) and the Ireland institute will provide an evening of discussion and debate from two leading activists:
Dr Angus Mitchell is an authority on Roger Casement’s human rights work in South America. He is the author of a recent biography of Roger Casement (part of the 16 Lives series, published by O’Brien Press) and editor of The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement (Lilliput Press, 1997) and Sir Roger Casement’s Heart of Darkness: the 1911 Documents (Irish Manuscripts Commission, 2003).
From the Amazon, the Putumayo community leader, Andrés Sacanambuy will relate the current issues that are shaping regional development. He is the spokesperson for a network of some fifty associations representing peasant movements, indigenous voices, workers, women and youth associations from throughout the Putumayo.
A century on from Casement’s denunciations of the abuses perpetrated by Peruvian rubber barons, and the role of international venture capital in the untrammeled destruction of both environment and community, we might validly ask: how much has changed? What is the situation of the indigenous world today? What new challenges are faced by the environment and by local communities in the name of progress? What is the legacy of Casement and his work building international solidarity in both Ireland and South America?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Euro and the Economic and Monetary Union – Constraints and Ruptures

30 March 2015

Excerpts from Closing Speech by Ângelo Alves, member of the Political Commission of the CC of PCP

Dear Comrades,

At the close of this seminar organized by PCP’s representation in the European Parliament and by the GUE/NGL, let me begin by thanking the participation of all and valorise the contributions brought to us here by the various speakers at this seminar. Thanks that on behalf of PCP’s leadership I would like to address in a special way to our foreign guests, representatives of the Izquierda Unida from Spain, AKEL from Cyprus and Sinn Fein from Ireland.

Our seminar laid bare a fundamental idea. The Euro and the Economic and Monetary Union proved to be not a factor of balance, cohesion, economic convergence, social progress, stability, but that of economic domination, created to address the interests of big European transnational capital and the directory of powers led by Germany, an instrument of concertation and inter-imperialist rivalry, creator of asymmetries, injustice, inequality and increasing instability at various levels.

As once again demonstrated here today, the policies and pillars associated to the process of capitalist integration in Europe, some of which systematized and enhanced, especially in terms of economic policy, in the EMU project, among other aspects, were an attempt to respond to the structural crisis of capitalism and in particular the downward trend of the profit rate

And this is a central issue of our day. As was stated here today, the crisis we are experiencing in the European Union is an expression of the crisis of capitalism in Europe and at the same time a crisis of the European Union itself and of the Euro. A crisis to which big business, the right and social democracy are responding with further exploitation and with an even greater deepening of the three pillars of the process of capitalist integration.

The Memoranda of Understanding that three of the four countries represented here were subjected to are a good demonstration of what we have just said. the memoranda of understanding were a way to accelerate and concentrate in time the application of policies that have come from behind and support the process of capitalist integration. Furthermore, if it is true that these programs were a kind of shock therapy dictated by the magnitude of the crisis, an accelerated continuation of old projects, it is simultaneously true that they shaped lines of experimentation at a new level of exploitation and oppression with which to give continuity to the project of the European Union and the Euro.

That is, the policy of the memoranda is the same as that of the European Union and the Euro and vice versa. Any illusion of contradiction between the austerity policy and the Euro is just that, an illusion, which can only lead to the struggle of the people to dead ends or to huge disappointments. Or it is pure hypocritical propaganda as was the case of declarations by Juncker, whose only aim is to try trying to conceal the umbilical connection between the policies of the troika and the pillars, guidelines, strategy and policies of the Euro and the European Union.

If the results of three years of the pact of aggression are illustrative of the class nature and objectives of these policies, the same applies if we extend the analysis to a wider period. In the case of Portugal we are able to see – looking back to the period from the membership of Portugal to the EEC in 1986 or the EMU in 1999 - this policy and the constant strategy of concentration and centralization of capital, social regression and, with particular impact since the creation of the Euro, the attacks on the social functions of the States, withdrawal of rights, depreciation of the value of work, weakening of the productive apparatus, attacks on democracy and sovereignty.

This finding regarding Portugal is easily illustrated with some figures. In terms of employment around 630,000 jobs were destroyed since the entry into circulation of the Euro, the number of unemployed increased 145%, as already mentioned today. With regard to the evolution of GDP, from 1996 to 2014 Portugal grew a meagre 1.2%. If we consider the period since joining the Euro we then find that this anaemic growth becomes pure and simply stagnation, the reality of the last 17 years, a period in which the fall of public and private investment was steady and sharp. Looking at the rate of Gross Fixed Capital Formation in terms of GDP percentage, an indicator that tells if the country is acquiring goods and equipment to develop the productive capacity, we find that in 2000 it stood at 28%, today it is 15.3%, almost half! Meanwhile the profits of capital during this same period grew 60% more than the wages, that is, in a context of contraction of production a very significant decrease in the value of work.

Of course, this marked decline has national responsibles - the PS, PSD and CDS – the executors of the right-wing policy in our country. And these were exactly the devout advocates of common policies, the rules of the common market and the Euro, factors that exposed the national productive apparatus to a competitive pressure for which it was not prepared and contributed greatly to the escalade of the country's debt.

The current reality and the evolution of the country in the last 17 years confirm the correctness of these words. (...). The country de facto lost sovereignty. Lost monetary sovereignty, of course, lost budgetary and fiscal sovereignty and lost economic sovereignty. Many of those who advocated, and some still advocate, continuing like the maestro leading the orchestra while the ship sinks, the Euro and the various instruments of the European Union, argue that yielding sovereignty was the price to pay for access to this market of 500 million, and that this yielding was offset by European funds and common policies, namely the CAP. Now reality shows us exactly the opposite, besides Portugal increasing its condition as an importer country along with several other countries from the so-called periphery which were given the role of absorbing the production of the great European monopolies and exports from major powers like Germany, the balance of transfers from the European Union between 1996 and 2014 is lower by about 25 thousand million euros in the balance between entry and exit of dividends, distribution of profits and interest in this same period. That is, the countries of the European Union have already withdrawn from Portugal in this period, 50% more than the balance of the community transfers. How? Simple! Through the policy of privatization.

The development of the process of capitalist integration, the creation of the Euro, the Stability Pact and the successive Treaties - particularly since Maastricht to the Treaty of Lisbon - led, together with increasing economic dependence of countries like Portugal, to an unprecedented concentration of political power in the directory of powers with the emptying of the role of national sovereignty bodies and the creation of a political and ideological straightjacket now deepened with the package of economic governance, the European semester and the Budgetary Treaty. A straightjacket that does not allow any alternative policies to those framed by the pillars of the European Union. This factor, as we have been long denouncing, contributes to an almost full usurpation of national sovereignty and configures a serious attack on democracy by imposing relationships of domination almost of a colonial type and erasing the will of the people, as is being evident in the case of Greece. The Portuguese case also shows the extent to which these constraints are used to enforce the same policy and to condition the will of the people. As we have seen, Portugal is faced with very serious social and economic problems which undermine the dignity of the Portuguese people and the future of this country, but is being shown as an example of success of the application of the memorandum and the government itself uses up the ECB's manoeuvre of injecting huge sums in the financial system to boast of drop in interest rates on Portuguese debt, hiding that it continues every day to suck huge national resources and with the current level of growth will continue to increase. But while in this pre-election period the Government and even the European Union try to hide the sun with a finger, Portugal is placed under increased surveillance by the Commission in the scope of the European Semester process, for what reasons? The high level of indebtedness of the Portuguese economy and the continuing problems with the high level of unemployment. (...) Besides laying bare the speeches of success, this decision "condemns" Portugal precisely for the consequences of this "success" by imposing measures – the so-called reforms – by enhancing these same problems. That is, this is a vicious cycle that feeds big financial capital that continues to earn, and a lot, with the debt market and privatization at bargain prices in various sectors and pushing the country to an increasing dependence and further impoverishment of its population.

This is what was under preparation during the past years, in various aspects, including in the banking sector with the institution of the Banking Union and the Single Resolution Mechanism. A project that had an important experience in Cyprus and is intended to centralize the process of support to the financial sector and especially the protection of mega European banks.

But there is a problem, and that is the depth of the crisis at international level and the persistence of very serious problems in the so-called real economy across the whole European Union - as proven by the deflationary trend that the ECB and the Juncker plan try to hide - and the continuing spree of financial speculation. The evolution of the economic situation in France, Italy or Belgium leaves no room for doubt about the seriousness of the situation.

The advocates of the Euro try to launch a new rush ahead to further concentrate political power and economic power. Once again the right and social democracy unite in defence of the so-called federalism, arguing with the unfinished nature of the Economic and Monetary Union which lacks the features of a European economic government, a European fiscal policy and a European banking system. There is underway the so-called deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union (...). That is, an even greater enhancement of the pillars of neoliberalism and federalism. But if the consequences of the introduction of the Euro in countries with very different economic situations, with different levels of development and therefore with different needs, had the consequences it had, at this point, with the deepening of these asymmetries of development and even more different needs than in the past, then this path can only have the effect of intensifying the already described vicious cycle and condemning many countries to a status of a poor and underdeveloped region of an imperialist superstate (...).

It is based on this assessment that the PCP considers it necessary to put an end to this vicious cycle that the EEC/EU process feeds and the Euro enlarges.

As the reality in Latin America proves, the processes of cooperation and even of integration are not harmless from a class standpoint. The internationalization of the economy, the deepening of the international division of labour, the growing interdependence of States and their economies, among other factors, draw the States to these dynamics and processes. And so the question that arises is how to open those paths. The answer to the question lies on two levels that interrelate dialectically - national and international.

At this stage of reflection it is important to look at Greece and draw three lessons. The first is that a change of policy in favour of the people and workers, if only to deal with a humanitarian crisis, is inevitably confronted with the constraints of the European Union and in particular of the Euro.
The second is that in this confrontation the European Union remains totally unyielding and responds with an arrogant attitude and an action of blackmail and pressure unacceptable in light of the most basic principles of sovereignty and democracy.

The third resulting from these two is that the degree of development of the process of capitalist integration has reached such a high degree of heightening that the clash between the rights of the people and workers and the EU policies, and in particular of the Euro, that there seems to be no possible conciliation because these factors are increasingly antagonistic from a class point of view.

What to do then at the international level? It is obvious that the logical and ideal solution would be to reverse the causes of the serious situation faced by many countries and peoples. Measures like a European conference for the renegotiation of the debt according to the needs of workers, peoples and member States; like the adoption of programs to correct the effects of a mistake that was the establishment of a single currency in an economic and monetary area without conditions for this; like the approval of special structural funds as compensation for countries that suffered from speculation regarding their debts and with the intervention of the troika; like the convening of an intergovernmental conference for the revision of the Treaties and the repeal of the Budgetary Treaty and like the adoption of a European program for an orderly and controlled dissolution of the Economic and Monetary Union, are examples of paths that could be followed. But unfortunately this path is exactly the opposite of the path that the directory of powers and big business want to force. In other words, the European Union is proving PCP right when we say that the latter is not reformable, nor does it want to reform, quite the contrary.

Hence, another path of cooperation will inevitably have to assume a rupture with this process of capitalist integration and immediately and in the first place with the Euro. How to do it? By changing the correlation of forces necessary in each country to enable at the European level to reverse and defeat the process of capitalist integration and pave the way for a process of cooperation among sovereign States to enhance social progress and harmonious development, respecting mutually advantageous economic relations, defend peace and cooperation and defend democracy and the sovereignty in the various countries of Europe.

Those who claim that this is a very distant and even idyllic setting, we answer with the reality in other continents and with the remarkable progress achieved in particular and especially in Latin America, as indeed it is shown by the violent reaction of imperialism in trying to destabilize some of the main motors of these processes, like the States of Venezuela and Brazil.

But as I said, the relationship between the national and international level of struggle is dialectical. And in trying a change in the correlation of forces at the national level that allows initiating the process described above, the clashes, as stated above, will be inevitable. And in these clashes it is necessary to know exactly which path to follow.

That is why the PCP affirms that in Portugal one of the conditions for the development of an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy is to get rid of the constraints arising from the European capitalist integration and in particular from the Euro. It is a courageous stand, which always requires a broad popular support and participation, but it is the only possible position. Just as the capitalist restoration, the counter-revolution, the destruction of April achievements, the decades of right-wing policies, found in the integration in the EEC / EU and the Euro a factor of fundamental support for their class option, a patriotic and left-wing policy will surely and inevitably have to make a rupture with the capitalist integration and, in a first phase, with some of its core instruments like the Euro.
As was stated today, the many problems of Portugal are not confined to its association with the Euro. We have structural problems and deficits that need addressing, like the development of the productive apparatus, the recovery of domestic consumption by way of a significant improvement of wages and pensions or the solution of the Portuguese debt problem which is unpayable in the light of current conditions. So it is important to clarify that the recovery of monetary sovereignty - and by extension of the exchange, budgetary and fiscal sovereignty - is a necessary condition, but it is not the solution to all our problems. On the contrary, an exit from the Euro in the context of maintaining the options which have guided the right-wing policy would have negative consequences for the workers and peoples. And that's exactly why the main proposal of the PCP is the preparation and study for the exit from the Euro. A preparation that will prove that this exit will only bring benefits to Portugal if carried out in a framework of developing a set of other measures included in PCP’s political proposal of development of the national productive apparatus, restoration of rights, wages and pensions, valorisation and restoration of public services, diversification of the country’s economic relations, investment in training and valorisation of the workforce, investment in education and research, among many others.

An exit from the Euro, controlled, negotiated and assumed by the Portuguese State would enable to free the State from dependence on financial markets for their funding as last resource, would adjust monetary and budgetary policy of the State to the situation and needs of the country, would enable to end unacceptable restrictions to public investment and the financing of the social functions of the State and would create conditions for the promotion of national production and serious and determined combat against two of the greatest scourges of this country, the rate of unemployment and poverty.

But the exit from the Euro cannot be a sudden act, devoid of measures at the source to prevent immediate negative consequences and protect the workers, the people, their income and property. It will have to be integrated with another set of very specific measures.

Thus arises as the first and immediate need for a combination of three policy action lines.
The preparation of the country to exit the euro - as a form of liberation from constraints that would prevent the development of a patriotic and left-wing policy;
The renegotiation of the debt in accordance with the needs of the country, its sovereign development and according to the needs of the workers and people – an essential factor to ensure budgetary space and investment to put in motion the restoration of the national productive apparatus and the restoration of the living and purchasing conditions of the Portuguese. (...). A renegotiation which should result in a political and diplomatic action of the Portuguese State putting national interests and the interests of Portuguese above the interests of those who have already gained much with the usury and speculation on Portuguese public debt;

Finally, the need for reconsolidation of the national banking system and public control of the financial system, in particular by means of nationalization. A measure that would ensure effective regulation, supervision and oversight of banking, which would put serious difficulties to flight of assets and, in a broader perspective, could guarantee the fight against financial speculation, enabling to channel savings and financial resources for investment in domestic production .
These are three measures that constitute a first response to the severe situation of the country. Objectives to be applied in their own time, but thought out and prepared together, articulated and integrated into the broader formulation of an alternative patriotic and left-wing policy, the first stage of the alternative policy that the PCP advocates for Portugal of an advanced democracy, integral part of the struggle for socialism in Portugal.

Some people ask us if we are sure that our political proposal would solve all problems. We are well aware of the difficulties, boycott attempts and complexities that we will face. But there is another thing we know is that the current course of the country and of Europe itself is unsustainable, if this course of difficulties is maintained, impoverishment, submission, humanitarian catastrophe would be an inevitability. And since we do not believe in inevitabilities, then the path is the struggle, integrating our action and struggle at the national level with the action and struggle of all those who in other countries are willing to follow the path of the necessary ruptures to build a Europe of Workers and Peoples.

These are times are of struggle and great clashes. Capitalism is pushing Humanity to a rather dangerous situation from many different points of view, but the people resist in a tough struggle. The class struggle, the old class struggle, is more alive than ever. And it requires courage, uprightness, coherence, determination and solidarity. (...) As we tried to demonstrate in this debate and we know well what we want for Portugal, we know which path should be set, we have concrete proposals that are not only possible to materialize but are urgently needed. We are prepared to assume the highest responsibilities in this decisive phase of life of the Portuguese, in particular, the Government of Portugal.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

No support for the government - KKE

On Monday the 30th of March, at the request of the government, a discussion was held in Parliament, where the Prime Minister A. Tsipras tabled the issue that all the parties must support the government in its negotiations with the EU and IMF.

In response to the Prime Minister, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, the GS of the CC of the KKE told him: “Your “proud negotiation” is related to the interests of the ruling class who you aim to serve, just as the previous governments did. You are negotiating in order to secure more state money for the domestic monopoly groups.” D. Koutsoumpas denounced the fact that the government has not brought the agreement, which it came to in February with the EU, to parliament to be voted on. The reason it did not bring the agreement to be voted on in parliament  was so that the people would not see such an agreement being jointly supported by the “left” party of SYRIZA, together with the parties of the previous government (ND-PASOK), the pro-EU party “Potami” etc.

In addition, The GS of the CC of the KKE, stressed that “The invitation to the USA to act as a transatlantic arbiter of the energy wealth of the country, and its presentation as a force guaranteeing stability, are a provocation to our people. Experience has shown that "solutions" of this nature not only undermine sovereign rights but lead our people to new hazards.”

D. Koutsoumpas underlined that this government is also concealing from the people the real reasons, that the reforms it is planning are part of  SEV’s (The Hellenic Federation of Enterprise) long-term aims and are fixed directions of the EU. He stressed that the KKE has tabled a draft law for the abolition of the memoranda with the lenders and the related legislation, as well as other proposals for the immediate relief of the families of the popular strata, proposals which the governmental majority is sabotaging.

In his rejoinder to the discussion, D. Koutsoumpas noted amongst other things from the parliamentary podium: “Our people must organize their counterattack against the real opponents, there is no other path for our people. They must prepare for conflict and rupture with the EU and with capital and its power.”

Raul Castro's speech at the Summit of the Americas

His Excellency Juan Carlos Varela, President of the Republic of Panama;
Presidents and Prime Ministers;
Distinguished guests;

I appreciate the solidarity of all Latin American and Caribbean countries that made possible Cuba's participation in this hemispheric forum on equal footing, andI thank the President of the Republic of Panama for the kind invitation extended to us. I bring a fraternal embrace to the Panamanian people and to the peoples of all nations represented here.

The establishment of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on December 2-3, 2011, in Caracas, opened the way to a new era in the history of Our America, which made clear its well-earned right to live in peace and develop as their peoples freely decide, and chart the course to a future of peace, development and integration based on cooperation, solidarity and the common will to preserve their independence, sovereignty and identity.

The ideals of Simón Bolívar on the creation of a 'Grand American Homeland' were a source of inspiration to epic campaigns for independence.

In 1800, there was the idea of adding Cuba to the North American Union to mark the southern boundary of the extensive empire. The 19thcentury witnessed the emergence of such doctrines as the Manifest Destiny, with the purpose of dominating the Americas and the world, and the notion of the 'ripe fruit', meaning Cuba's inevitable gravitation to the American Union, which looked down on the rise and evolution of a genuine rationale conducive to emancipation.

Later on, through wars, conquests and interventions that expansionist and dominating force stripped Our America of part of its territory and expanded as far as the Rio Grande.

After long and failing struggles, José Martí organised the 'necessary war', and created the Cuban Revolutionary Party to lead that war and to eventually found a Republic 'with all and for the good of all with the purpose of achieving 'the full dignity of man.'

With an accurate and early definition of the features of his times, Martí committed to the duty 'of timely preventing the United States from spreading through the Antilles as Cuba gains its independence, and from overpowering with that additional strength our lands of America.'

To him, Our America was that of the Creole and the original peoples, the black and the mulatto, the mixed-race and working America that must join the cause of the oppressed and the destitute. Presently, beyond geography, this ideal is coming to fruition.

One hundred and seventeen years ago, on April 11, 1898, the President of the United States of America requested Congressional consent for military intervention in the independence war already won with rivers of Cuban blood, and that legislative body issued a deceitful Joint Resolution recognizing the independence of the Island 'de facto and de jure'. Thus, they entered as allies and seized the country as an occupying force.

Subsequently, an appendix was forcibly added to Cuba's Constitution, the Platt Amendment that deprived it of sovereignty, authorized the powerful neighbor to interfere in the internal affairs, and gave rise to Guantánamo Naval Base, which still holds part of our territory without legal right. It was in that period that the Northern capital invaded the country, and there were two military interventions and support for cruel dictatorships.

At the time, the prevailing approach to Latin America was the 'gunboat policy' followed by the 'Good Neighbor' policy. Successive interventions ousted democratic governments and in twenty countries installed terrible dictatorships, twelve of these simultaneously and mostly in South America, where hundreds of thousands were killed. President Salvador Allende left us the legacy of his undying example.

It was precisely 13 years ago that a coup d'etat staged against beloved President Hugo Chavez Frías was defeated by his people. Later on, an oil coup would follow.

On January 1st, 1959, sixty years after the U.S. troops entered Havana, the Cuban Revolution triumphed and the Rebel Army commanded by Fidel Castro Ruz arrived in the capital.

On April 6, 1960, barely one year after victory, Assistant Secretary of State Lester Mallory drafted a wicked memorandum, declassified tens of years later, indicating that 'The majority of Cubans support Castro...An effective political opposition does not exist; the only foreseeable means of alienating internal support [to the government] is through disenchantment and disaffection based on economic dissatisfaction and hardship ['] to weaken the economic life of Cuba...denying it money and supplies to decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and overthrow of government.'

We have endured severe hardships. Actually, 77% of the Cuban people was born under the harshness of the blockade, but our patriotic convictions prevailed. Aggression increased resistance and accelerated the revolutionary process. Now, here we are with our heads up high and our dignity unblemished.

When we had already proclaimed socialism and the people had fought in the Bay of Pigs to defend it, President Kennedy was murdered, at the exact time when Fidel Castro, leader of the Cuban Revolution, was receiving his message seeking to engage Cuba in a dialogue.

After the Alliance for Progress, and having paid our external debt several times over while unable to prevent its constant growth, our countries were subjected to a wild and globalizing neoliberalism, an expression of imperialism at the time that left the region dealing with a lost decade.

Then, the proposal of a 'mature hemispheric partnership' resulted in the imposition of the Free Trade Association of the Americas (FTAA), --linked to the emergence of these Summits-- that would have brought about the destruction of the economy, sovereignty and common destiny of our nations, if it had not been derailed at Mar del Plata in 2005 under the leadership of Presidents Kirchner, Chavez and Lula. The previous year, Chavez and Fidel had brought to life the Bolivarian Alternative known today as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.


We have expressed to President Barack Obama our disposition to engage in a respectful dialogue and work for a civilized coexistence between our states while respecting our profound

I welcome as a positive step his recent announcement that he will soon decide on Cuba's designation in a list of countries sponsor of terrorism, a list in which it should have never been included.

Up to this day, the economic, commercial and financial blockade is implemented against the Island with full intensity causing damages and scarcities that affect our people and becoming the main obstacle to the development of our economy. The fact is that it stands in violation of International Law, and its extraterritorial scope disrupts the interests of every State.

We have publicly expressed to President Obama, who was also born under the blockade policy and inherited it from 10 former Presidents when he took office, our appreciation for his brave decision to engage the U.S. Congress in a debate to put an end to such policy.

This and other issues should be resolved in the process toward the future normalization of bilateral relations.

As to us, we shall continue working to update the Cuban economic model with the purpose of improving our socialism and moving ahead toward development and the consolidation of the achievements of a Revolution that has set to itself the goal of 'conquering all justice.'

Esteemed colleagues;

Venezuela is not, and it cannot be, a threat to the national security of a superpower like the United States. We consider it a positive development that the U.S. President has admitted it.

I should reaffirm our full, determined and loyal support to the sister Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to the legitimate government and civilian-military alliance headed by President Nicolas Maduro, and to the Bolivarian and chavista people of that country struggling to pursue their own path while confronting destabilizing attempts and unilateral sanctions that should be lifted; we demand the repeal of the Executive Order, an action that our Community would welcome as a contribution to dialogue and understanding in the hemisphere.

We shall continue encouraging the efforts of the Republic of Argentina to recover the Falklands, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and supporting its legitimate struggle in defense of financial sovereignty.

We shall maintain our support for the actions of the Republic of Ecuador against the transnational companies causing ecological damages to its territory and trying to impose blatantly unfair conditions.

I wish to acknowledge the contribution of Brazil, and of President Dilma Rouseff, to the strengthening of regional integration and the development of social policies that have brought progress and benefits to extensive popular sectors, the same that the thrust against various leftist governments of the region is trying to reverse.

We shall maintain our unwavering support for the Latin American and Caribbean people of Puerto Rico in its determination to achieve self-determination and independence, as the United Nations Decolonization Committee has ruled tens of times.

We shall also keep making our contribution to the peace process in Colombia.

We should all multiply our assistance to Haiti, not only through humanitarian aid but also with resources that help in its development, and, in the same token, support a fair and deferential treatment of the Caribbean countries in their economic relations as well as reparations for damages brought on them by slavery and colonialism.

We are living under threat of huge nuclear arsenals that should be removed, and are running out of time to counteract climate change. Threats to peace keep growing and conflicts spreading out.

As President Fidel Castro has said 'the main causes rest with poverty and underdevelopment, and with the unequal distribution of wealth and knowledge prevailing in the world. It cannot be forgotten that current poverty and underdevelopment are the result of conquest, colonization, slavery and plundering by colonial powers in most of the planet, the emergence of imperialism and the bloody wars for a new division of the world. Humanity should be aware of what they have been and should be no more. Today, our species has accumulated sufficient knowledge, ethical values and scientific resources to move forward to a historical era of true justice and humanism. Nothing of what exists today in economic and political terms serves the interests of Humanity. It cannot be sustained. It must be changed,' he concluded.

Cuba shall continue advocating the ideas for which our people have taken on enormous sacrifices and risks, fighting alongside the poor, the unemployed and the sick without healthcare; the children forced to live on their own, to work or be submitted to prostitution; those going hungry or discriminated; the oppressed and the exploited who make up the overwhelming majority of the world population.

Financial speculation, the privileges of Bretton Wood, and the unilateral removal of the gold standard have grown increasingly suffocating. We need a transparent and equitable financial system.

It is unacceptable that less than ten big corporations, mostly American, determine what is read, watched or listened to worldwide. The Internet should be ruled by an international, democratic and participatory governance, particularly concerning its content. The militarization of cyberspace, and the secret and illegal useof computer systems to attack other States are equally unacceptable. We shall not be dazzled or colonized again.

Mister President;

It is my opinion that hemispheric relations need to undergo deep changes, particularly in the areas of politics, economics and culture, so that, on the basis of International Law and the exercise of self-determination and sovereign equality, they can focus on the development of mutually beneficial partnerships and cooperation in the interest of all our nations and the objectives proclaimed.

The adoption in January 2014, during the Second Summit of CELAC in Havana, of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone made a transcendental contribution to that end, marked by Latin American and Caribbean unity in diversity.

This is evident in the progress we are making toward genuinely Latin American and Caribbean integration processes through CELAC, UNASUR, CARICOM, MERCOSUR, ALBA-TCP, SICA and the ACS, which underline our growing awareness of the necessity to work in unison in order to ensure our development.

Through that Proclamation we have committed ourselves 'to have differences between nations resolved peacefully, through dialogue and negotiation, and other ways consistent with International Law.'

Living in peace, and engaging in mutual cooperation to tackle challenges and resolve problems that, after all, are affecting and will affect us all, is today a pressing need.

As the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Peace Zone sets forth, 'the inalienable right of every State to choose its political, economic, social and cultural system, as an
essential condition to secure peaceful coexistence between nations' should be respected.

Under that Proclamation we committed to observe our 'obligation to not interfere, directly or indirectly, in the internal affairs of any other State, and to observe the principles of national sovereignty, equality of rights and free determination of the peoples, 'and to respect ' the principles and standards of International Law] and the 'principles and purposes of the United Nations Charter.'

That historical document urges 'all member states of the International Community to fully respect this Declaration in its relations with the CELAC member States.'

We now have the opportunity, all of us here, as the Proclamation also states, of learning 'to exercise tolerance and coexist in peace as good neighbors.'

There are substantial differences, yes, but also commonalities which enable us to cooperate making it possible to live in this world fraught with threats to peace and to the survival of the human species.

What is it that prevents cooperation at a hemispheric scale in facing climate change?

Why is it that the countries of the two Americas cannot fight together against terrorism, drug-trafficking and organized crime without politically biased positions?

Why can we not seek together the necessary resources to provide the hemisphere with schools, hospitals, employment, and to advance in the eradication of poverty?

Would it not be possible to reduce inequity in the distribution of wealth and infant mortality rates, to eliminate hunger and preventable diseases, and to eradicate illiteracy?

Last year, we established hemispheric cooperation to confront and prevent Ebola, and the countries of the two Americas made a concerted effort. This should stimulate our efforts toward greater achievements.

Cuba, a small country deprived of natural resources, that has performed in an extremely hostile atmosphere, has managed to attain the full participation of its citizens in the nation's political and social life; with universal and free healthcare and education services; a social security system ensuring that no one is left helpless; significant progress in the creation of equal opportunities and in the struggle against all sorts of discrimination; the full exercise of the rights of children and women; access to sports and culture; and, the right to life and to public safety.

Despite scarcities and challenges, we abide by the principle of sharing what we have. Currently, 65 thousand Cuban collaborators are working in 89 countries, basically in the areas of healthcare and education, while 68 thousand professionals and technicians from 157 countries have graduated in our Island, 30 thousand of them in the area of healthcare.

If Cuba has managed to do this with very little resources, think of how much more the hemisphere could do with the political will to pool its efforts to help the neediest countries.

Thanks to Fidel and the heroic Cuban people, we have come to this Summit to honor Mart­i's commitment, after conquering freedom with our own hands proud of Our America, to serve it and to honor it 'with the determination and the capacity to contribute to see it loved for its merits and respected for its sacrifices.'

Thank you.

PANAMA, APRIL 10-11, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

April Socialist Voice

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fidel makes public appearance

Cuba's former president and revolutionary icon Fidel Castro made his first public appearance in 14 months on 30 March when he met with a delegation Venezuelans on a solidarity mission to Cuba.

The meeting occurred by chance when the group were visiting the Vilma Espin Guillois Educational Complex in Havana. The site houses pre-school to sixth grade students and was inaugurated by Fidel Castro in 2013.

On seeing the students and visitors at the school while passing, the Cuba's former president decided to pay an impromptu visit.

Local media said that Castro "greeted, one by one and without any difficulties, the Venezuelans," who were left impressed "by Castro's lucidity and his attention to the details of what is happening in Venezuela."

During his appearance, Castro highlighted the importance of the international campaign calling on the U.S. President Barack Obama to repeal his executive order that arbitrarily declares Venezuela an extraordinary threat to its national security. 

In his pubic address, Castro emphasized the need to acquire as many signatures as possible in order remove Venezuela from being labeled as a threat to U.S. national security. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

TULF Solidarity with Venezuela

Demonstrate in Solidarity with Venezuela

In 1985 President Ronald Reagan declared Nicaragua to be “a threat to the United States”, and proceeded to finance and arm the “contras” in order to overthrow the democratically elected Sandinista government. When, thirty years later the current president of the U.S. Barack Obama declares Venezuela to be “a threat to the United States”, it can only mean one thing – the U.S. is seeking to overthrow the government of Venezuela.
Since the election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 transformed the political situation in Venezuela and Latin America, the U.S. has striven to restore its dominion over the continent. It has supported and encouraged the Venezuelan ultra-right, during the coup d'état in 2002 and since, in all its efforts to destabilise and undermine the Bolivarian Government.
Last year the ultra-right organised street violence resulting in the deaths of 43 people. This year in February, Venezuelan security services uncovered a plot for another coup d'état. You would not know this from the Irish media who take their news from the Washington Post and the New York Times. They would have us believe that the deaths last year were the result of state repression of peaceful demonstrations and that there was no plot, that persons convicted of violent crimes or awaiting trial are political prisoners.

These false reports have been endorsed by the U.S. Senate and the European Parliament. It is on this basis that the Senate orders sanctions and the President issues his executive order.
The threats against Venezuela have been repudiated by UNASUR , by ALBA and by CELAC, representing a majority of Latin American States, who no longer accept the hegemony of the United States. The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in the United Nations has joined in the call for the repeal of the executive order.

The Venezuela Ireland Network is organising a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Dublin at 2 p.m.on Sunday 19th April, to call for the rescinding of the order declaring Venezuela to be a threat to the United States, for the ending of sanctions against officials who were only acting according to the constitution and laws of Venezuela, and for an end to all U.S. interference in Venezuelan affairs

UNASUR is the Union of South American States; ALBA is the Bolivarian Alliance for America. CELAC is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

James Connolly Festival May 2015

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Connolly Youth Movement Cork Condemn Racist Incidents And Take Action

Recently, zenophobic and racist graffiti was seen scrawled across a wall in the Shandon St. area of Cork City. The graffiti was painted on the wall of an African store and contained direct and racist language targeting the area's local African migrant community. The image of a Celtic Cross, frequently used by far-right and neo-Nazi groups was also painted. Thankfully, local anti-fascists removed the graffiti and the city of Cork rallied around the migrant community.

The Cork branch of the Connolly Youth Movement unreservedly condemns this egregious incident. Shandon St. is a working-class area where people of all races and creeds should be free to associate and live their lives without fear of exclusion and intolerance. Racism and prejuidice are deliberate effects by the capitalist establishment to divide workers and create division where there should instead be co-operation. The economic climate fostered here by the Irish ruling class has allowed people to blame their problems on immigrants as the state and its apparatus benefits from such ignorance as it takes the blame off of them –As Lenin said,”Fascism is Capitalism in decay.” Migrants into Ireland should be made feel welcome and allowed to participate fully in an inclusive society. Many have fled from war, poverty and injustice in their home countries in search of a better life – Not unlike the Irish people forced to emigrate due to the effects of Capitalism at home.

Unfortunately, this incident seems to be apart of a broader campaign. In the city centre, “Irish Voice” stickers have been stuck on to bus stops and lighting poles in Patrick St. and the area surrounding University College Cork. “Irish Voice” is an internet campaign which is explicitly racist and far-right in its rhetoric. Similar stickers were also found near the area of the incident in Shandon St. In an attempt to eradicate any vestige of far-right politics from our city action must be taken. On the 1st April, CYM activists in Cork City tore down all “Irish Voice” stickers and put CYM stickers over them. We were delighted to see that some citizens had already taken some down for us! While this is a small action, it demonstrates to these bigots that their intolerance is not welcome, in Cork, or anywhere else. While these people have draped themselves around the cloak of Nationalism, they seem to have missed what the Proclamation of the Irish Republic meant when it says “Cherish all the children of the nation equally.”

We would like to express our solidarity with all immigrants and their families and declare our adherence to a society free of such intolerance and the system that breeds it. The Connolly Youth Movement is dedicated to fighting against this system and in creating a Socialist Republic which will be, as our namesake, the Irish Socialist pioneer James Connolly said, a rallying point for the disaffected and a haven for the oppressed.

Workers Of The World Unite!