Monthly Archives: March 2010

THE US HEALTHCARE REFORM by FIDEL CASTRO

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THE US HEALTHCARE REFORM by FIDEL CASTRO

Barack Obama is a zealous believer in the imperialist capitalist system imposed by the United States to the world. “God bless the United States,” is the final phrase of his speeches.

Some events hurt the sensitivity of the world public which sympathized with the victory of the African-American over the far-right candidate in that country. On the basis of one of the deepest economic crises the world has known, and on the pain brought on by the young Americans who lost their lives or were injured or maimed in the genocidal wars of conquest unleashed by his predecessor, he won with the vote of the majority of the 50% of Americans who cast a vote in that democratic nation.

Out of an elementary sense of ethic, Obama should have refrained from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize when he had already decided on sending forty thousand troops to an absurd war in the heart of Asia.

The warmongering policy and the plundering of natural resources, as well as the unequal terms of trade of the current administration toward the poor countries of the Third World are no different from those of his predecessors, most of them from the far-right, –with few exceptions—throughout the past century.

The antidemocratic document imposed at the Copenhagen Summit on the international community, which had given credit to his promise to cooperate in the struggle against climate change, was another one of those events that disappointed many people around the world. The United States, the largest producer of greenhouse-gas emissions, was not willing to make the necessary sacrifices despite the flattering previous words of its president.

The list of contradictions would be endless between the ideas defended by the Cuban nation for five decades with great sacrifices and the selfish policies of that colossal empire.

Still, we don’t feel any animosity toward Obama, much less toward the American people. We feel that the Healthcare Reform has been a significant battle and a success of his administration. However, it is really amazing that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence proclaimed in Philadelphia in the year 1776, which drew inspiration from the ideas of the great French encyclopedists, the government of that country has approved medical care for the overwhelming majority of its citizens, something that Cuba accomplished for its entire population half a century ago despite the cruel and inhuman blockade imposed –and still in force– by the mightiest country that has ever existed. In the past, it was only after almost a century of independence and following a bloody war, that Abraham Lincoln could obtain the legal emancipation of the slaves.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think of a world where over one-third of the population have no access to medical care or the basic medicines required to ensure health. 

And this situation will be aggravated as climate change, and water and food shortage worsen in a globalized world where the population grows, the forests disappear, the arable land decreases, the air is more polluted, and the human species inhabiting it –which emerged less than 200 thousand years back, that is, 3.5 billion years after the first forms of life on the planet—is running the real risk of annihilation.

Even conceding that the Health Reform comes as a success to the Obama administration, the current President of the United States cannot ignore that climate change poses a threat to health, and worse still, to the very existence of every nation in the world, as the rise in temperature –beyond critical limits which are already in sight—melts down the water of the glaciers, and the tens of millions of cubic meters contained in the enormous ice caps of the Antarctic, Greenland and Siberia melt down within a few decades leaving under water every port facility in the world and lands where a large part of the world population lives, works and eats today.

Obama, the leaders of the wealthy nations and their allies, as well as their scientists and sophisticated research centers are aware of this; they cannot ignore it.

I understand the satisfaction expressed in the presidential speech and his recognition of the contribution made by the members of Congress and the administration to make possible the miracle of the Health Reform, which strengthens the government’s position vis-à-vis political lobbyists and mercenaries that curtail the authority of the administration. It would be worse if those responsible for tortures, murders on contract and genocide were in charge of the US government again. As a man unquestionably smart and sufficiently well informed, Obama knows there is no exaggeration in my words. I hope the foolish remarks he sometimes makes about Cuba do not cloud his mind.

In the aftermath of his success in this battle for the right of every American to healthcare, 12 million immigrants, most of them Latin American, Haitian and from other Caribbean countries are demanding the legalization of their presence in the United States where they do the hardest work and the American society cannot do without them, but where they are arrested, separated from their families and sent back to their countries.

The overwhelming majority migrated to America escaping the tyrannies imposed by the United States on the countries of the region and the dire poverty these have endured as a result of the plundering of their resources and the unequal terms of trade. Their family remittances make up a high percentage of the GDP of these countries’ economies. Now, they expect an act of basic justice. If the Cubans have been singled out with an Adjustment Act which promotes brain drain and the enticement of their educated youths, why are such brutal methods applied to the illegal immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean?

The devastating earthquake that battered Haiti –the poorest nation in Latin America, hammered by an unprecedented natural catastrophe that took the lives of more than 200 thousand people—and the terrible economic damage that a similar phenomenon brought on Chile are eloquent proof of the dangers looming over the so-called civilization and of the need for dramatic measures that can give the human species the hope to survive.

The Cold War failed to benefit the people of the world. The huge economic, technological and scientific power of the United States would be unable to survive the tragedy hovering on the planet. President Obama should look up in a computer the relevant data and talk to his most outstanding scientists; then, he will see how far his country is of being the model it promotes for humanity.

As an African-American, he suffered the offense of discrimination, according to his own narrative in the book “Dreams From My Father.” He was acquainted with the poverty of tens of millions of Americans; educated in that country and as a successful professional he has enjoyed the privileges of the rich middle class and ended up idealizing the social system where the economic crisis, the lives of Americans uselessly sacrificed and his undisputable political talent gave him political victory.

Yet, to the most intractable right-wing Obama is an extremist; and they threaten to continue fighting in the Senate to neutralize the effects of the Health Reform and to openly boycott it in several States of the Union by declaring it an unconstitutional law.

The problems of our times are much more serious.

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions strictly controlled by the United States –the creators of tax havens and the culprits of the financial chaos in the planet– allow the bailout of the big American banks by their government every time one of the frequent and increasingly intense crises of the system hits that country.

The United States Federal Reserve capriciously mints the hard currency that pays for the wars of conquest, the profits of the Military Industrial Complex, the military bases distributed around the world, and the large investments used by the transnational companies to control the economy of many countries worldwide. 

Nixon unilaterally suspended the gold standard while the vaults of the New York banks keep seven thousand tons of gold, little over 25% of the world reserves in that metal, a figure that at the end of World War II was in excess of 80%. It is said that the US public debt exceeds 10 trillion dollars, which is more than 70% of its GDP and stands like a burden for the new generations. This is said when the truth is that the world economy is the one paying that debt with the huge amounts of US dollars spent in purchasing goods and services, the same dollars that the large transnationals of that country use to buy a considerable portion of the world riches and to sustain that nation’s consumer society.

Anyone understands that such a system is unsustainable and also why the wealthiest sectors in the United States and their allies in the world advocate a system that can only be sustained with ignorance, deception and the conditioned reflexes created in the world public through the monopoly over the mass media, including the main networks of the Internet. Today, the structure is crumbling with the accelerated advance of climate change and its disastrous consequences which are placing humanity face to face with an exceptional dilemma.

The wars between powers seem no longer a possible solution to the great contradictions as they were until the second half of the 20th century. Still, they have had such an impact on the elements that make human survival possible, that they could prematurely put an end to the existence of the current intelligent species that populates our planet.

A few days ago I expressed my firm belief that, in light of the scientific knowledge prevailing today, the human beings will have to solve their problems on planet Earth since they will never be able to cover the distance separating the Sun from its closest star located four light-years away, –one light-year equals 187,500 miles per second, as our high school students know—provided a planet similar to our beautiful Earth existed around that sun.

The United States invests huge amounts of money to confirm the presence of water on planet Mars, or if there was or is any elementary form of life there. No one knows what for, if not out of mere scientific curiosity. Millions of species are disappearing from our planet at a faster pace and its enormous water sources are constantly being poisoned.

The new laws of science –following Einstein’s formulas on energy and matter, and the big-bang theory as the origin of the millions of constellations and infinite stars and/or other theories—have given rise to deep changes in such basic concepts as space and time, which draw the attention of and are subjected to analysis by theologians. One of them, our Brazilian friend Friar Betto, deals with the subject in his book “The Work of the Artist: A Holistic Vision of Universe,” presented in the recent International Book Fair held in Havana.

The advancement of science in the past one hundred years has had an impact on the traditional approaches that prevailed through thousands of years in social sciences and even in Philosophy and Theology.

The most honest thinkers are paying significant attention to the new knowledge but we know absolutely nothing of how President Obama feels about the compatibility of consumer societies with science.

In the meantime, it is worthwhile meditating about these subjects now and then; this will certainly not prevent human beings from dreaming and from taking things with due serenity and steely nerves, but it is the duty of at least those who chose to become politicians and who sustain the noble and unwavering objective of a human society where justice and solidarity prevail.

Fidel Castro Ruz

March 24, 2010

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ROMANIAN AGGRESSIVE POLICY AGAINST RUSSIA UNVEILED IN A BLACKSEANEWS AGENCY INTERVIEW

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In an article printed by Blackseanews Agency ( the leading Black Sea News agency ) is unvelied the romanian agressive foreign policy towards Russia, because of the importance of the article we present this completly and we publicly thank to Blackseanews Agency for the agreement to public this article:

ROMANIAN AGGRESSIVE POLICY AGAINST RUSSIA

In the last months the use of Romanian foreign politics by Republicans in United States to hinder Barrack Obama policy , gets an unusual scrutiny as the Bucharest movements in the Black Sea region are reminding more and more of a Cold war time activity than a peaceful time diplomacy. The Bucharest support for Georgian army re-equipment and for Georgian government strong positions toward Russia or the support offered from Bucharest to the Moldavian anti-Russian and reformist government and finally the decision unilaterally announced by Romania to host the controversial antimissile shield left the region in limbo. But what is behind this biting the nose of Russia policy practice by Romania?

Tension at Black Sea.

From august 2008 when the Georgian – Russian war has broken out the peace at Black sea seemed long forgotten.   Almost on a monthly bases Tbilisi is trying, to put a brave face the latest part in this never ending saga: a broadcast in the night of 13 March at a Georgian television announcing that Russian troops have invaded Georgia and President Saackashvili, a staunch opponent to Russia was assassinated. This latest part in a show of tension between Georgia and Russia was destined to unify Georgian people against Russia and to boost the Georgian president authority. But this was just a media show; in January 2010 Tbilisi hosted an energy summit destined to promote an alternative energy route and source of supplies bypassing Russia. Only Romania was present at this show of force sending the Minister of Economy Adriean Videanu while the rest of the countries choose to ignore the invitation or to send no names to this anti-Russia show.

 

A Black Sea with NATO forces.

A new initiative from Romania is sending sock waives on Black Sea. A debate on Montreaux Convention (signed in 1936 and neutralizing the Dardanelle Straits and banning foreign military naval forces entering in the Black Sea) Now important voices are explaining that United States bases from Bulgaria and Romania could not be defended properly and neither the anti-missile shield could not operate at 100% capacity without a NATO permanent presence in the Black Sea. In NATO will established a stable naval based on the model of Mediterranean Sea the faith of Russian navy will be sealed and in 2018 when Sevastopol base will be evacuated practically the Black Sea will become a NATO lake and operation like 2008 war with  Georgia will be unthinkable .

Romania- Poland: a wall on the East.

In the next weeks the Romanian President is waited in Poland in a visit destined to forge a new Romania – Poland alliance. Nominally the alliance is directed towards nobody but as foreign commentator said is enough to look on the map to see where the alliance is directed. Also history is marking that in 1921 Poland and Romania also marked a partnership against Soviet Russia, a partnership that resisted until the broken of the Second World War in 1939. This successful partnership on controlling Eastern Europe is a memory that remained registered in the diplomatic memory of Bucharest and Warsaw.

Chisinau: a new line of confrontation.

A success of the last year of this powerful policy toward East headed by Bucharest was the orange revolution held in Chisinau that chased out of power the communist party and offered a slim majority to the pro-Europe opposition. This success was quickly fortified by Romania with economic help and with a strong advocacy voice in Europe pressing for a support to the young democracy flourishing in Moldova. But clouds are gathering quickly. The communist opposition is strong enough to block the elections of any pro-Europe candidate and this could lead to anticipate elections. In a climate of economic disorder and high inflation and with a monthly medium wage ranged around 40 USD a communist victory is almost inevitable. Bucharest is supporting a reform movement that is trying to modify the way that the President is elected giving a chance to avoid new elections. Russia is not regarding this Romanian involvement in what is consider here back door with positive eyes. Contrary Russia ,after here victory in Ukraine where a candidate of centrist parties Viktor Yanukovich, favorable to a friendship policy towards Moscow  has reported a resounding victory, is concentrating his efforts on new battle ground: Moldavia.

Romania and Ukraine: or how the love has faded away.

Five years ago when an orange revolution sweep to power in Bucharest President Traian Basescu and in Ukraine , President Victor Yushcenko a honeymoon was established between Romania and Ukraine . Both presidents initiated a reform movement in the Russia influence area, supported Georgia`s Mikhail Saakashvili independence politics and foster a plan for democracy building even in Russia. But this time quickly became history, now in Ukraine an independent personality, with a strong backing from Russian speaking eastern part of the country come to power. Usually the Romanian President was an all time presence in Kiev, this time he didn’t find time to participate in the inaugural ceremony of Viktor Yanukovich . Also recent declaration reminding that Romania is having issues with Ukraine regarding Romanian minority rights in Ukraine, a controversial channel build by Ukraine on Danube Delta and many other issues all are depicting a more tension image. If we put in the balance that Ukraine is having herself interests in Republic of Moldavia that are not exactly the same as Romania`s presidential vision  we could say that the honey moon is over.

 

The shield of our discontent.

Finally the already world known decision take but Romanian President to host the long debated anti-missile shield on Romanians soil. The decision taken without Parliament consent or political approval send Moscow in a rage speaking even by Cold War resurrection .The decision made tones of ink to be spread on newspapers and comments and will surely make many other tones in the next months . The most important is the United States attitude; already the Republican personalities announced that they will not forget the Romanian strong pro-US stance and promised a strong support if they will take the control of the Parliament in November elections. A long line of republicans key figure already find their way to Romania expressing their views that Bucharest will be even strongly backed in this baiting the nose of Russia policy if they will take the reins after Barrack Obama. In this Black Sea policy the next move will come in the next months from Russia. What this move will be?

EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS WILL HOST THE EUROPEAN CULTURE WEEK

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PRESS RELEASE

European Council on International Relations will host the European Culture Week.

European Council on International Relations will host between 22-26 March 2010  the traditional cultural event for European values : EUROPEAN CULTURE WEEK . The traditional events will be, as usually a rallying point for Europe educational and cultural experts. This week important issues will be discuss varying from educational curricula, universities status in the world, new currents in culture and educations and an overview of European culture situation under the economic crisis pressure.

A large panel of educational advisers, governmental officials and representatives of the most important European universities and culture experts will debate all this important topics in order to offer to Europe the opportunity to contribute to the values and educational debates in the world. European Council on International Relations is the organizers and sponsor of this event in order to insure a complete independence of the works and professional invited from any governmental intrusion. This year the EUROPEAN CULTURE WEEK will be focusing on ways to make culture and education a priority for Europe as the economic crisis is taking the main agenda while the most important assets of Europe: history, culture and educational and cultural productions are overlooked.

This year also in order to emphasize the importance of culture in Europe diplomacy the European Council on International Relations will host and on 9-11 April 2010 a special educational session focusing in educational and culture values all over the world.

So remain close to fallow the European Council on International Relations efforts in promoting culture and education as effective diplomacy tools in order to create a better world.         

Israel illegal settlements condemned even by United States

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Statement by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

Jerusalem – Al Quds

“I condemn the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in East Jerusalem. The substance and timing of the announcement, particularly with the launching of proximity talks, is precisely the kind of step that undermines the trust we need right now and runs counter to the constructive discussions that I’ve had here in Israel. We must build an atmosphere to support negotiations, not complicate them.

This announcement underscores the need to get negotiations under way that can resolve all the outstanding issues of the conflict. The United States recognizes that Jerusalem is a deeply important issue for Israelis and Palestinians and for Jews, Muslims and Christians.  We believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem and safeguards its status for people around the world.  Unilateral action taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations on permanent status issues.   As George Mitchell said in announcing the proximity talks, “we encourage the parties and all concerned to refrain from any statements or actions which may inflame tensions or prejudice the outcome of these talks.””

EUROPE MARKS AND SUPPORTS ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK

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EUROPE IS CELEBRATING ISRAELI APARTHEID WEEK

All across European Union democrats and peace activist are marking the important event of : Israel Apartheid Week .Universities in over 40 cities across the world have begun to observe Israeli Apartheid Week in condemnation of the Zionist regime’s suppression of the Palestinians.
During Israeli Apartheid Week, the universities will hold protests and host related speeches, cultural performances, and movie screenings.
The people who first proposed holding Israeli Apartheid Week in 2005 say it has become a very important international event for expressing solidarity with the Palestinians, supporting the opponents of Israeli apartheid across the globe, and reinforcing the call for sanctions to be imposed on Israel.
Haaretz reported that Jerusalem Al-Quds-based economic researcher Shir Hever is scheduled to give a series of lectures at the University of Amsterdam entitled “Could the Economic Policies of Israel be Considered a Form of Apartheid?”The daily added that Glasgow University is to host a speech by Jeff Halper, a professor of anthropology based in Israel, who is the co-founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He is slated to give a speech on the boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) campaign.In addition, director Shai Carmeli-Pollak will be screening his 2006 documentary “Bil’in Habibti” — which is about the Israel Defense Forces’ violence — at Boston area universities, Haaretz reported

INTERNATIONAL FOCUS ON RUSSELL TRIBUNAL IN BARCELONA

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ISRAEL CONDEMNED FOR WAR CRIMES AT RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE

 

The first international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine with a focus on the Palestinian right to self determination and the global responsibility of ending Israeli crimes against Palestinians has come to an end in Spain’s eastern city of Barcelona.
At the closing of the session Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, enumerated Tel Aviv’s international-law violations. “Among serious Israeli infringements are closure of Gaza Strip borders, restrictions on the freedom movement of its inhabitants, stripping Palestinian refugees of return right to their land of origin as well as preventing Palestinians from free use of natural resources such as water within their land,” she said.

She added that given the discriminatory and biased nature of these measures, Israel has established an “apartheid state” in the area.Israel is denying Palestinians access to their own land, violating property rights and seriously restricting the freedom movement of the Palestinian population by constructing a wall in the occupied West Bank territories.
The activist also said that Tel Aviv violates the right to live of Palestinian nation through a policy of targeted assassinations of Palestinians it describes as militants.
The participants at the three-day event also argued that the European Union has been complicit in aiding and abetting Israelis to carry out their horrendous crimes. They pointed out that Israel is guilty of major crimes of domination, subjugation.
Like the apartheid era in South Africa when a white minority was ruling over a black majority, Israel seeks to take control of the Palestinians’ lives, they said.
The activists also called on the EU member states  to stop selling weapons to Israel. They also demanded a ban on import of Israeli products, which are made in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine is made up of four sessions. At the end of 2010, a London session will scrutinize the complicity of corporations in normalizing and continuing Israel’s violations of international law.
In mid-2011, a session in South Africa will consider apartheid in Israel. And the final session, which will be held in the United States next year, will go through the role of the Washington within the United Nations. It will also evaluate the decision-making processes used to deal with violations of international law.

RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE OPEN TO JUDGE ALLEGDLY ISRAEL CRIMES

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The call

       We are calling for the creation of a RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE. This Tribunal will work rigorously and in the same spirit as the Tribunal on Vietnam that sat in 1967, under the presidency of Jean-Paul Sartre.   

  The Tribunal will have to judge the breaches of international law, of which the Palestinians are victims, and which deprive the Palestinian people of a sovereign State.        The Advisory Opinion given by the International Court of Justice of The Hague on the 9th of July 2004 sums up those violations, and concludes, in particular, that Israel must dismantle the Wall and compensate the Palestinians for all the damage resulting from its construction.    

  This Opinion reiterates, in §163,D, that “All States are under an obligation not to recognise the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction; all State parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilians Persons in Time of War of the 12th of August 1949 have in addition the obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure compliance by Israel with international law as embodied in that Convention”.    

   This Opinion was confi rmed on the 24th of July 2004, by resolution ES-10/15 of the General Assembly of the United Nations, adopted by 150 Members States. The General Assembly “demands that Israel, the occupying Power, comply with its legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion” and “calls upon all States Members of the United Nations to comply with their legal obligations as mentioned in the advisory opinion”.       Drawing in particular on the Advisory Opinion and the UN resolution, the RUSSELL TRIBUNAL ON PALESTINE will reaffi rm the primacy of international law as the basis for the settlement of the Israeli -Palestinian confl ict. It will identify breaches in the application of the law and will bring all the perpetrators to the attention of international public opinion.     

  Your support for this Tribunal will give it the moral weight necessary to advance the cause of justice and law in this part of the world.       Thanking you for your attention and your response to this appeal, and with cordial greetings.   

      Yours sincerely, 

 

          Ken Coates                              Nurit Peled                                   Leila Shahid

Chairman of the Bertrand              Sakharov Prize 2001            General Delegate of Palestine to the

Russell Peace Foundation                                                       European Union, Belgium, Luxembourg

More information  at: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/