Category: Cuba
Ruminations on the JFK Assassination
| August 5, 2017 | 8:10 pm | Cuba, political struggle | 1 Comment

Ruminations on the JFK Assassination

– from Zoltan Zigedy is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

I found four good reasons to revisit the John F. Kennedy assassination.

First, I have finished reading the 2017 Antonio Veciana memoir, Trained to Kill. Gaeton Fonzi, one of the most thorough and honest assassination investigators always maintained that Veciana, a Cuban anti-Fidel CIA asset, and Sylvia Odio, another member of an anti-Communist organization, were the keys to unlocking the CIA, Oswald, assassination nexus.
Second, there are strong parallels between the engagement of security forces in “correcting” US foreign policy in 1963 and a similar direct activism of security forces in reshaping US foreign policy in 2017.
Third, the National Archives has released the first tranche of the remaining unreleased government JFK assassination files held in the archives. It is mandated to release the rest by October 26.
And finally, a reader of this blog claimed that most Marxists have failed to challenge the Warren Commission orthodoxy and have shown little sympathy toward alternative accounts. Perhaps he is right about most “Marxists”, but my reply: “I don’t believe you can endorse that apologia [the Warren Commission] for a political coup and be a Marxist.”
Veciana and the Security Apparatus
For years, Gaeton Fonzi, formerly an investigator for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, sought to get Antonio Veciana to confirm that his CIA contact known by the nom de guerre “Maurice Bishop” was, in fact, CIA handler David Attlee Phillips. In recent years, Veciana has affirmed that connection, though long after Phillips’s death. Had Veciana done so at the time of the investigation, interrogators would have had a useful lever to pry open the tightly shuttered windows to CIA connections with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Self-described as a terrorist (Veciana claims personal engagement with numerous bombings, fires, and assassination attempts before he exited Cuba), Veciana tells of a 1963 meeting in Dallas with Phillips that was also attended by Oswald. A neutral, uninvolved witness claims that the date was September 7. Veciana’s status as a friend of the CIA and a prominent leader of a community bitterly disappointed with Kennedy leaves little room for a motive to lie about the Oswald meeting. To the contrary, Veciana had every reason to connect Oswald to the hated Fidelistas and not his CIA enablers. Similarly, Sylvia Odio’s allegation that Oswald visited her with two anti-Communist militants can only cast a shadow over her political cohorts in that anti-Fidel movement, a movement that would benefit only from the image of Oswald as a leftist. Nonetheless, she has stuck to her story of meeting Oswald.
In his book, Veciana makes some interesting, currently relevant observations about the nature of rule in the US or other imperialist countries (“empires”):
I came to think that there is a parallel power at work in empires, that sets its own rules, for its own ends… But Bishop [Phillips] made me see that outside this traditional, visible authority there is an invisible power acting in the shadows, directing events. However, the true power lies in the hands of a hidden consortium that acts as an unseen overlord, watching over and deciding civilization’s destiny. This “invisible directorate,” this “shadow government,” is politically, economically, and militarily powerful… It passes from generation to generation, forever hidden, yet forever in control.
This is a truly remarkable commentary, coming from a man whose politics were mostly defined by his visceral hatred of Fidel Castro. Assuredly, his words echo the fashionable notion of the “deep state” so frequently cited today.
But a more apt characterization of the forces acting below the surface, in the shadows, is the classic Marxist concept of a “ruling class.” For Marxists, every society since antiquity has been based upon social classes, with one class dominating the others. Until classes are eliminated, this will be so. So, in Marxist theory, behind every form of rule, there exists a ruling class, either out in the open or in the shadows. In modern capitalism, that ruling class governs behind a curtain of bourgeois democracy; it presents a facade of popular rule while ensuring that the outcomes cohere with the interests of that ruling class.
While the term “deep state” conveys the idea of stealth governance, it fails to unambiguously affirm that covert rule is the norm of capitalism; it may suggest that Veciana’s “hidden consortium” is an aberration, a deviation from the normal course of capitalist governance, a “conspiracy” and not a structural feature of capitalist society.
For the liberal who believes that capitalism is reformable, the concept of the “deep state” is welcome because it imagines a world in which the “conspiratorial” apparatus– the CIA and the other security agencies– can be reined in or contained by the “democratic” superstructure of modern-day capitalism. But the truth is that the security services, though often operating clandestinely, are reliable tools of the US ruling class. From the Marxist perspective, the security services acted against Kennedy precisely because the ruling class was determined to change the course of Presidential governance or, at the very least, an important sector of the ruling class decided to alter that course. The agents of change were not, in any significant sense, rogues.
Similarly, the current deluge of anti-Russia leaks attributed to anonymous sources in the security apparatus, are directed at pressing the Trump administration toward a ruling-class consensus on foreign policy. Because no solid evidence is supplied, the insinuating, guilt-by-association claims are grounded on public confidence in the snoops and assassins. The security services are successfully molding the Trump foreign policy agenda without resorting to the violent solution chosen by their predecessors.
The National Archives
It is naive to believe that the National Archives will release a blockbuster document in the next three months. That does not mean, of course, that careful, diligent investigators won’t unearth interesting leads that cast doubt on the official narrative. But be assured that the CIA, the FBI, and other government agencies have suppressed or destroyed any documents that might link them with Oswald, the assassination, or any other element of the Dallas events.
Nonetheless, assassination investigators have done a remarkable job of using the selective documentary evidence to find weaknesses, even contradictions in the dominant narrative. This is truly remarkable because the investigators, excepting those with the Church Committee, the Garrison investigation, and the HSCA, have few resources, limited expertise, and scant support. Certainly, the government did nothing to help and everything to hinder any effort to dig deeper.
It is interesting to see the timing, the content, and the media reaction to the release of the first tranche of documents. The National Archive release featured the Yuri Nosenko files, a quaint sideshow to the assassination and the obsession of the Strangelovian CIA mole-hunter, James Jesus Angleton. Angleton was fixed on laying the blame for the assassination at the Soviet door step. And today’s media is taking the National Archive bait, adding the Nosenko affair to its year-long mud-slinging at Russia based on gossip and innuendo. Typical of the media were the following headlines:
Newly released top secret documents may show that Russia was behind the assassination of JFK (aol.com)
DID RUSSIA KILL A U.S. PRESIDENT? NEW CIA DOCUMENTS REVEAL SPY’S THEORY ABOUT JFK’S DEATH (Newsweek)
Another transparent effort to divert attention from CIA complicity based on the recently released documents can be found here.
No one should think that it is a coincidence that these long dismissed charges are surfacing again precisely in the midst of an all-out media campaign to demonize Russia and fuel a new Cold War. The calculated release does a disservice to the truth of the JFK assassination and further demonstrates government complicity in the demonization of Russia.
Marxists and the Kennedy Assassination
There are “Marxists” and there are Marxists. Michael Parenti is one authentic Marxist who has consistently argued that Kennedy was assassinated by the security arm of the ruling class. In his words:
The state is the instrument used in all these societies by the wealthy few to impoverish and maintain control over the many. Aside from performing collective functions necessary for all societies, the state has the particular task of protecting the process of accumulating wealth for the few… Occasionally an incident occurs that reveals in an unusually vivid manner the gangster nature of the state. The assassination of President John Kennedy in November 1963 is such an occasion… To know the truth about the assassination of John Kennedy is to call into question the state security system and the entire politico-economic order it protects. This is why for over thirty years the corporate-owned press and numerous political leaders have suppressed or attacked the many revelations about the murder unearthed by independent investigators…
While Parenti favors the colorful words “gangster state,” it is clear that he identifies the agents responsible for Kennedy’s assassination as “instruments” of the “wealthy few” (the ruling class). “Gangster” serves Parenti well because, looking in the rear-view mirror after the assassination, he understands the all-too-common thuggery, deceit, manipulation, and violence used against the leadership of sovereign countries in the early years of the CIA: Iran (Mossadegh), Guatemala (Arbenz), and, of course, Cuba (Fidel). Certainly, with such a history of gangsterism in attempting to depose leaders, the CIA should be the first, and not the last, rock to overturn while looking for those responsible for Kennedy’s murder.
The current adulation by the media and elected officials of the FBI and CIA over their claims of Russian interference in the US election is made even more absurd by an even casual knowledge of this history. Why does the hard-charging media refuse to look in the rear-view mirror to see CIA/FBI lies and deceit?
It is wise to heed Parenti’s methodological recommendation:
Unlike fictional mysteries, in real life there usually is no smoking gun. Historians work by a process of accretion, putting piece by piece together until a picture emerges. In the Kennedy murder the pieces make an imposing picture indeed, leaving one with the feeling that while there may not be a smoking gun there is a whole fusillade of impossibilities regarding the flight of bullets, the nature of the wounds, the ignored testimony of eye witnesses, the sudden and mysterious deaths of witnesses, the disappearance and deliberate destruction of evidence, and the repeated acts of official coverup that continue to this day regarding the release of documents.
For anyone identifying with or familiar with US Communism and its history, the official account, from the Warren Commission to Gerald Posner, defies credibility. At the time when Lee Harvey Oswald was building a reputation as a Marxist (in the Marine Corps!), defected to the Soviet Union, returned, and re-established himself as a “friend” of Cuba, Communists were still undergoing McCarthyite repression. In 1958, Junius Scales was convicted as a Communist under the Smith Act. He was released from jail in late 1962.  We are asked to believe that open Marxist “Oswaldkovitch” was functioning in the Marine Corps at this time, holding a security clearance, and was assigned to the secret U2 base in Atsugi, Japan. This was a time when two top leaders of the Communist Party were finishing their sentences for being Communists! No Communist or Marine would find this account to be even remotely possible.
According to the accepted timeline, Oswald was professing Marxism at a time when anti-Marxism had reached hysterical levels in the United States and the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover had collected a Communist Index with over 200,000 names. Unlike the tens of thousands of family, friends and associates of Communists who received visits by the FBI in this period, there appears to be few records of visits in Oswald’s circles. The FBI seems to have shown little interest in him.
Similarly, his return as a defector seemed to draw scant attention from the security services who were reading every letter from the Soviet Union to the US. Apparently, letters posed more interest from the CIA than returning defectors (or, at least, this one!). Since the FBI was suspiciously inquisitive about even mere visitors to the Soviet Union in this era, anyone touched by the rabid anti-Communism of the time would find this lack of interest stunning, indeed!
And the ready acceptance of a defector from the Soviet Union in right-wing circles in the heartland of reaction defies belief.
And how did Oswald’s incarnation as a lone soldier of the pro-Cuba left in New Orleans bring so little action from security services, little harassment, and little violence from the enemies of the left, even with a contrived incident? Have Warren Commission apologists forgotten the murderous violence against dissent, nonconformity and civil rights activism (often equated with “Communism”)? Does “Communist” Lee Harvey Oswald’s unhindered, bold forays through the racist, anti-Communist South make any sense in this context when leftists of any persuasion at that time, or in the following decade, were risking their lives?
Probably nothing ridiculed the plausibility of Oswald, the Marxist revolutionary, as the backyard photo of Oswald holding both the Trotskyist Militant and the Communist Worker in one hand and a rifle in the other. Veterans of the left were astonished that anyone with even a vague relationship to leftist politics would put the three objects in the same room, not to speak of in the hands of one person. The only purpose would be to tarnish the left.
Marxists offer no special technical knowledge or expertise on trajectories, wound analysis, or marksmanship, though acknowledging that assassin investigators have cast more than a little doubt on factual details of the official narrative. However, even the greenest, most inexperienced leftist of the time would have picked Oswald out as a provocateur. For that reason, Oswald’s handlers never placed him in the actual presence of anyone even remotely identified with the US Marxist movement. Oswald never visited headquarters, offices, meetings, etc, but only dealt with the left remotely. Where he approached foreign Marxists (Soviets, Cubans), they were cautious and hesitant with him.
Oswald was a leftist poseur serving a different master.
For More
For a credible, plausible counter-narrative to the Warren Commission, I recommend JFK: The Cuba Files by Fabian Escalante. Escalante is the retired head of Cuban Intelligence, the mastermind behind countering decades of CIA attempts on Fidel Castro. He may well be the world’s leading expert on CIA intrigue, and brings Cuban intelligence resources to the question.
The Last Investigation by former HSCA investigator, the late Gaeton Fonzi, is indispensable for chronicling his tenacious pursuit of the truth in the face of government intransigence, deception, and complicity.
Vincent Salandria was one of the earliest and most challenging critics of the Warren Commission. His False Mystery shows his detailed dissection of the Report and how he located anomalies that occupied the next generation of investigators.
Two more recent investigators, David Talbot and Jefferson Morley, approach the assassination from very different perspectives, but draw fresh, useful conclusions that help flesh out the assassination picture.
E. Martin Schotz’s History Will Not Absolve Me is a useful anthology that brings forward a number of associated issues, especially concerning various responses to both the assassination and the Warren Commission Report.
For a fascinating allegory of the assassination, one should read Michael Parenti’s The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome.
There are, of course, uncountable commentaries on the JFK assassination. Most are well-intentioned and contain some useful facts or interpretations. It should be understood that the vast majority of these commentators, though honest, are amateur sleuths. Consequently, there are mistakes, false interpretations, and dead ends in many studies. Nonetheless, much useful work has been done.
Among the commentators, there are charlatans, shills, and spooks, some purposefully casting a cloud over assassination studies. The perpetrators, their friends, and allies have great resources, and they use them to great effect.
But there was a coup. We will live with the fears, the uncertainties, and the unchecked elite rule until we expose it. It continues to shape the world we live in.
Zoltan Zigedy
When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?
| July 31, 2017 | 7:13 pm | Analysis, Cuba, DPRK, Fidel Castro, Imperialism, Iran, Russia | No comments

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When is the World Going to Impose Sanctions on America?

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John Wight
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https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201707271055924535-sanctions-us-justice/

Only when we are living in a world in which sanctions are imposed ‘on’ the United States rather than ‘by’ the United States will we know justice reigns.

The decision taken by the US Congress to “punish Russia” for alleged meddling in the US elections with the maintenance of existing sanctions has been followed by a bill to weaken the ability of President Trump to “weaken sanctions on Russia,” thus presenting a direct challenge to the President’s authority. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming majority and at time of writing awaits a hearing in the Senate, which along with the House makes up the US Congress. The legislation also includes new sanctions against not only Russia but also Iran and North Korea, thus maintaining the pattern of waging economic war against states which refuse to accept that Washington’s writ should run wherever it decides whenever it decides.

Economic sanctions are not the benign instrument that some might assume. On the contrary, they are tantamount to an act of war, a means by which economic might is wielded as club to bludgeon ‘recalcitrant’ nations and states into submission. And though sanctions may not evoke the same sense of potency of cruise missiles, they kill just the same. The experience of the Iraqi people leaves no doubt of it.

Between 1990 and 2003 sanctions on Iraq, imposed by the UN, are estimated to have been directly responsible for the deaths of 2 million people, half a million of them children according to Unicef. Multilateral sanctions were imposed on the country in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. Under UN Security Council Resolution 661 it was mandated that UN-member states should prevent all imports originating in Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, business activity between nationals of member states and Iraq, and should undertake an embargo of funds or “economic resources” to Iraq or Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, except for medical or humanitarian purposes.

As journalist John Pilger wrote in a March 2000 article:

“Under economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council almost 10 years ago, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to clean up its contaminated battlefields, as Kuwait was cleaned up. At the same time, the Sanctions Committee in New York, dominated by the Americans and British, has blocked or delayed a range of vital equipment, chemotherapy drugs and even painkillers. ‘For us doctors,’ said Dr Al-Ali, ‘it is like torture. We see children die from the kind of cancers from which, given the right treatment, there is a good recovery rate.’ Three children died while I was there.”

The sanctions imposed on Iraq were so draconian and sustained that two UN Humanitarian Coordinators in Iraq, Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest. Yet even with the evidence of the role of the sanctions in killing half a million Iraqi children, Washington remained unrepentant. The by now infamous words of former UN Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in 1996, when in response to a question during an interview about the infanticide that was taking place as a result of the sanctions she said “the price is worth it,” exposed the barbarity that lies behind the mask of Western civilization.

The fact the sanctions were only lifted from Iraq after the devastating war unleashed on the country by the US and its UK ally in 2003 had killed countless more children tells its own story.

Cuba has suffered under the iron heel of US economic sanctions and embargo longer than any other country on the planet. A raft of economic sanctions were originally imposed on the island in 1960 by the Eisenhower administration after the Cuban revolution of the previous year succeeded in toppling the US-supported dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, after which US corporations and businesses that had been operating without restraint in Cuba were expropriated and nationalized.

Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.
© AP Photo/ Franklin Reyes, File
Miniature flags representing Cuba and the United States are displayed on the dash of an American classic car in Havana, Cuba.

Relations between Havana and Washington turned even more sour two years later when Fidel Castro defied Washington in forging close ties with the Soviet Union. In response, the Kennedy administration imposed complete economic sanctions, which have remained more or less in place over succeeding decades.

As French journalist Salim Lamrani pointed out in a 2016 interview on the history of US sanctions against Cuba:

“The sanctions are anachronistic because they date back to the Cold War. They are cruel because they affect the most vulnerable categories of the Cuban people, not the leaders. Finally, they are ineffective to the extent that the initial goal of overthrowing the Cuban Revolution has clearly failed.”

Most cogently, Lamrani makes the point that “Rather than isolating Cuba internationally, these sanctions have instead isolated the United States.”

The sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies/vassals on Russia, meanwhile, have been justified as a response to ‘Russian aggression’ in eastern Ukraine, along with reunification of of Crimea with Russia in 2014. As I have written previously, this is a false and tendentious rendering of what has occurred in Ukraine and why.

But regardless of the whys and wherefores, the idea that the largest country in Europe with the second most powerful military in the world, whose economy is stable and built on solid foundations, could ever be brought to its knees by economic sanctions is so preposterous it is laughable.

However the mendacity and arrogance behind Washington’s history of imposing economic sanctions against other states is certainly no laughing matter, not when we consider the ineffable human suffering they have caused and continue to cause.

Moreover, a history of subverting, destabilizing, and destroying one country after another is all the evidence needed to label the US a country so drunk with power and a corresponding sense of exceptionalism that the rest of the world would be more than justified in uniting to impose sanctions on it. In fact, given the brutal history of US imperialism the world needs to as a matter of necessity.

As Fidel Castro said, “The United States tyrannizes and pillages the globalized world with its political, economic, technological, and military might.”

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

“Condemn me. It does not matter. The peoples will have the last word!”- Fidel Castro Ruz, 26 July 2003
| July 25, 2017 | 9:45 pm | Cuba, Fidel Castro, political struggle | No comments

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

“Condemn me. It does not matter. The peoples will have the last word!”- Fidel Castro Ruz, 26 July 2003

 https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/condemn-me-it-does-not-matter-peoples.html
Speech by Comandante Fidel Castro Ruz on the 50th anniversary of the attack on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Cespedes Garrisons, in Santiago de Cuba, 26 July 2003:
It seems almost unreal to be here in this same place 50 years after the events we are commemorating today, which took place that morning of July 26, 1953. I was 26 years old back then; today, 50 more years of struggle have been added to my life.
Way back then, I could not have imagined for even a second that this evening, the few participants in that action who are still alive would be gathered here, together with those, gathered here or listening to us all around the country, who were influenced by or participated directly in the Revolution; together with those who were children or teenagers back then; with those who were not even born yet and today are parents or even grandparents; with whole contingents of fully fledged men and women, full of revolutionary and internationalist glory and history, soldiers and officers in active duty or the reserves, civilians who have accomplished veritable feats; with a seemingly infinite number of young combatants; with dedicated workers or enthusiastic students, as well as some who are both at the same time; and with millions of children who fill our imagination of eternal dreamers. And once again, life has given me the unique privilege of addressing all of you.
I am not speaking here on my own behalf. I am doing it in the name of the heroic efforts of our people and the thousands of combatants who have given their lives throughout half a century. I am doing it too, with pride for the great work they have succeeded in carrying out, the obstacles they have overcome, and the impossible things they have made possible.
In the terribly sad days that followed the action, I explained to the court where I was tried the reasons that led us to undertake this struggle.
At that time, Cuba had a population of less than six million people. Based on the information available back then, I gave a harsh description, with approximate statistics, of the situation facing our people 55 years after the U.S. intervention. That intervention came when Spain had already been militarily defeated by the tenacity and heroism of the Cuban patriots, and it frustrated the goals of our long war of independence when in 1902 it established a complete political and economic control over Cuba.
The forceful imposition on our first Constitution of the right of the U.S. government to intervene in Cuba and the occupation of national territory by U.S. military bases, together with the total domination of our economy and natural resources, reduced our national sovereignty to practically nil.
I will quote just a few brief paragraphs from my statements at that trial on October 16, 1953:
“Six hundred thousand Cubans without work.”

“Five hundred thousand farm laborers who work four months of the year and starve the rest.”
“Four hundred thousand industrial workers and laborers whose retirement funds have been embezzled, whose homes are wretched quarters, whose salaries pass from the hands of the boss to those of the moneylender, whose life is endless work and whose only rest is the tomb.”
“Ten thousand young professionals: medical doctors, engineers, lawyers, veterinarians, school teachers, dentists, pharmacists, journalists, painters, sculptors, etc., who finish school with their degrees anxious to work and full of hopes, only to find themselves at a dead end, with all doors closed to them.”
“Eighty-five percent of the small farmers in Cuba pay a rent and live under constant threat of being evicted from the land they till.”
“There are two hundred thousand peasant families who do not have a single acre of land to till to provide food for their starving children.”
“More than half of our most productive land is in foreign hands.”
“Nearly three hundred thousand caballerías (over three million hectares) of arable land owned by powerful interests remain idle.”
“Two million two hundred thousand of our urban population pay rents that take between one fifth and one third of their incomes.”
“Two million eight hundred thousand of our rural and suburban population lack electricity.”
“The little rural schoolhouses are attended by a mere half of the school age children who go barefoot, half-naked and undernourished.”
“Ninety per cent of the children in the countryside are sick with parasites.”
“Society is indifferent to the mass murder of so many thousands of children who die every year from lack of resources.”
“From May to December over a million people are jobless in Cuba, with a population of five and a half million.”
“When the head of a family works only four months a year, how can he purchase clothing and medicine for his children? They will grow up with rickets, with not a single good tooth in their mouths by the time they reach thirty; they will have heard ten million speeches and will finally die of poverty and disillusion. Public hospitals, which are always full, accept only patients recommended by some powerful politician who, in return, demands the votes of the unfortunate one and his family so that Cuba may continue forever in the same or worse condition.”
Perhaps the most important statement I made about the economic and social situation was the following:
“The nation’s future, the solutions to its problems, cannot continue to depend on the selfish interests of a dozen big businessmen nor on the cold calculations of profits that ten or twelve magnates draw up in their air-conditioned offices. The country cannot continue begging on its knees for miracles from a golden fleece, like the one mentioned in The Old Testament destroyed by the prophet’s fury. Golden fleece cannot perform miracles of any kind. […] Statesmen whose statesmanship consists of preserving the status quo and mouthing phrases like ‘absolute freedom of enterprise,’ ‘guarantees to investment capital’ and ‘law of supply and demand,’ will not solve these problems.”
“In this present-day world, social problems are not solved by spontaneous generation.”

These statements and ideas described a whole underlying thinking regarding the capitalist economic and social system that simply had to be eliminated. They expressed, in essence, the idea of a new political and social system for Cuba, although it may have been dangerous to propose such a thing in the midst of the sea of prejudices and ideological venom spread by the ruling classes, allied to the empire and imposed on a population where 90% of the people were illiterate or semi-literate, without even a sixth-grade education; discontent, combative and rebellious, yet unable to discern such an acute and profound problem. Since then, I have held the most solid and firm conviction that ignorance has been the most powerful and fearsome weapon of the exploiters throughout all of history.
Educating the people about the truth, with words and irrefutable facts, has perhaps been the fundamental factor in the grandiose feat that our people have achieved.
Those humiliating realities have been crushed, despite blockades, threats, aggressions, massive terrorism and the unrestrained use of the most powerful media in history against our Revolution.
The statistics leave no room for doubt.
It has since been possible to more precisely determine that the real population of Cuba in 1953, according to the census taken that year, was 5,820,000. The current population, according to the census of September 2002, now in the final phase of data processing, is 11,177,743.
The statistics tell us that in 1953, a total of 807,700 people were illiterate, meaning an illiteracy rate of 22.3%, a figure that undoubtedly grew later during the seven years of Batista’s tyranny. In the year 2002, the number was a mere 38,183, or 0.5% of the population. The Ministry of Education estimates that the real figure is even lower, because in their thorough search for people who have not been given literacy training in their sectors or neighborhoods, visiting homes, it has been very difficult to locate them. Their estimates, based on investigative methods even more precise than a census, reveal a total of 18,000, for a rate of 0.2%. Of course, neither figure includes those who cannot learn to read or write because of mental or physical disabilities.
In 1953, the number of people with junior or senior high school education was 139,984, or 3.2% of the population aged 10 and over. In 2002, the number had risen to 5,733,243, which is 41 times greater, equivalent to 58.9% of the population in the same age group.
The number of university graduates grew from 53,490 in 1953 to 712,672 in 2002.
Unemployment, despite the fact that the 1953 census was taken in the middle of the sugar harvest, –that is, the time of the highest demand for labor– was 8.4% of the economically active population. The 2002 census, taken in September, revealed that the unemployment rate in Cuba today is a mere 3.1%. And this was the case in spite of the fact that the active labor force in 1953 was only 2,059,659 people, whereas in 2002 it had reached 4,427,028. What is most striking is that next year, when unemployment is reduced to less than 3%, Cuba will enter the category of countries with full employment, something that is inconceivable in any other country of Latin America or even the so-called economically developed nations in the midst of the current worldwide economic situation.
Without going into other areas of noteworthy social advances, I will simply add that between 1953 and 2002, the population almost doubled, the number of homes tripled, and the number of persons per home was reduced from 4.46 in 1953 to 3.16 in 2002; 75.4% of these homes were built after the triumph of the Revolution.
Eighty five percent of the people own the houses they dwell and they do not pay taxes; the remaining 15% pays a rather symbolic rent.
Of the total number of homes in the country, the percentage of huts fell from 33.3% in 1953 to 5.7% in 2002, while the percentage of homes with electrical power service rose from 55.6% in 1953 to 95.5% in 2002.
These statistics, however, do not tell the full story. Cold figures cannot express quality, and it is in terms of quality that the most truly spectacular advances have been achieved by Cuba.
Today, by a wide margin, our country occupies first place worldwide in the number of teachers, professors and educators per capita. The country’s active teaching staff accounts for the incredible figure of 290,574.
According to studies analyzing a group of the main educational indicators, Cuba also occupies first place, above the developed countries. The maximum of 20 students per teacher in primary schools already attained, and the ratio of one teacher per 15 students in junior high school –grades seven, eight and nine– that will be achieved this coming school year, are things that could not even be dreamed of in the world’s wealthiest, most developed countries.
The number of doctors is 67,079, of which 45,599 are specialists and 8,858 are in training. The number of nurses is 81,459, while that of healthcare technicians is 66,339, for a total of 214,877 doctors, nurses and technicians in the healthcare sector.
Life expectancy is 76.15 years; infant mortality is 6.5 for 1000 live births during the first year of life, lower than any other Third World country and even some of the developed nations.
There are 35,902 physical education, sports and recreation instructors, a great many more than the total number of teachers and professors in all areas of education before the Revolution.
Cuba is now fully engaged in the transformation of its own systems of education, culture and healthcare, through which it has attained so many achievements, in order to reach new levels of excellence never even imagined, based on the accumulated experience and new technological possibilities.
These programs are now fully underway, and it is estimated that the knowledge currently acquired by children, teenagers and young people will be tripled with each school year. At the same time, within five years at most, average life expectancy should rise to 80 years. The most developed and wealthy countries will never attain a ratio of 20 students in a classroom in primary school, or one teacher to 15 students in high school, or succeed in taking university education to every municipality throughout the country to place it within reach of the whole population, or in offering the highest quality educational and healthcare services to all of their citizens free of charge. Their economic and political systems are not designed for this.
In Cuba, the social and human nightmare denounced in 1953, which gave rise to our struggle, had been left behind just a few years after the triumph of the Revolution in 1959. Soon, there were no longer peasants, sharecroppers or tenant farmers without land; all of them became the owners of the land they farmed. There were no longer undernourished, barefoot, parasite-ridden children, without schools or teachers, even if their schooling took place beneath the shade of a tree. They no longer died in massive numbers from hunger, disease, from lack of resources or medical care. No longer were the rural areas filled with unemployed men and women. A new stage began in the creation and construction of educational, healthcare, residential, sports and other public facilities, as well as thousands of kilometers of highways, dams, irrigation channels, agricultural facilities, electrical power plants and power lines, agricultural, mechanical and construction material industries, and everything essential for the sustained development of the country.
The labor demand was so great that for many years, large contingents of men and women from the cities were mobilized to work in agriculture, construction and industrial production, which laid the foundations for the extraordinary social development achieved by our country, which I mentioned earlier.
I am talking as if the country were an idyllic haven of peace, as if there had not been over four decades of a rigorous blockade and economic war, aggressions of all kinds, countless acts of sabotage and terrorism, assassination plots and an endless list of hostile actions against our country, which I do not wish to emphasize in this speech, so as to focus on essential ideas of the present.
Suffice it to say that defense-related tasks alone required the permanent mobilization of hundreds of thousands of men and women and large material resources.
This hard-fought battle served to toughen our people, and taught them to fight simultaneously on many different fronts, to do a lot with very little, and to never be discouraged by obstacles.
Decisive proof of this was their heroic conduct, their tenacity and unshakably firm stance when the socialist bloc disappeared and the USSR splintered. The feat they accomplished then, when no one in the world would have bet a penny on the survival of the Revolution, will go down in history as one of the greatest ever achieved. They did it without violating a single one of the ethical and humanitarian principles of the Revolution, despite the shrieking and slander of our enemies.
The Moncada Program was fulfilled, and over-fulfilled. For some time now, we have been pursuing even greater and previously unimaginable dreams.
Today, great battles are being waged in the area of ideas, while confronting problems associated with the world situation, perhaps the most critical to ever face humanity. I am obliged to devote a part of my speech to this.
Several weeks ago, in early June, the European Union adopted an infamous resolution, drafted by a small group of bureaucrats, without prior analysis by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs themselves, and promoted by an individual of markedly fascist lineage and ideology: José María Aznar. The adoption of this resolution constituted a cowardly and repugnant action that added to the hostility, threats and dangers posed for Cuba by the aggressive policy of the hegemonic superpower.
They decided to eliminate or reduce to a minimum what they define as “humanitarian aid” to Cuba.
How much of this aid has been provided in the past few years, which have been so very difficult for the economy of our country? In 2000 the so-called humanitarian aid received from the European Union was 3.6 million dollars; in 2001 it was 8.5 million; in 2002, 0.6 million. And this was before the application of the just measures that Cuba adopted, on fully legal grounds, to defend the security of our people against the serious threats of imperialist aggression, something that no one ignores.
As can be seen, the average was 4.2 million dollars annually, which was reduced to less than a million in 2002.
What does this amount really mean for a country that suffered the impact of three hurricanes between November of 2001 and October of 2002, resulting in 2.5 billion dollars in damages for our country, combined with the devastating effect on our revenues of the drop in tourism after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the drop in sugar and nickel prices due to the international economic crisis, and the considerable rise in oil prices owing to various factors? What does it mean in comparison with the 72 billion dollars in losses and damages resulting from the economic blockade imposed by the U.S. government for more than four decades, and with regards to which, as a result of the extraterritorial and brutal Helms-Burton Act, which threatened the economic interests of the European Union itself, the latter reached a shameful “understanding” where it pledged not to support its businesspeople in their dealings with Cuba, in exchange for vague promises that the Act would not be applied to its investments in the United States?
Through its sugar subsidies, the countries of the European Union have caused billions of dollars in losses for the Cuban economy throughout the entire duration of the U.S. blockade.
Cuba’s payments to the countries of the European Union for goods imported over the last five years totaled some 7.5 billion dollars, or an approximate average of 1.5 billion dollars annually. On the other hand, over the last five years, these countries only purchased an average of 571 million dollars worth of imports from Cuba annually. Who is actually helping whom?
Moreover, this much touted humanitarian aid usually comes with bureaucratic delays and unacceptable conditions, such as creating funds of an equal value in national currency, at the exchange rate of our currency exchange bureaus, to provide funding in national currency for other projects where decisions were to be adopted with the participation of third parties.
This means that if the European Commission were to hand over a million dollars, they want the Cuban side to put up 27 million Cuban pesos in exchange, to fund other projects in national currency for the same amount, and the execution of the projects would involve the participation of European non-governmental organizations in all decision-making processes. This absurd condition, which was never accepted, practically paralyzed the flow of aid for a number of projects for three years, and subsequently limited it considerably.
Between October 2000 and December 2002, the European Commission officially approved four projects for an approximate total amount of 10.6 million US dollars (almost all of it for technical assistance in administrative, legal and economic matters) and only 1.9 million dollars for food security. None of this has been executed, due to the delays caused by the bureaucratic mechanisms of this institution. Nevertheless, in all European Union reports, these amounts appear as “approved for Cuba”, although the truth remains that until now not a penny of this funding has reached our country.
It should be remembered that additionally, in all of their reports on aid to Cuba, the European Commission and member countries include so-called indirect costs, such as airfares on their own airlines, accommodation, travel expenses, salaries and First World-standard luxuries. The portion of the supposed aid money that actually directly benefits the projects is whittled away through these expenditures, which do not help the country in any way, but are nonetheless calculated as part of their “generosity” for public relations purposes.
It is truly outrageous to attempt to pressure and intimidate Cuba with these measures.
Cuba, a small country, besieged and blockaded, has not only been able to survive, but also to help many countries of the Third World, exploited throughout centuries by the European colonial powers.
In the course of 40 years, over 40,000 youths from more than 100 Third World countries, including 30,000 from Africa, have graduated in Cuba as university-educated professionals and qualified technical workers, at no cost to them whatsoever, and our country has not attempted to steal a single one of them, as the countries of the European Union do with many of the brightest minds. Throughout this time, on the other hand, over 52,000 Cuban doctors and health care workers, who have saved millions of lives, have provided their services voluntarily and free of charge in 93 countries.
Even though the country has still not completely left behind the special period, last year, 2002, there were already more than 16,000 youths from throughout the Third World undertaking higher studies in our country, free of charge, including over 8,000 being trained as doctors. If we were to calculate what they would have to pay for this education in the United States and Europe, the result would be the equivalent of a donation of more than 450 million dollars every year. If you include the 3,700 doctors providing their services abroad in the most far-flung and inhospitable locales, you would have to add almost 200 million US dollars more, based on the annual salary paid to doctors by the WHO. All in all approximately 700 million dollars.
These things that our country can do, not on the basis of its financial resources, but rather the extraordinary human capital created by the Revolution, should serve as an example to the European Union, and make it feel ashamed of the measly and ineffective aid it offers these countries.
While Cuban soldiers were shedding their blood fighting the forces of apartheid, the countries of the European Union exchanged billions of dollars worth of trade every year with the South African racists, and through their investments, reaped the benefits of the cheap, semi-slave labor of the South African natives.
This past July 21, less than a week ago, the European Union, in a much-trumpeted meeting to review its shameful common position on Cuba, ratified the infamous measures adopted against Cuba on June 5 and declared that political dialogue should continue ‘in order to more efficiently pursue the goals of the common position’.
The government of Cuba, out of a basic sense of dignity, relinquishes any aid or remnant of humanitarian aid that may be offered by the European Commission and the governments of the European Union. Our country would only accept this kind of aid, no matter how modest, from regional or local autonomous governments, non-governmental organizations, and solidarity movements, which do not impose political conditions on Cuba.
The European Union is fooling itself when it states that political dialogue should continue. The sovereignty and dignity of this people are not open to discussion with anyone, much less with a group of former colonial powers historically responsible for the slave trade, the plunder and even extermination of entire peoples, and the underdevelopment and poverty suffered today by billions of human beings whom they continue to plunder through unequal trade, the exploitation and exhaustion of their natural resources, an unpayable foreign debt, the brain drain, and other means.
The European Union lacks the necessary freedom to take part in a fully independent dialogue. Its commitments to NATO and the United States, and its conduct in Geneva, where it acts in league with those who want to destroy Cuba, render it incapable of engaging in a constructive exchange. Countries from the former socialist community will soon join the European Union, albeit the opportunistic leaders who govern them, more loyal to the interests of the United States than to those of Europe, will serve as Trojan horses of the superpower within the EU. These are full of hatred towards Cuba, which they left on its own and cannot forgive for having endured and proven that socialism is capable of achieving a society a thousand times more just and humane that the rotten system they have adopted.
When the European Union was created, we applauded it, because it was the only intelligent and useful thing they could do to counterbalance the hegemony of their powerful military ally and economic competitor. We also applauded the euro as something beneficial for the worldwide economy in the face of the suffocating and almost absolute power of the U.S. dollar.
But now, when the European Union adopts this arrogant and calculated attitude, in hope of reconciliation with the masters of the world, it insults Cuba, then, it does not deserve the slightest consideration and respect from our people.
Any dialogue should take place in public, in international forums, and should address the grave problems threatening the world.
We shall not attempt to discuss the principles of the European Union or Disunion. In Cuba they will find a country that neither obeys masters, nor accepts threats, nor begs for charity, nor lacks the courage to speak out the truth.
They need someone to tell them a few truths, because there are many who flatter them out of self-interest, or are simply spellbound by the splendor of Europe’s past glories. Why do they not criticize or help Spain to improve the disastrous state of its educational system, which brings shame to Europe with its banana republic levels? Why do they not come to the aid of the United Kingdom, to prevent drugs from wiping out this proud nation? Why do they not analyze and help themselves, when they so obviously need it?
The European Union would do well to speak less and do more for the genuine human rights of the immense majority of the peoples of the world; to act with intelligence and dignity in the face of those who do not want to leave it with even the crumbs of the resources of the planet they aspire to conquer; to defend its cultural identity against the invasion and penetration of the powerful transnationals of the U.S. entertainment industry; to take care of its unemployed, who number in the tens of millions; to educate its functionally illiterate; to give humane treatment to immigrants; to guarantee true social security and medical care for all of its citizens, as Cuba does; to moderate its consumerist and wasteful habits; to guarantee that all of its members contribute 1% of their GDP, as some already do, to support development in the Third World or at least alleviate, without bureaucracy or demagoguery, the terrible situation of poverty, poor health and illiteracy; to compensate Africa and other regions for the damage wreaked throughout centuries by slavery and colonialism; to grant independence to the colonial enclaves still maintained in this hemisphere, from the Caribbean to the Falkland Islands, without denying them the economic aid they deserve for the historical damage and colonial exploitation they have suffered.
To a list that would be endless, I could add:
To undertake a genuine policy supporting human rights with actual deeds and not just hollow words; to investigate what really happened with the Basques murdered by GAL and demand that responsibility be taken; to tell the world how scientist Dr. David Kelly was brutally murdered, or how he was led to commit suicide; to respond at some point to the questions I posed to them in Rio de Janeiro regarding the new strategic conception of NATO as it relates to the countries of Latin America; to firmly and resolutely oppose the doctrine of preemptive strikes against any country in the world, proclaimed by the most formidable military power in all of history, for you know where the consequences for humanity will lead.
To slander and impose sanctions on Cuba, is not only unfair and cowardly but ridiculous. Thanks to the great and selfless human capital it has created, which they lack, Cuba does not need the aid of the European Union to survive, develop and achieve what they will never achieve.
The European Union should temper its arrogance an prepotency.
For decades, our people have confronted powers much greater than those possessed by the European Union; new forces are emerging everywhere, with tremendous vigor. The peoples are tired of guardians, interference and plunder, imposed through mechanisms that benefit the most developed and wealthy at the cost of the growing poverty and ruin of others. Some of these peoples are already advancing with unrestrainable force, and others will join them. Among them there are giants awakening. The future belongs to these peoples.
In the name of 50 years of resistance and relentless struggle in the face of a force many times greater than theirs, and of the social and human achievements attained by Cuba without any help whatsoever from the countries of the European Union, I invite them to reflect calmly on their errors, and to avoid being carried away by outbursts of anger or Euronarcissistic inebriation.
Neither Europe nor the United States will have the last word on the future of Humanity!
I could repeat here something similar to what I said in the spurious court where I was tried and sentenced for the struggle we initiated five decades ago today, but this time it will not be me who says it; it will be declared and foretold by a people that has carried out a profound, transcendental and historic Revolution, and has succeeded in defending it:
Condemn me. It does not matter. The peoples will have the last word!
Eternal glory to those who have fallen during 50 years of struggle!
Eternal glory to the people that turned its dreams into a reality!
Venceremos!
Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Aleida Guevara: “The Cuban Revolution will endure because of social consciousness”

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/aleida-guevara-cuban-revolution-will.html

Major abstracts of an interview by Aleida Guevara, daughter of the heroic Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara, during her recent visit in Cyprus. The interview was published in the portal Dialogos / Translation in english: In Defense of Communism:

We talked about great personalities like Fidel, Che, Raul, Camilo. Their personalities frequently overshadow the Revolution of the Cuban people and the resistance which lasts for so many years. Something that imperialism feeds with illusions is (the perception) that the biological death of Fidel and Revolution’s leaders will result to her collapse. How do you comment? 
“It is exactly what they did for the people of Cuba that makes them so great revolutionaries. It is that they formated social consciousness also through their own personal example. For example my father set some basic points of reference of the Revolution. One thing he taught us is when we do not understand something, we have the tast to demand an explanation. Not to be afraid of saying what we think. Always with respect and earning the right to be heard. This is very important. Our young people have this educational method. We have full consciousness of the power we have as people. Because it is something more internal, many people do not know that is like that in Cuba.
It is difficult to understand the level of Cuban people’s consciousness. […] There is a large popular critique and our people have a big powers. They hear us. This is the important. The Revolution will endure after the biological absence of great people who led our people. We endured and resisted for many years, being so close to the largest imperialist center.
 
This didn’t happen due to a handful of revolutionaries. It happened because of the developed social consciousness of our people. The people decided and knows what they want. I wouldn’t like to be in the position of the one who will lead the people after the historic leadership of the Revolution, because of the obvious comparison with Fidel. It will be difficult, but the important is the will power of the people and the dedication by the CP of Cuba (PCC).”
Regarding the changes in Cuba’s socialist system, Aleida Guevara said:
 
“There has been much criticism. The PCC prepared a series of issues. These issues were analysed by the people in every workplace, in schools, universities, everywhere. The people expressed their view. The National Assembly of People’s Power recently adopted the final document with over 1,800 modifications made by the Cuban people. The changes in the first text were made through the popular participatory democracy and that is what the Parliament verified. We are very critical as a people. We have the political education to do something like that. Therefore, what will happen is a decision taken by the people.”
In the question about the U.S policy towards Cuba and how she evaluates Trump’s announcements on Cuba, Dr. Guevara mentioned the following:
 
“Obama “varnished” a bit the aggressiveness of the USA, but the worst sanctions of Washington against our people were set during Obama’s period. He was simply a clever politician and presented himself as someone who wanted “changes”. In tactics, not in strategy. Obama’s aim remained the overthrow of the Revolution. The same policy continues and Trump is simply rougher. He proved that when he made the statements alongside the US-funded anti-Cuban mafia of Miami. Alongside terrorists and murderers. And on that point I must say that not all Cubans living in the USA are enemies of our people, like the members of this reactionary and terrorist mafia. The aim of the USA were always the same against our people. Trump simply returned to the face of the previous US Presidents. We aren’t worried. Everyone knows that our people kneels only to pay tribute to the heroes of independence and Revolution. Our struggle continues. They gave us more strength. Maybe it is even better, because many were “drifted” with Obama. They thought that there was a change. They wrongfully thought that the blockade was ended. Exactly the opposite took place. Obama was probably the worst clamp upon Cuban economy. Our people and all the people must remember what Che was saying about imperialism: You can’t trust him at all.”
 
 
Aleida also talked about Che’s admiration for the Soviet people, his affection for reading and studying. Among other things she said:
 
“My father was always a critical person. He was applying the same with the Soviet Union, but with much respect towards the Soviet people who he admired and respected also for his role in the international level”.
 
“In order to exercise critique you have to study a lot. My father was very well-read. He studied and talked with Mao Zedong himself and he could discuss in a documented way with him. That was an advantage of Che. He wasn’t criticizing without reason. If we was criticizing something, that was because he had searched and found answers. That’s why his critique was constructive and he was treated with respect”.
 
Dr. Aleida Guevara mentioned her participation in medical brigades, where she offered her skills and knowledge, like for example in Angola. This experience, she said, strengthened her anti-racist views: “I am a pediatrician and I saw children dying, while I could save them if I had enough medicines. This is unjust. If a child is black or lives in this planet’s south, does it mean it must be condemned to death? There isn’t any right in this situation. That is why I react in everything racist and colonial and I will fight against these until my last breath”.
“Cuba remains a symbol of Socialism. She proves that with her internationalist solidarity. What makes Cuba special? Socialism and our values. The fact that human is above everything. For example, when the Ebola virus broke out in Africa, the WHO (World Health Organisation) did not call a developed capitalist country. It didn’t call the USA or the EU. It called Cuba. And the Cuban doctors stopped this epidemic which would be dangerous for the whole world. Socialist Cuba taught us to be ready to sacrifice ourselves in order to save lifes and help humanity. And the example of Cuba is very significant, because it shows that if we- a poor people- can be against american imperialism, then every people can do it.”
 
KKE MEP Kostas Papadakis blasts EU’s resolution on Cuba as “unacceptable”

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

KKE MEP Kostas Papadakis blasts EU’s resolution on Cuba as “unacceptable”

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/07/kke-mep-kostas-papadakis-blasts-eus.html
In his intervention regarding the “EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement” at the European Parliament’s plenary in Strasbourg, the MEP of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Kostas Papadakis pointed out the following:
“The unacceptable resolution which the EU and the European Parliament promote consists an organised plan of EU monopolies’ penetration, formation of reactionary mechanisms and NGOs in Cuba. Both the US embargo, as well as the EU interventions are against the Cuban people.
The EU and her governments of imperialist wars and interventions, of the officially 20 million unemployed people, of the tens of millions who live under the poverty limits, wag the lecturing figure about human rights to the Cuban people who for decades erased unemployment, who expressed the need for the abolition of the exploitation of man by man. In a country which, despite sanctions, had achievements which were intangible for the capitalist countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
We condemn the years-long blockade by American imperialism and the interventions of the EU against Cuba. We stand decisively by the side of the Cuban people and express our solidarity to the Cuban revolution”.
Info: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
Foro de Sao Paulo rechaza maniobras de Donald Trump contra Cuba
| June 25, 2017 | 9:27 am | Cuba, Donald Trump | No comments

The KKE slams Trump’s announcements, stands in solidarity with the Cuban people

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The KKE slams Trump’s announcements, stands in solidarity with the Cuban people

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-kke-slams-trumps-announcements.html
In a statement regarding the declarations of Donald Trump about the U.S. policy towards Cuba, the International Relations Section of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) points out:
“The KKE condemns the recent announcements of the President of the USA regarding the policy towards Cuba, his intention to continue and strengthen the policy of intervention in Cuba’s internal affairs and to maintain the criminal blockade by the USA despite international outcry.
The KKE consistently supports the Cuban Revolution, stands decisively by the side of the Cuban people and expresses its internationalist solidarity, opposes the invasive policy of the USA and the EU, demands the lift of the US blockade”.
Source: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.