Category: United Nations
US Withdraws From UNESCO – State Department
| October 12, 2017 | 8:28 pm | United Nations | No comments

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US Withdraws From UNESCO – State Department

A view shows the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, October 4, 2017

US Withdraws From UNESCO – State Department

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The United States has announced that it will withdraw from UNESCO at the end of 2018, citing a need for reform and an anti-Israel bias in the organization, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday.

“On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization … This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” Nauert said, adding that the decision would take effect on December 31, 2018.

​​UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) head Irina Bokova has said the organization had received an official notification from Washington that the United States will withdraw from the organization. She called Washington’s step a “loss to multilateralism.”

“I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO,” Bokova said in a statement, adding that the organization’s relations with the United States were based on shared values.

In her statement, Bokova said the US’ cooperation with UNESCO is highly important as the world is facing rising terrorism, antisemitism, and violations of freedom.

​The US has a long history of contradictions with UNESCO, an international body that is aimed at promoting a respect for the rule of law and human rights through cultural and scientific collaboration.

The United States pulled out of UNESCO in 1983 under President Ronald Reagan but rejoined the body in 2003 when President George W. Bush was in power.

Washington has also protested against UNESCO’s decision to grant full membership to Palestine, deciding to suspend regular payments to the organization in 2011.

Israel’s relations with the UN cultural body have been deteriorating over the recent months. Israel has reduced payments from the funds that the country annually transfers to the United Nations in response to a ruling in UNESCO, which labeled Israel an occupant country of East Jerusalem.Earlier in May, UNESCO’s executive committee passed a resolution on Israel, referring to the country in the document as “the occupying power,” slamming the nation’s activity in the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem. The paper was supported by 22 UN states, including Russia, China, and Sweden. The United States was among ten countries that voted against the document.

Israel has been long engaged in internationally condemned construction activities in East Jerusalem, a part of the city of Tel Aviv annexed from the West Bank territories as a result of 1967 Six-day war with Arab states. Israel has declared the whole city of Jerusalem as the capital of Jewish state.

True or False? Fact-Checking Five Key Points of Trump’s First UN Address
| September 19, 2017 | 8:17 pm | Donald Trump, United Nations | No comments

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 19, 2017

True or False? Fact-Checking Five Key Points of Trump’s First UN Address

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After referring to North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un as “rocket man” in front of the UN General Assembly, US Presidential Donald Trump made a slew of remarks with questionable accuracy.

Trump stepped up his aggressive rhetoric toward Tehran, berated Kim’s “suicide mission” in developing nuclear weapons, and spared zero effort touting what he claims are his own economic accomplishments. Were the claims true? Sputnik News has a quick review of key points where the president may not have been fully truthful in his comments before the UN.

1.       “We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife.”

US foreign policy since the 9/11 terror attacks has been nothing if not violent. US soldiers have occupied Iraq since 2003 after toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime. Since 2001, US airstrikes have peppered Yemen to reportedly eliminate al-Qaeda militants, but the UN itself calls the Saudi-led (and US-backed) coalition in Yemen the worst humanitarian crisis on earth. US forces are arriving in places like Somalia and Afghanistan in greater numbers as recently as the past month.

2.       “No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea. It is responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans. And for the imprisonment, torture, killing, and oppression of countless more.”

The US has engaged in a laborious effort to both cover up its torture program and to simply “torture for the sake of torture,” former CIA officer John Kiriakou has said. To silence potential leakers of the torture program, the CIA told its own contractors who it paid to design the torture program “a nuclear bomb was going to be exploded in the United States and that because I told them to stop, I had lost my nerve and it was going to be my fault if I didn’t continue.” On these grounds, the US lacks the moral authority to preach to other nations that torture is morally wrong.

3.       “We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles, and we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program. The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States.”

Trump has long sought to deny the basic reality that the Iran deal has worked. Since taking office, the White House has certified twice—not once, twice – that Tehran is compliant with the terms stipulated in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Nevertheless, Iran hawks in Washington loom large and Trump appears to have succumbed to their pressure.

4.       “Fortunately, the United States has done very well since election day last November 8. The stock market is at an all-time high, a record. Unemployment is at its lowest level in 16 years.”

Plummeting unemployment trends started during President Barack Obama’s tenure; it has merely continued since Trump was elected president.  Without any major legislative victories on campaign issues such as infrastructure and tax reform, there are actually no major policies Trump can point to as evidence he did something to drive unemployment lower. To his credit, though, the promise alone of lighter regulations has helped maintain the current bull market.

5.       “In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill.”

Daniel Kovalik, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in the US state of Pennsylvania, observed concisely that US sanctions against Moscow “are in fact … economic warfare against Russia.” Despite repeatedly saying he would seek to improve relations with Russia, Trump’s administration has allowed measures antagonistic to Moscow to become law. Sanctions targeting North Korea and Iran included a late provision that applied sanctions against Russia as well. Trump said the sanctions were “seriously flawed” but let them become the new norm anyway.

Kremlin Strikes Back at US Envoy to UN Warmongering Remarks After DPRK Nuke Test
| September 4, 2017 | 8:26 pm | China, DPRK, Russia, United Nations | No comments
Moscow Kremlin

Kremlin Strikes Back at US Envoy to UN Warmongering Remarks After DPRK Nuke Test

© Sputnik/ Alexey Druzginin/Anton Denisov/Russian Presidential Press Office
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The Kremlin commented on US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s controversial remarks following the North Korean nuclear test, stating that Kim Jong Un “is begging for war.”

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday called on the states neighboring North Korea, as well as other parties involved to be wiser and pursue a balanced approach to the Korea crisis.

“In this context, it is easy for the extra-regional countries to use the word ‘war,’ but those countries in the same region with North Korea and in the same region with the Korean Peninsula, have to be much wiser and balanced in their approaches to this very serious problem which causes our common concern,” Peskov told reporters, commenting on Haley’s controversial remarks.

Peskov pointed out that a statement on the North Korean issue by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya was much more constructive. The Russian diplomat strongly condemned Pyongyang’s nuclear test, however, emphasized that no military solution to the North Korean crisis is acceptable.

“Nebenzya noted that in the current situation, we are calling on everyone to be calm because the settlement of the Korean issue is only possible through the diplomatic and political means,” the Kremlin spokesman said.Earlier in the day, Haley said that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un was “begging for war” by continuing defiance of UN resolutions on the country’s nuclear and missile programs. Haley also slammed the so-called “double freeze plan” for resolving the nuclear and missile crisis on the Korean Peninsula, advocated by China and Russia, calling it “insulting”.

As tensions on the Korean Peninsula have further escalated this summer, Russia and China proposed the “double freeze” plan to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula, urging North Korea to stop nuclear tests, while calling on the US and South Korea to refrain from joint drills. The US has already rejected the peace plan.

Following the North Korean nuclear test on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to “react in a relevant manner” to the move.

Socialism makes the difference as Cuba confronts climate change

By W. T. Whitney Jr.

  1. B. Fidel Castro’s speech at the Rio Earth Summit June 12, 1992 appears below

Cuba’s Council on Ministers on April 25 approved “Life Task (“Tarea Vida”): the State’s Plan for Confronting Climate Change.” Life task will be submitted to Cuba’s National Assembly for approval. Implementation will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA). The ministry’s head, Elba Rosa Pérez, indicated the Plan will require “progressive investments executed over short (the year 2020), medium (2030), long (2050), and very long (2100) terms.”

The unveiling of Life Task comes as the latest manifestation of Cuba’s sustained endeavor to contain the impact of climate change. Over the course of many years the Cuban government has dedicated resources and talent to the project. Policy makers have relied on facts, data, and ongoing research. The process has been orderly and thorough, and yet accepting of modifications to fit new realities. Crucially, the nation has responded to climate change on behalf of all Cubans.

Climate change, of course, affects the United States, in particular Virginia’s Tangier Island, now being engulfed by Chesapeake Bay waters. “[A]t some point it will be too late to save Tangier,” announced Virginia official John Bull on June 2. That was one day after President Donald Trump indicated the United States would be withdrawing from the non-binding Paris Climate Change agreement of 2015.

Cuba’s approach is different. In June 1992, Cuban President Fidel Castro was in Rio de Janeiro attending the United Nations Conference on Environment and Developmentthe “Rio Earth Summit.” There, nations of the world arranged for future UN – sponsored meetings at which scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would be reviewed. Those recurring meetings, each a so-called “Conference of the Parties,” have led to agreements for reducing carbon emissions, such as the Paris agreement of 2015.

Castro could well have stayed home in 1992; Cubans were facing catastrophe, both humanitarian and economic, following the Soviet collapse. He was in Brazil because revolutionary Cuba speaks for solidarity with all people. In remarks to the delegates, he gave voice to Jose Marti who said: “the homeland is humanity.” Castro warned of danger to humankind “due to the accelerated and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions.”

Afterwards, the government he led took steps on behalf of its own people. It created the Institute of Meteorology, the Institute of Hydraulic Resources, and networks of environmental agencies. It produced maps: a “Climate Atlas,” a national atlas, and soil and geological maps. In 1993 it created “The National Program for the Environment and Development.” The Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment took shape in 1994. In 1997, Law 81 defined the structure and functioning of centers specializing in environmental work.

Cuba’s Academy of Sciences initiated studies in 1991. The Institute of Meteorology issued two major reports in 1998 and in 2000. After Hurricanes Charley and Ivan in 2004, research efforts intensified. Collective scientific work culminated in a summarizing report released by the Institute of Meteorology in 2014 after three years of work. Titled “Impacts of Climate Change and Measures for Adaptation in Cuba,” the 430-page document contained articles by dozens of authors from 26 Cuban research institutes.

The report surveys climate – change manifestations in Cuba, presents likely climate scenarios “for 2050 and 2100,” evaluates potential effects on various socio-economic sectors, identifies knowledge gaps, and establishes priorities in protecting natural resources. It calls upon the government to develop new capacities and to apply remedial and protective measures in an integrated fashion.

 

Findings of the report found their way into Cuba’s contribution to the “Second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” Commenting on the report, Myrta Kaulard, a United Nations representative assigned to Cuba, observed that, “The team of Cuban experts was capable of achieving equilibrium between the scientific rigor imposed by an investigation of such magnitude and the necessity to explain the anticipated impacts in clear language.”

 

CITMA head Elba Rosa Pérez on April 25 explained that the “Life Task” endeavor was the fruit of research, experimentation, agricultural innovations, and previous experience with protecting natural systems. She identified three priorities: “preserving lives in the most vulnerable areas,” food security, and tourism.

 

The plan calls for “strategic actions,” among them: a ban on new home construction in vulnerable coastal areas, adaptation of infrastructure to coastal flooding, adjustment of land use to drought and salt water contamination, and new farming methods.

 

Projects under Life Task will include : crop diversification; development of heat-resistant plant varieties; protection of urban infrastructure and dwellings; rebuilding of urban sea fronts; relocation of homes; restoration of protective eco-systems such as beaches, coral reefs, and mangrove swamps; improved engineering and hydraulic infrastructure for coastal regions; enhanced water availability; and reforestation to protect soil and water sources.

All in all, Cuba’s preparations for meeting threats on the way from climate change have been persistent and comprehensive; planners relied on ample human resources and full government support.

In the United States, the Obama administration did issue executive orders in 2013 relating to carbon pollution, adverse climate – change effects, and U. S. international leadership. The Trump administration brushed them away. Despite popular mobilizations and despite former Vice President Al Gore’s educational efforts – after he left office – the U. S. approach to climate has no overarching strategy or plan, and includes no significant legislation. Discussion in the United States centers on placating special interests.

Fidel Castro’s remarks in 1992 in Brazil foreshadowed the tension that would come later between two opposed ways of dealing with climate change. People in wealthy nations, he said, enjoy “lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment; … consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction.”

Castro was referring to the flow of wealth from poor to rich nations. He suggested implicitly that that acquisitiveness and production hikes go together in those societies. Industrialized nations, he emphasized, “have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.” Today we realize that production expands in tandem with unlimited energy sources, until now fossil fuels. So carbon emissions increase, and global warming accentuates.

“Make human life more rational,” Castro insisted. “Adopt a just international economic order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without pollution. Pay the ecological debt. Eradicate hunger and not humanity.” He was saying, in effect, that privilege in the industrialized countries depends on subjugation of the world’s majority population to poverty and suffering.

The entire line of reasoning, from Castro in 1992 to what we know now, reveals the imperialist and exploitative underpinnings of the prevailing approach to climate change. The link between climate change and capitalist modes of living and producing is also readily apparent.

Socialist Cuba has long resisted big – power pretentions and long defended working people against capitalist exploitation. In responding to climate change, aggravated by capitalism, Cuba had the right tools at hand, those well – used ones that are essential for moving toward a socialist society. Cuba elaborated a plan, and did so collectively. Planners looked at realities, subjecting them to scientific study. Plans for which a socialist state is responsible serve the good of all. They don’t allow for accumulation or profiteering. These devices aren’t complicated.

Maybe, as suggested by Karl Marx, peoples imbued with socialist values are, on that account, respectful of nature. If so, perhaps they are uniquely qualified to defend against climate change. In his German Ideology, Marx wrote that, “The restricted attitude of men to nature determines their restricted relation to one another, and their restricted attitude to one another determines men’s restricted relation to nature.”

Cuban President Fidel Castro’s speech at the Rio Earth Summit on June 12, 1992

An important biological species — humankind — is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat. We are becoming aware of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. It must be said that consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction.

They were spawned by the former colonial metropolis. They are the offspring of imperial policies which, in turn, brought forth the backwardness and poverty that have become the scourge for the great majority of humankind.

With only 20% of the world’s population, they consume two-thirds of all metals and three-fourths of the energy produced worldwide. They have poisoned the seas and the rivers. They have polluted the air. They have weakened and perforated the ozone layer. They have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.

The forests are disappearing. The deserts are expanding. Billions of tons of fertile soil are washed every year into the sea. Numerous species are becoming extinct. Population pressures and poverty lead to desperate efforts to survive, even at the expense of nature. Third World countries, yesterday’s colonies and today nations exploited and plundered by an unjust international economic order, cannot be blamed for all this.

The solution cannot be to prevent the development of those who need it the most. Because today, everything that contributes to underdevelopment and poverty is a flagrant rape of the environment.

As a result, tens of millions of men, women and children die every year in the Third World, more than in each of the two world wars.

Unequal trade, protectionism and the foreign debt assault the ecological balance and promote the destruction of the environment. If we want to save humanity from this self-destruction, wealth and available technologies must be distributed better throughout the planet. Less luxury and less waste in a few countries would mean less poverty and hunger in much of the world.

Stop transferring to the Third World lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment. Make human life more rational. Adopt a just international economic order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without pollution. Pay the ecological debt. Eradicate hunger and not humanity.

Now that the supposed threat of communism has disappeared and there is no more pretext to wage cold wars or continue the arms race and military spending, what then is preventing these resources from going immediately to promote Third World development and fight the ecological destruction threatening the planet?

Enough of selfishness. Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/fidel-castro-earth-summit

 

 

United Nations Warns Americans’ Right to Protest Threatened Under Trump

Demonstrators arrive on the National Mall in Washington, DC, for the Women's march on January 21, 2017

United Nations Warns Americans’ Right to Protest Threatened Under Trump

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With so many Americans dissatisfied with the Trump White House, it’s a wonder the country doesn’t implode out of frustration. Now experts at the United Nations have warned that US citizens better get their protest on sooner than later, as that right, embedded by the US Constitution into the American psyche, may be in danger of being rescinded.

Since the election of US President Donald Trump, at least 19 states have introduced new laws that would curtail the rights of citizens to protest, gather peaceably, and express themselves freely without fear of arrest — or worse.

Pointing to an “alarming and undemocratic” shift, UN human rights investigators this week have noted the many new anti-protest bills seeking to criminalize gatherings, and stand in the way of a citizen’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, according to Common Dreams.

Two independent UN representatives, Maina Kiai, who studies the freedom of peaceable assembly, and David Kaye, who covers freedom of expression, have warned lawmakers in the US of a new legislative trend at the state level, documenting multiple instances of a new authoritarianism, viewed by many as strikingly un-American.

It would be difficult to improve on Common Dreams’ carefully-assembled list of new oppressive laws in the works in the US, so we will simply reproduce it here:

The Arizona State Senate in February voted to expand racketeering laws to allow police to arrest anyone involved in a protest and seize their assets, treating demonstrators like organized criminals.

Portland, Oregon, activists organizing against police killings of Black men, white nationalist politicians, and the countless systems of racism throughout our local, state, and federal governments are now considered “domestic terrorists” by Department of Homeland Security.

In January, North Dakota Republicans proposed legislation to legalize running over protesters if they are blocking roadways. (The legislation failed, for now.)

Missouri lawmakers want to make it illegal to wear a robe, mask or disguise (remarkably, a hoodie would count) to a protest.

In Minnesota, following the police shooting death of Philando Castile, protests caused part of a highway to shut down. Then, at the beginning of the state legislative session, Minnesota legislators drafted bills that would punish highway protesters with heavy fines and prison time and would make protesters liable for the policing costs of an entire protest if they individually were convicted of unlawful assembly or public nuisance.

Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests that are deemed “economic terrorism.”

Lawmakers in North Carolina want to make it a crime to heckle lawmakers.

In Indiana, conservatives want to allow police to use “any means necessary” to remove activists from a roadway.

Colorado lawmakers are considering a big increase in penalties for environmental protesters. Activists who tamper with oil or gas equipment could be, under the measure, face felony charges and be punished with up to 18 months behind bars and a fine of up to $100,000.

A bill before the Virginia state legislature would dramatically increase punishment for people who “unlawfully” assemble after “having been lawfully warned to disperse.” Those who do so could face a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

And those are only the moves that have been made public.

According to a statement from Kiai and Kaye, “The trend also threatens to jeopardize one of the United States’ constitutional pillars: free speech.” The UN independent experts have called for moves to stop and reverse the legislative trend.

“From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the environmental and Native American movements in opposition to the Dakota Access oil pipeline, and the Women’s Marches, individuals and organizations across society have mobilized in peaceful protests, as it is their right under international human rights law and US law,” they said, cited by Common Dreams.

Kiai and Kaye took a specific interest in the use of the terms “unlawful” and “violent,” as a means to describe protest methods in the US.

“There can be no such thing in law as a violent protest,” they asserted. “There are violent protesters, who should be dealt with individually and appropriately by law enforcement. One person’s decision to resort to violence does not strip other protesters of their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This right is not a collective right; it is held by each of us individually.”

“Peaceful assembly,” the UN representatives said, “is a fundamental right, not a privilege, and the government has no business imposing a general requirement that people get permission before exercising that right.”

The history of democracy in the United States, as well as the burgeoning civil rights movement, has been, in part, defined by the ability to freely assemble, and to speak freely about one’s convictions. Legislators must be mindful of their national history, suggested Kiai and Kaye.

“We call on the US authorities, at the federal and state level, to refrain from enacting legislation that would impinge on the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and opinion,” they said.

Concurrently, a large-scale nationwide protest is planned for May 1. “A Day Without Immigrants” will bring together millions who are alarmed at the recent upswing in arrests and detentions under the Trump administration of those not born in the US. The protest will also be an opportunity to combine the many ongoing human-rights struggles within the nation, building strength in numbers across the plurality and majority of American citizens who stand for the norms codified under the United States Constitution, according to reports.

Cyprus Issue: The developments require the intensification of peoples’ intervention

Monday, October 10, 2016

Cyprus Issue: The developments require the intensification of peoples’ intervention

 http://communismgr.blogspot.com/2016/10/cyprus-issue-developments-require.html
The developments require the intensification of peoples’ intervention.
By Giorgos Marinos* / Source: inter.kke.gr.
The Cyprus Issue, under its present form, was caused by the Turkish invasion and occupation in July and August (Attila II) of 1974 and remains unsolved for 42 years.
During this historical period, many means of negotiations were used, multifaceted UN interventions, joint statements and many meetings between representatives of the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities etc, but the problem still remains.
The Turkish insistence on the continuation of the occupation found supporters in powerful imperialist powers which, among other things, bare responsibility for the creation and perpetuation of the Cyprus Issue, such as the US, NATO, Britain and the EU in general.
In this context there are the responsibilities of the Cypriot and Greek governments, because with the policy they followed they contributed to the downgrading of the value of the people’s struggle, they cultivated  false hopes regarding the role of the US and the EU, they weakened the international character of the problem, while the alternative solution put forward was trapped in the logic of “bizonality” and “two states”, a solution which was formed under Turkish pressure.
Today, it seems that not only the experience of the rejection -by the Cypriot people in 2004- of the dichotomous “Annan Plan” is not used, but what is being cultivated is an unfounded euphoria regarding the promotion of a fair-sustainable solution, even within 2016, thus presenting the confederal solution, which is based on “two constituent states” as a solution to the benefit of the Cypriot people.
Thus, what is needed at this time is not restricted to concern about the US and EU machinations, the progress of the negotiations and the Turkish- Turkish Cypriot stance. But what is needed is the intensification of the peoples’ interventions that will express opposition to the confederal solution which is being promoted through the inter-communal negotiations and supported by imperialist circles. If this does not happen now, time will be lost and the consequences will be even more painful.
Having as a starting point the interests of the working class, of the popular strata, we can note that the euphoria that was cultivated before and strengthened after the election of the head of the Turkish-Cypriot community, Mr. Akinci, is inconsistent with the actual facts.
It is a misleading euphoria, it expresses the US and EU political decision to promote a (confederal) solution to the Cyprus Issue (at any cost) in order to promote their plans and aspirations in the region of South Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, to exploit the Cypriot energy resources in the direction of dealing with EU energy problem, for Cyprus to be used even  more by the EU and NATO in their competition with Russia within the context of the general inter-imperialist competition.
In this direction, powerful section of the Cypriot bourgeoisie and political forces which operate in the framework of capitalism have consented, in one way or another, to attempt to equate the workers’ interests with capitalist development and the interests of the monopolies that have already begun the exploitation of natural gas deposits.
The artificial euphoria is used to trap the people
The Greek and Cypriot workers should think better on certain aspects of the Turkish, Turkish Cypriot tactics and evaluate them in order to draw conclusions by answering the question whether a fair (as far as possible) solution can be attained through this way, with the people at the margins.
Firstly, the Turkish-Turkish Cypriot side has repeatedly tried to upgrade the role of the pseudo-state, the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (TRNC), promoting the version of the “two states” solution, as Mr. Erdogan did, for example, on September 2014, just before the NATO Summit in Wales. In the same direction, Mr. Akinci, a day after his election (26 April 2015) in the occupied territories of Cyprus, stated that “federal Cyprus should consist of two equal founding states”.
Secondly, the Turkish state methodically contests sovereign rights of Cyprus and Greece. Thus, on October 3, 2014, the Turkish authorities issued a “directive to seafarers” which intended  to bind a large territory of the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone for the carrying out of seismic surveys by the Turkish vessel “Barbaros”. Thus causing the reaction of the Cypriot government, which decided on the suspension of peace talks on the Cyprus Issue.
In the relevant discussion centered on the Turkish- Turkish Cypriot disputing of Cyprus’ sovereign rights, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that “everyone recognizes the fact that the people of the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ have rights to the natural gas and oil resources in the area”. While, Mr. Eide, special advisor of the UN Secretary-General, proposed the establishment of  a joint Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot committee for the management of hydrocarbons, legalizing in fact the status of the Turkish occupation, upgrading the role of the pseudo-state.
On December 31, 2014, Turkey issued two directives “to seafarers” through which it bound very large areas in the Aegean for the entire year of 2015.
While, on Christmas 2015- beginning of 2016, through new directives Turkey announced the binding of areas in northern, central and southern Aegean.
Thus, practically, it has been demonstrated that the aggressive attitude based on the line of Turkey’s geostrategic enhancement in the region that is  in competition with the choices and aims of the Greek and Cypriot bourgeoisies (axes Greece-Cyprus-Israel or Greece-Cyprus-Egypt etc.) isn’t fixed as is argued by  some forces, which look for “good intentions” in the actions of the Turkish side or assess that a solution can be found with the support of Mr. Akinci’s good intentions.
The Turkish bourgeoisie is seeking a solution to the Cyprus Issue that corresponds to its own interests, aiming, through the situation that is shaped by the strategy of the “two constituent states” and “bizonality”, to control the developments, to take control of the hydrocarbons, to influence the island’s foreign policy through the Turkish-Cypriot “state”.
The stance of the EU towards Turkey and the situation in Davos.
Two recent developments have special significance for the plans of the latest period and the formation of a favorable environment for the imposition of a confederal solution, like the “Annan Plan”, under the mantle of a federation.
One of them refers to the change of the EU policy towards Turkey, which is expressed in a multifaceted way and as regards very important issues such as:
1)      The support of the EU (alongside the US and NATO) for Turkey after the shooting down of the Russian fighter-plane.
2)      The encouragement of the Turkish demands in the Aegean, in the name of promoting the dangerous policy of securing the EU’s external borders and the control of the refugee flows at the core of the issue, in the borders, with consequences at the expense of Greece’s sovereign rights.
3)      The withdrawal of the objections expressed by France and Germany towards Turkey’s accession to the EU and the acceleration of these procedures, featuring the opening of 5 accession chapters related to energy, economic-monetary policy, the judiciary, the policy of justice-freedom-security, foreign security and defense policy, chapters which were “frozen” after a decision by the Cypriot government.
The other development has to do with the situation that was created at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, in order to strengthen- within the elite of the imperialist organizations and the big economic interests- the “two constituent states” solution, requesting financial support from states and businesses even before the final agreement and referendum!
Under the responsibility of the UE and Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon’s special advisor Mr. Eide, an attempt to upgrade Mr. Akinci took place, who in fact was presented not as the head of the Turkish Cypriot community, but as president of the pseudo-state, the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. And not only that. There was an organized attempt to identify the course of the negotiations with a “positive dynamic” for “Cyprus reunification”, due to the contribution of the USA and the so-called guarantor powers Britain-Turkey-Greece.
In this environment, the coercive practice of the Turkish- Turkish-Cypriot side becomes even more dangerous. This practice, through the words of Mr. Akinci (in Davos), projected the blackmailing assertion that this is “the last chance for reunification”, otherwise “other choices will be sought”.
The working people must decisively reject these threats, must not be trapped in the blackmails for a “solution” that will preserve the consequences of the Turkish invasion-occupation, because every unjust and unsustainable “solution” will be a bomb- in a region that is boiling- ready to explode with grave consequences for the people of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, for the people of the region.
In this period, the discussion regarding the security and the guarantees, the territory and property issue, has flared up.
These issues are actually used in a patchy fragmented way, in a direction that reduces the significance of the struggle against the Turkish occupation. It’s like maintaining the rotten trunk and attempting to cut some problematic branches in order to cure the tree.
That happens, for example, when you seek a solution for the Cyprus Issue without having dealt with the basic causes, when you encourage complacency amongst the Cypriot and Greek people that the resolution of the property issue is just a step away, with “restoration”, “exchange” or “compensation” of assets, seeking compromises even on who will have the first word: “the lawful owner” who was driven out by the occupation or the “current user”.
Can, the problem of the occupation of the 37% of the Cypriot territory be solved in this way or can this serious problem be solved by highlighting the position of the replacement of the outdated (since 1960) provision of the “guarantor powers” (Greece, Turkey, Britain) by the assignment of guarantor power jurisdiction, e.g. to the EU, the interstate imperialist union?
These do not constitute a basis for an actual solution that eliminates, cancels the Turkish occupation and deals with the painful consequences for Cyprus and the Cypriot people.
The stance of the SYRIZA-ANEL government tries to create impressions, due to the emergence of the abolition of the guarantor powers’ “institution” which has been already damaged through the painful historical process of competition, interventions, and the occupation of Cyprus. There are several references to this issue. But, what happens, e.g., with the fundamental positions regarding the withdrawal of the occupation army and settlers, the return of the territories violated by the occupation, the return of the refugees, the removal of the British military bases?
Disengagement from the EU, socialization of the wealth with the people in power.
The KKE, utilizing the experience gathered over the years, bases its positions on the following basic key axes:
–                    Demands the withdrawal of the occupying forces and the elimination of the consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion generally, the return of the refugees to their homes, the end of settlements and the withdrawal of settlers except for cases related to humanitarian reasons.
–                    The KKE considers that the effective direction of the struggle for the working class and the popular strata is the direction for a Cyprus where the master will be its people, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots, Armenians, Latins and Maronites.
–                    A unified, independent Cyprus, with one single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality, without foreign bases and troops, without foreign guarantors and protectors.
On the occasion of the publication of the Anastasiadis-Eroglu agreement (11/2/14), the KKE issued a statement which retains its timeliness and stresses that our Party will oppose solutions of – open or hidden- partition which in the past have been rejected by the Cypriot people themselves. It will support the struggle for a just solution of the Cyprus Issue, to the benefit of all the working people, Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots.
It will continue to promote the only realistic pro-people way out for Greece and Cyprus, which is the disengagement from the EU, the socialization of wealth, with people in power.
* Giorgos Marinos is member of the Political Bureau of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). The article was published in ‘Rizospastis’, 31/1/2016.
Overwhelming UN vote says US blockade of Cuba needs to end
| October 27, 2015 | 8:20 pm | Cuba, political struggle, United Nations | 1 Comment

 

https://www.rt.com/usa/319873-cuba-blocade-unga-vote/
A man walks on a sidewalk in Havana October 27, 2015. The sign on the wall reads, "Down with the Blockade", in reference to the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba © Enrique De La Osa
The UN General Assembly has voted 191-2 to condemn the US blockade of Cuba, with only the US and Israel opposed.

Washington voted against the resolution despite the recent renewal of diplomatic ties with Cuba and the push by President Barack Obama to lift the embargo first introduced a year before he was born.

The draft resolution urges all member states to “refrain from promulgating and applying laws and measures” that furthering the blockade, and those that have such laws to “repeal or invalidate them as soon as possible.” It specifically cites the 1996 Helms-Burton Act as one such law, which affects the sovereignty of other states and legitimate interests of their citizens, as well as the freedom of trade and navigation. Helms-Burton penalizes foreign companies for doing business with Cuba.
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (C) is greeted after speaking before a United Nations General Assembly vote addressing the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the U.S. against Cuba at the United Nations headquarters in New York, October 27, 2015 © Lucas Jackson

Of the 193 member states at the General Assembly, 191 voted in support of the resolution, titled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba.”

Washington imposed the blockade in 1960, after Cuban revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro overthrew the regime of Fulgencio Batista, a US-backed dictator. It has been in place for over 55 years.

“The time has come to put an end to this unilateral embargo,” said the Paraguayan representative, speaking on behalf of Mercosur, a free trade block of seven South American nations.

“The continuation of the embargo is unjustifiable, and counters Cuba’s effort to achieve sustainable development,” said the Iranian representative, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

President Obama announced in December 2014 that he would be changing the US policy on Cuba, arguing that the blockade had not produced the desired effect. In May 2015, the US removed Cuba from the list of countries accused of sponsoring terrorism. The Cuban embassy in Washington reopened in July, and the US embassy in Havana followed suit in August.