Tag Archives: Cuba

US, Cuba seek to normalize relations

US, Cuba seek to normalize relations after Alan Gross released

By FoxNews.com

The Obama administration is moving to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, sources told Fox News, after American Alan Gross was released from the communist country Wednesday following five years in prison.

Sources say President Obama plans to announce the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana and call on Congress to lift the long-standing embargo.

A senior Capitol Hill source said Obama also plans to take several executive actions, including expanding travel opportunities to the island, expanding agricultural products that can be sold, and raising the limit on remittances from $500 to $2,000.

Together, the announcements would mark the most significant shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island in decades. Obama was to announce the policy changes from the White House at noon Wednesday. Cuban leader Raul Castro was expected to speak at the same time.

Read more » Fox News
Learn more » http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/17/american-alan-gross-released-from-cuban-prison-official-says/?cmpid=cmty_twitter_fn

Putin Writes Off $32 Billion of Cuba’s Debts to Russia

 

By Polly Mosendz | The Atlantic Wire

Russian President Vladimir Putin is currently on a grand tour of Latin America. His first stop is in Havana, Cuba. Ahead of arriving in Cuba, Putin decided to bestow a gift upon the Cuban government. With one swift signature, he eliminated $32 billion of Cuba’s debt, left over from the Soviet era.

Read more » Yahoo News
https://ca.news.yahoo.com/putin-writes-off-32-billion-cubas-debts-russia-150048853.html

Russia to cancel Cuba’s $29 billion of Soviet debt

Russia is going to write off 90 percent of Cuba’s $32 billion Soviet-era debt as part of a deal to end a 20-year dispute, according to diplomatic sources cited by Reuters.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev agreed to write off the island’s debt during a visit to Havana in February 2013, stressing details would be finalized by the end of the year.

In October, the two sides signed a refinancing agreement that requires Cuba to settle Moscow $3.2 billion over ten years, and Russia would forgive the remaining $29 billion, which is $20 billion in debt plus service and interest, according to Reuters. Between $5-6 billion of Cuba’s remaining foreign debt is non-Soviet.

Read more » rt.com
http://rt.com/business/russia-cuba-debt-ussr-980/

Why Nelson Mandela Loved Fidel Castro

The Huffington Post  |  By

Americans generally view Nelson Mandela as a hero and Fidel Castro as a villain. Mandela saw things differently.

The South African leader’s nationalist and anti-imperialist stances collided head on with the world’s superpower and gave him a lot in common with its Cuban archenemy. Mandela embraced the former Cuban dictator because he opposed apartheid and represented the aspirations of Third World nationalists that the United States undermined across the globe during the Cold War.

As it did for many leftists in the Global South, the Cuban Revolution’s triumph in 1959 inspired Mandela. Charged with the task of starting a guerrilla army in 1961, he looked to the writings of Cuban Communists for guidance.

“Any and every source was of interest to me,” Mandela wrote in his 2008 autobiography. “I read the report of Blas Roca, the general secretary of the Community Party of Cuba, about their years as an illegal organization during the Batista regime. In Commando, by Deneys Reitz, I read of the unconventional guerrilla tactics of the Boer generals during the Anglo-Boer War. I read works by and about Che Guevara, Mao Tse-tung, Fidel Castro.”

Mandela’s admiration for the Cuban Revolution only grew with time. Cuba under Castro opposed apartheid and supported the African National Congress — Mandela’s political organization and the current ruling party. Mandela credited Cuba’s military support to Angola in the 1970s and 1980s with helping to debilitate South Africa’s government enough to result in the legalization of the ANC in 1990.

The U.S. government, on the other hand, reportedly played a role in Mandela’s 1962 arrest and subsequently branded him a terrorist — a designation they only rescinded in 2008. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan vetoed the Anti-Apartheid Act.

Given this history, it shouldn’t be surprising that Mandela remained sharply critical of the United States into his later life. When the George W. Bush administration announced plans to invade Iraq in 2003, Mandela said: “If there’s a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.

Read more » Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/06/nelson-mandela-castro_n_4400212.html?ir=World

CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

The Québec Student Strike – Why we support it and why we condemn Bill 78

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) believes the right to an education is one all citizens of the world must have access to. Moreover, that access should be without financial cost. Only by having an educated population can a country truly be free.

Continue reading CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

Cuba – A Regime’s Tight Grip on AIDS

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

HAVANA — Yudelsy García O’Connor, the first baby known to have been born with H.I.V. in Cuba, is not merely still alive. She is vibrant, funny and, at age 25, recently divorced but hoping to remarry and have children.

Her father died of AIDS when she was 10, her mother when she was 23. She was near death herself in her youth.

“I’m not afraid of death,” she said. “I know it could knock on my door. It comes for everyone. But I take my medicine.”

Ms. García is alive thanks partly to lucky genes, and partly to the intensity with which Cuba has attacked its AIDS epidemic. Whatever debate may linger about the government’s harsh early tactics — until 1993, everyone who tested positive for H.I.V. was forced into quarantine — there is no question that they succeeded.

Cuba now has one of the world’s smallest epidemics, a mere 14,038 cases. Its infection rate is 0.1 percent, on par with Finland, Singapore and Kazakhstan. That is one-sixth the rate of the United States, one-twentieth of nearby Haiti.

Continue reading Cuba – A Regime’s Tight Grip on AIDS

We are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and inferiority

Let’s stop blaming America

By DR. KHALID ALNOWAISER, ARAB NEWS

I AM a proud and loyal Saudi citizen, but I am tired of hearing constant criticism from most Arabs of everything the United States does in its relations with other countries and how it responds to global crises. No nation is perfect, and certainly America has made its share of mistakes such as Vietnam, Cuba and Iraq. I am fully aware of what happened when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the unprecedented abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. However, what would we do if America simply disappeared from the face of the earth such as what happened to the Soviet Union and ancient superpowers like the Roman and Greek empires? These concerns keep me up day and night. It’s frustrating to hear this constant drumbeat of blame directed toward the United States for everything that is going wrong in the world. Who else do we think of to blame for our problems and failures? Do we take personal responsibility for the great issues that affect the security and prosperity of Arab countries? No, we look to America for leadership and then sit back and blame it when we don’t approve of the actions and solutions it proposes or takes.

For instance, if a dictator seizes and holds power such as Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Qaddafi, fingers are pointed only at America for supporting these repressive leaders. If the people overthrow a dictator, fingers are pointed at America for not having done enough to support the protestors. If a nation fails to provide its people with minimum living standards, fingers are pointed at America. If a child dies in an African jungle, America is criticized for not providing necessary aid. If someone somewhere sneezes, fingers are pointed at America. Many other examples exist, too numerous to mention.

I am not pro-American nor am I anti-Arab, but I am worried that unless we wake up, the Arab world will never break out of this vicious and unproductive cycle of blaming America. We must face the truth: Sadly, we are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and cultural inferiority. We have laid the blame on America for all our mistakes, for every failure, for every harm or damage we cause to ourselves. The US has become our scapegoat upon whom our aggression and failures can be placed. We accuse America of interfering in all our affairs and deciding our fate, although we know very well that this is not the case as no superpower can impose its will upon us and control every aspect of our lives. We must acknowledge that every nation, no matter how powerful, has its limitations.

Moreover, we conveniently forget that America’s role is one of national self-interest, not to act as a Mother Teresa.

Continue reading We are still the prisoners of a culture of conspiracy and inferiority

CIA – ISI, impending divorce or trial separation?

Lovers tiff, impending divorce or trial separation?

by Omar Ali

Excerpt:

…… 2. The romantic Left delusion. This is the belief that Pakistan’s corrupt elite deserves to be overthrown by the lower classes and the Taliban are (an unfortunate but expected) instrument of this necessary revolution. Actually the first part of this delusion is not a delusion. The Pakistani elite is not just corrupt, they have been practically suicidal. Where other corrupt third world elites have mismanaged the state, provided poor governance, oppressed the poor and failed to evolve a stable political system, Pakistan’s elite (which in this case means the army high command and their supporters) have done something no other third world elite has managed. They have armed, trained and encouraged their own executioners in the course of a demented scheme of trying to wrest Kashmir from India while laying the foundation for a mini-empire in central Asia. But the second part of this delusion is the real delusion here. The Pakistani Taliban is not the Bolshevik party; in fact, they are not even the Iranian Mullahs. They were created by the army as an outgrowth of the American-sponsored Afghan jihad. Their leadership is derived from the Madrasahs and think tanks sponsored by Saudi money and inspired by Syed Qutb and the most virulent Wahhabi and Salafist clerics in the world. They were guided by the jihadist faction of GHQ, men inspired by Maudoodi and his children, not by Marx or even Ali Shariati. They have absolutely no workable social or economic plan. If they do overthrow the elite, what follows will be a nightmare of historic proportions. If the whole thing does not dissolve into anarchy, it will be stabilized by an army coup. After purging liberals and hanging Veena Malik, the dictatorship of the mullahtariat will degenerate into an Islamic version of Myanmar, not revolutionary Iran or Castro’s Cuba.

Cia So, coming back to our original topic: does the Raymond Davis affair reflect a lover’s spat or an impending divorce? My guess is that its not a divorce. The US has few options and neither does Pakistan. We are probably in for more of the same, but with a chance that one of these days the ISI will find itself the victim of too much success and will not be able to pull back from the brink of divorce. Meanwhile, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. So I expect the state department to pass out more money to GHQ, I expect the CIA to fund some new insane lunatic fringe to counter their last lunatic fringe, I expect the Pentagon to ask for more money for weapons and a good hard “shock and awe campaign”, I expect professors in San Francisco to blame colonialism, and I expect Islamists to blow themselves up with even greater devotion. May Allah protect us from anything worse.

To read full article : 3QuarksDaily

Some interesting anecdotes from Mr. Suleyman Schwartz

From San Francisco to Sarajevo – by Michael J. Totten

Stephen Schwartz was raised a communist in the San Francisco Bay Area and once worked for the Cubans. Then he became a Republican and converted to Islam in the Balkans. When he’s not busy with his duties as the director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, he writes books and articles for magazines like The Weekly Standard.

His analysis of the Middle East and the Muslim world generally is more fresh and interesting than that of most. He is the first Westerner to use the word “Islamofascism” to describe the “use of the faith of Islam as a cover for totalitarian ideology,” and he did so not as an “Islamophobe” but as a Muslim believer. Those who yearn to hear from moderate Muslims, and those who have somehow convinced themselves that the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood are the moderates, really need to hear what he has to say.

MJT: So, what are your thoughts on Egypt?

Stephen Schwartz: Well, during the first two weeks most of the usual chatterers had no chattering to do. Everybody was stunned. Nobody had an answer. A lot of what should have been said was considered politically incorrect. Nobody for the first two weeks wanted to say there weren’t just two alternatives in Egypt, Mubarak or the Brotherhood. There were three alternatives—Mubarak, the Brotherhood, and the army which really rules Egypt.

Egypt has been controlled by the army since 1952. In certain kinds of countries the military takes over because it’s the only stable force. But in other countries the army is more ideological. Some of the armies in these latter countries develop a political ideology that I and a few other people have called the concept of the “army-party,” meaning the army acts as though it were a political party. It’s not simply a matter of a military dictatorship or a regime based on a militaristic or fascist party, and it’s not always necessarily an ideological phenomenon, but the army acts as a political party. It acts as a political force, and it acts as a political arbiter.

MJT: Like in Turkey, for instance.

Stephen Schwartz: Turkey is an example. There are lots of examples in Latin America. Argentina was an example. Algeria and Egypt are examples.

MJT: And Pakistan.

Stephen Schwartz: Yes, and Pakistan. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Egypt has an army-party.

MJT: It does.

Stephen Schwartz: So it’s not a question of Mubarak or the Brotherhood. The army will not, I think, permit the Brotherhood to take power, but the army will shuffle things in some ways. There may not be much of a change at all. When Mubarak said he wouldn’t run in the next election, well, the election is seven months away. How do we know there will be an election?

I’m for democracy throughout the world. I want bourgeois democracy everywhere. I’m an activist for it, but I’m also cautious about euphoria. I think a lot of people have been swept away by hope in the Egyptian case. They think this is the beginning of the great Arab transformation, but they don’t notice that there are few political alternatives in Egypt. There’s no labor-based party. There’s no bourgeois party. There are no parties representing particular social and economic interests.

The most important point, in my view, is that Iran and Saudi Arabia are two countries where democratization, or, at least, popular sovereignty, means leaving Islamist ideology behind. The problem with Egypt is that democratization, to a certain extent, represents a leap into the void. The Egyptians haven’t yet learned about Islamist ideology, through experience, what the Saudis and especially the Iranians have learned. We don’t want them to have to learn it.

MJT: But how are they going to learn it without learning it?

Stephen Schwartz: They can learn it by looking at the experiences of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan. They don’t have to suffer it in their flesh. People in the West rejected Communism without having to live under it, thank God.

The other problem is that the weight of corruption and despotism in Egypt is so heavy and has persisted for so long. I often compare Egypt with China in this sense.

Democracy in Iran could lead to social reform in Saudi Arabia and a stiffening of the resistance to radicalism in Pakistan. It could conceivably change the whole Muslim world.

MJT: The Arab world doesn’t look up to Iran or Pakistan.

Stephen Schwartz: No.

MJT: Arabs do look up to Egypt, though, and in different ways to Saudi Arabia.

Stephen Schwartz: If Iran becomes democratic, if the Iranians overthrow the clerical state as we should all hope and pray for every day, there will be a tremendous impact in Saudi Arabia.

MJT: You think?

Stephen Schwartz: Absolutely.

MJT: What kind of impact would you expect?

Stephen Schwartz: If Iranians overthrow the clerical state and put Islamist ideology behind them, they can move quickly along the path of democracy and stability. Iranians are very well educated, very sophisticated.

MJT: The Saudis don’t seem to be so educated and sophisticated about democracy. ….

Read more : http://pajamasmedia.com/michaeltotten/2011/02/14/from-san-francisco-to-sarajevo/

The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Cuba — How the workers and peasants made the revolution

Courtesy: Links International Journal

Chris Slee, author of Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution (Resistance Books, 2008), explains how the revolution was made and defended by Cuba’s working people.

July 26, 2009, marks the 56th anniversary of the guerrilla attack on the Moncada military barracks by revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro in 1953, viewed by Cubans as the start of the revolution. 2009 is also the 50th anniversary year of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Workers, peasants and students played an active role before, during and after the insurrection that destroyed the brutal and corrupt US-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in January 1959. Batista seized power in a coup in March 1952.

Continue reading The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution