On Oct. 28, the U.N. General Assembly will once again debate the U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. For 22 years, the U.N. has condemned the blockade; last year, the vote reached a record high of 188 countries for the resolution, and only two—the U.S. and its loyal ally Israel—against. Quite likely this year’s vote will have the same result.
Significantly, The New York Times, the most influential newspaper in the country, has chosen this time to call for an end to what it calls the embargo. Supporters of Cuba use the more accurate term “blockade” because of the worldwide effects of U.S. policy. The Times also calls for dropping Cuba’s designation as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” a particularly ironic label coming from the U.S. with its history of sponsoring terrorism against Cuba and many other countries. Finally, the Times calls for establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Tariq Ali:Today we are going to discuss medicine and what is going on in Africa but not just there, in other parts of the world too, and how privatised medicine is now dominating the field except in a few oasis there are still left Cuba, Venezuela, etc. With me is Professor Allyson Pollock, one of the best known public health scientists and experts in her field anywhere. Ebola. What are its origins and how did it spread so quickly in these three African countries and is now causing panic elsewhere?
Files documenting plans for airstrikes and the sending of Marines are being posted online and published in a new book, “Back Channel to Cuba.”
Newly released files reveal that in 1976, Henry Kissinger, then U.S Secretary of State, planned to launch airstrikes against Havana, strike ports and military installations in Cuba and send Marine battalions to the U.S. Naval Base at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay.
The information, revealed by the New York Times, is contained in documents from the National Security Archives being posted online and published in “Back Channel to Cuba,” a new book written by William M. LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, and Peter Kornbluh, the director of the Archive’s Cuba Documentation Project.
Kornbluh explains that Kissinger, Secretary of State from 1973 to 1977, had considered improving relations with Cuba, but he was infuriated by Fidel Castro’s decision to send troops to Angola in 1975 to help the newly independent country defend itself against attacks from South Africa and right wing guerrilla forces.
According to one transcript, Kissinger stated to President Gerald Ford in a 1976 meeting in the Oval Office, “I think sooner or later we are going to have to crack the Cubans.”
“You can see in the conversation with Gerald Ford that he is extremely apoplectic,” Kornbluh said, adding that Kissinger used “language about doing harm to Cuba that is pretty quintessentially aggressive.”
The documents indicate that Kissinger wanted to propose an attack on Cuba after the 1976 presidential election, but Jimmy Carter won thereby foiling his plans, Mr. LeoGrande is reported to have said.
He added that Kissinger was so furious about Fidel Castro upsetting his plans for Africa that he was ready to “clobber the pipsqueak.”
Kissinger was prepared to use scores of aircraft against Cuban ports and warned that the United States could risk losing its base at Guantànamo.
His plans also called for a military blockade of Cuba even though, he warned, that such measures would probably lead to a conflict with the Soviet Union, a top ally of Cuba at the time.
“If we decide to use military power, it must succeed,” Mr. Kissinger said in one meeting. “There should be no halfway measures — we would get no award for using military power in moderation. If we decide on a blockade, it must be ruthless and rapid and efficient.”
A Cuban anthem opens up a world of new ideas and concepts
Take one song, three verses, 12 lines (not counting repetitions and chorus). Not only are you teaching Spanish vocabulary, grammar, syntax and pronunciation but you are also exploring history and geography, literary genre and the poetic function, social and political awareness, citizenship and morality, creative writing and translation. I give you Guantanamera.
The three most famous verses of Guantanamera, the definitive patriotic song of Cuba, are surprisingly distinct in tone. The first is autobiographical, setting the scene and introducing the protagonist; from here, a lesson on narrative technique and another on world geography could ensue.
EGIPTO, September 10, 2014. The Cuban Embassy in Cairo delivered, to the Embassy of Palestine and the Egyptian Red Crescent, a load of six tons of medicines and disposable material for Gaza, as a sign of solidarity and support to the brother people of Palestine.
The donation of the people and the Government of the largest of the Antilles, reaffirms the historic support of the Cuban Revolution to the noble cause of the Palestinian people, who continued to be the victims of the hostile policy of the State of Israel, as demonstrated by the recent aggression against the Gaza Strip, which caused considerable material damage and more than 2000 dead, most of them civilians.
For its part the Palestinian authorities expressed the gratitude of its people and Government, for the noble gesture of Cuba, as well as its historical and invariable position beside to the just cause of the Palestinian people. The medical aid that is sent will relieve the terrible situation that lives Gaza, due to the shortage of drugs and other medical supplies required for the operation of hospitals.
The Palestinian side also thanked the disposition of Cuba to receive injured Palestinians, during the brutal aggression of Israel, to be cared in hospitals and institutions of Cuba.
The Cuban solidarity campaign has called for emergency protests
The United Kingdom’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign called for demonstrations after British authorities denied a visa to Cuban antiterrorist Rene Gonzalez. Gonzalez, together with his spouse Olga Salanueva, was invited to join supporters in London from September 8 to 10.
The U.K. government rejected three legal injunctions to revoke this decision, despite Gonzalez having received an invitation from 29 British legislators to attend a meeting in parliament, and another from the Trade Union Congress in Liverpool.
Gonzalez’s European tour is part of a global campaign to support the Cuban Five and to oppose terrorism. The tour will run from September 4 to October 6.
Last March, Rene Gonzalez was likewise denied entry by the British government in order to attend a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the case of the Cuban Five, as the group is known. The session took place in the British capital.
September 12 will mark the sixteenth anniversary of his arrest. He and his colleagues Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labañino and Antonio Guerrero were arrested in 1998. The last three are still behind bars.
Not least among achievements of Cuba's socialist revolution is expanded political participation, even exercise of power, among formerly disadvantaged groups. Rafael Hernández, editor of the Cuban journal Temas, details this story. He studied participation and entry into leadership positions in terms of age, gender, race, and profession. He mentions one consequence of inclusion that may be problematic.
Hernández advances Cuban Communist Party (PCC) membership as a measure of political participation. The combined membership of the PCC and Union of Young Communists (UJC) numbered 1,175,148 in 2012 -- 22.1 percent of Cuba's labor force that year. Of PCC members, 35 percent are of African descent, a figure equal to Hernández's estimate of the proportion of African-descended people among all Cubans. Afro-Cubans make up 42 percent of UJC members. Women make up 39 percent of party members and 52 percent of UJC members. The median age of PCC members is 50.
Socialist Cuba Exports Health Care, Gains Important Recognition
by W.T. WHITNEY, Jr.
In Cuba recently press conferences and new reports celebrated the ten-year anniversary of Operation Miracle, known also as “Mision Miracle,” which occurred on July 8. This internationalized project aimed at restoring vision on a massive scale took shape within the context of ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America.
Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Margaret Chan, expressed her great satisfaction with Cuba’s many achievements in the sphere of health, after inaugurating - together with President Raúl Castro - the new Centre of State Control of Medicines, Medical Equipment and Devices (Cecmed); and the National Coordinating Centre of Clinical Trails (Cencec), headquarters.
Chan emphasized the importance of combining, under one roof, areas of work essential to scientific development. “Cuba is the only country I have seen which has a healthcare system closely linked to closed-loop research and development. This is the right direction to be moving in, because human health can not improve without innovation,” she highlighted.
She praised Cuban scientists, describing them as dedicated people who have achieved astonishing results within a difficult context given the economic, financial and commercial blockade (imposed by the United States for over 50 years) which Cuba suffers from.
"I keep a special place in my heart for Cuba and recognize the efforts of the Cuban government to establish health as an essential pillar of development,” stated Chan.