Saturday, January 31, 2015

RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - US Embassy in Havana – The Cuba Caper (Koenig)

I just came across this piece by Fidel. It adds to the earlier discussion.



'I Do Not Trust the Policy of the United States'

By Fidel Castro, CounterPunch

29 January 15

[]idel Castro sent this message to the Federation of University Students on the occasion of an event commemorating the 70th anniversary of his admission to the University of Havana.

In 2006, as a result of health issues which were incompatible with the time and effort required to fulfill my duties – which I myself assumed when I entered this University September 4, 1945, 70 years ago – I resigned from my official positions.

I was not the son of a worker, or lacking in material or social resources for a relatively comfortable existence; I could say I miraculously escaped wealth. Many years later, a richer and undoubtedly very capable U.S. citizen, with almost 100 billion dollars, stated – according to a news agency article published this past Thursday, January 22 – that the predominant system of production and distribution of wealth would, from generation to generation, make the poor rich.

Since the times of ancient Greece, during almost 3,000 years, the Greeks, without going very far, were brilliant in almost all activities: physics, mathematics, philosophy, architecture, art, science, politics, astronomy and other branches of human knowledge. Greece, however, was a land in which slaves did the most difficult work in fields and cities, while the oligarchy devoted itself to writing and philosophizing. The first utopia was written precisely for them.

Observe carefully the realities of this well-known, globalized and very poorly shared planet Earth, on which we know every vital resource is distributed in accordance with historical factors: some with much less than they need, others with so much they don't know what to do with it. Now amidst great threats and dangers of war, chaos reigns in the distribution of financial resources and social production. The world's population has grown, between 1800 and 2015, from one to seven billion inhabitants. Can this population increment be accommodated, in this way, over the next 100 years, and food, health, water and housing needs met, regardless of whatever scientific advances are made?

Well, setting aside these perplexing problems, it is astonishing to recall that the University of Havana, during the days when I entered this beloved, prestigious institution almost three fourths of a century ago, was the only one in Cuba.

Of course, fellow students and professors, we must remember that it is not just one now, but rather more than 50 institutions of higher learning distributed across the entire country.

When you invited me to participate in the launch of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of my admission to the University, which I was surprised to learn of, during days when I was very busy with various issues in which I can perhaps still be relatively useful, I decided to take a break and devote several hours to recalling those years.

I am overwhelmed recalling that 70 years have passed. In reality, compañeros and compañeras, if I were to register again at this age, as some have asked me, I would respond, without hesitation, that it would be to pursue scientific studies. I would say, like Guayasamín: Leave a little light on for me.

In those years, already influenced by Marx, I was able to understand more, and better, the strange, complex world in which it has befallen us to live. I may have harbored some illusions of the bourgeoisie, whose tentacles managed to entangle many students, when they possessed more passion than experience. The topic would be long and interminable.

Another genius of revolutionary action, founder of the Communist Party, was Lenin. Thus I did not hesitate a second when during the Moncada trial, when they allowed me to attend, albeit just one time, I stated before the judges and dozens of high ranking officials of the Batista regime that we were readers of Lenin.

We didn't talk about Mao Zedong, since the socialist revolution in China, inspired by the same principles, had not yet ended.

I insist, nonetheless, that revolutionary ideas must always be on guard as humanity expands its knowledge.

Nature teaches us that tens of billions of light years may have passed, and life in all of its expressions has always been subjected to an incredible combination of matter and radiation.

A personal greeting between the Presidents of Cuba and the United States took place at the funeral of Nelson Mandela, the distinguished, exemplary combatant against apartheid who had become friendly with Obama.

It is enough to indicate that, at that time, several years had passed since Cuban troops had decisively defeated the racist South African army, directed by the wealthy bourgeoisie, which had vast economic resources. This is a story of a conflict which has yet to be written. South Africa, the government with the most financial resources on the continent, had nuclear weapons supplied by the racist state of Israel, as the result of an agreement between this party and President Ronald Reagan, who authorized the delivery of devices for the use of such weapons to attack Cuban and Angolan forces defending the Popular Republic of Angola against racist troops attempting to occupy the country.

Thus peace negotiations were excluded while Angola was attacked by apartheid forces, with the best trained and equipped army on the African continent.

In such a situation, there was no possibility whatsoever for a peaceful solution. Continual efforts to liquidate the Popular Republic of Angola, to bleed the country systematically with the power of that well equipped and trained army, was what led to the Cuban decision to deliver a resounding blow to the racists at Cuito Cuanavale, the former NATO base which South Africa was attempting to occupy at all costs.

That powerful country was obliged to negotiate a peace agreement which put an end to the military occupation of Angola, and an end to apartheid in South Africa.

The African continent was left free of nuclear weapons. Cuba was forced to face, for a second time, the threat of a nuclear attack.

Cuban internationalist troops withdrew from Africa with honor.

Then Cuba survived the Special Period in peace time, which has already lasted for more than 20 years, without raising the white flag, something we have never done, and will never do.

Many friends of Cuba know of the Cuban people's exemplary conduct, and I will explain to them, in a few words, my essential position.

I do not trust the policy of the United States, nor have I exchanged one word with them, though this does not in any way signify a rejection of a peaceful solution to conflicts or threats of war. Defending peace is the duty of all. Any negotiated, peaceful solution to the problems between the United States and peoples, or any people of Latin America, which does not imply force or the use of force, must be addressed in accordance with international principles and norms.

We will always defend cooperation and friendship with all of the world's peoples, and with those of our political adversaries. This is what we are demanding for all.

The President of Cuba has taken pertinent steps in accordance with his prerogatives and faculties conceded by the National Assembly and the Communist Party of Cuba.

The grave dangers that today threaten humanity must yield to norms which are compatible with human dignity. No country can be denied such a right.

In this spirit I have struggled, and will continue to struggle, to my last breath.

From: [] On Behalf Of William Bangura []
Sent: Saturday, January 03, 2015 4:05 PM
To: dialogue
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - US Embassy in Havana – The Cuba Caper (Koenig)

Cubans are politically educated and sophisticated enough that no NGO or "intelligence service(s) will succeed in destabilizing their country.
Obama's rapprochement is a dilemma for the Florida Cubans, because they benefited from the corrupt and tyrannical Fulgencio Batista regime and without Fidel Castro's revolution Cuba will not have attained such zenith in education and health care. All the Florida Cubans have to offer Cuba are preposterous rhetoric
I do not comprehend how it will be benign to the "average" Russian when their purchasing power has been reduced due to the cascading rubble.
How can the Cubans procure "free access" to international market when the US dollar is the means of transaction in the market place?
I disagree with Peter Koenig because Cubans are more unique from the Bolivians, Ecuadorians and Venezuelans. Koenig should have researched why communism was successful in Cuba but failed in the former Soviet Union.
Though there are vital economic interests for the US, if the Cubans strategize appropriately they will benefit more from this rapprochement.
Finally, the Cubans and President Barack Obama will demonstrate how ludicrous Koenig's opinions are.

On Thu, Dec 25, 2014 at 6:29 AM, Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <<>> wrote:
US Embassy in Havana – The Cuba Caper
By Peter Koenig

December 23, 2014 "ICH" -The lame duck, Obama, extending a conciliatory hand to Cuba by opening an embassy in Havana, by reopening, after 54 years of a criminal and crippling embargo, diplomatic relations? – At the same time Obama is making not a single concession in terms of lifting the blockade. This smells like a trap. Cuba beware!

Imagine – a US Embassy in Havana – it would open the floodgates for US NED (National Endowment for Democracy) funded 'NGOs', for Washington's spies and anti-Castro propaganda machine; it would have free hand to destabilize the country. And what would Cuba gain? – Zilch, zero, nothing. Not even a gradual lifting of the embargo had been announced. To the contrary, it would open Cuba's borders to the vultures of Florida Cubans, eventually to theirs and other foreign investments, subjugating the country's huge social gains over the last half a century – universal free education and health services, by far the best social system of the Americas – to the sledgehammer of neoliberal privatization.

Why would Cuba now need a US Embassy? After 54 years of struggling and surviving against Washington's nod? – In fact, nobody needs the empire – the empire's consent to financially and economically survive. Suffice it to look at the 'engineered' decay of the Russian ruble which eventually will leave Russia better off than before the downward slide of its currency and the likewise 'engineered' downward spin of the price of petrol. Everybody knows that the Middle Eastern oil producers, Obama's stooges, will not forever shoot themselves in the foot by flooding the petrol market and foregoing their oil revenues.

What Cuba needs is free access to international markets – outside and independent of the United States. Cuba needs to integrate into an independent financial and monetary system, detached from the corrupt casino dollar. Solidarity by the rest of the world which has already helped Cuba survive the illegal, inhuman US embargo is now more than ever of the order. The support of a unity of nations must now help stem the temptation to bend to Washington's offer of 'diplomacy'.

With the establishment of diplomatic relations, Cuba would be condemned to adopt the dollar as trading currency – no escaping the dollar, if ever Cuba wanted to hope for the good deeds of the empire – the lifting of the blockade.

Look what happened in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador – once a US Embassy is established, all the nefarious destabilizing elements could sneak in, willy-nilly. Plus, economic 'sanctions', would be nearer than ever, if Cuba doesn't behave. Both Bolivia and Venezuela have learned their lessons the hard way. After they closed the US Embassy and sent US organizations and NGOs home, they could breathe again. Though Venezuela is still suffering from Washington's diabolical arm of propaganda and direct interference in domestic affairs, she has no longer the burden of maintaining a 'diplomatic' tie with the northern aggressor.

Most importantly, however – the US is vying for Cuban hydrocarbons, estimated today at 20 billion barrels of offshore oil reserves. Cuba, like Venezuela, is close to US Mexican Gulf shores, where the major refineries are waiting for the crude. During his tour of South America in July 2014, President Putin in a meeting with Cuban President, Raul Castro, signed an agreement whereby the Russian oil company, Rosneft, will assist the Cuban oil producer, Cupet, exploring and exploiting the island's offshore petrol.

Is it coincidence or sheer self-interest, that just now, when Russia is digging for oil in Obama's backyard that he is offering diplomatic ties with the 54 years embargoed Caribbean island? – Your guess.
Venezuela has the world's largest remaining hydrocarbon reserves, about 300 billion barrels. They are close to the US shores and would be the best bet for US mega-oil. But the White House's destabilizing efforts in Venezuela seem to fail. These efforts and other State Department blunders have helped increase US isolation in Latin America.

Why not trying another approach? – A well disguised lie; insinuating with the opening of an embassy in Havana that the deadly embargo might ease in some undefined future between the brutal Goliath of the north and castigated, downtrodden David of the Caribbean. An embassy in Cuba may also earn some much needed kudos with other Latin American neighbors which have been upset for years about the criminal strangulation by the empire of one of their brothers.

In fact, first reactions from Latin America to Obama's diplomatic initiative were positive. But more than caution is in order. – The establishment of a US embassy in Havana might be more than just a floodgate for US secret service agents and anti-Cuba propaganda. A US Embassy in Havana might begin breaking down US isolation in South America, especially in Brazil and Argentina. It might become a backdoor for Washington to gain access to these countries huge natural resources.

Knowing about Washington's agenda of world dominance, it would be difficult to imagine that there is even a shred of goodwill behind Obama's move to 'normalize' relations with Cuba. – Havana beware!

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

Professor Gloria Emeagwali
History Department
CCSU. New Britain. CT 06050<><>
Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora
From:<> [<>] On Behalf Of Emeagwali, Gloria (History) [<>]
Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2014 2:45 PM
Subject: RE: USA Africa Dialogue Series - CUBA: THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA

This article captures some of my reservations and the need for caution.
These are some of the facts to note. What is the point of isolating Russia and
Venezuela with sanctions, while playing nice with Cuba?

One Step Forward, One Step Back in US-Latin America Policy

Alexander Main
Friday, December 19, 2014,The Hill

President Obama's decision to normalize relations with Cuba has grabbed headlines and drawn plaudits from around the world. In a short but historic speech, Obama announced a breathtaking series of measures including the reestablishing of full diplomatic relations with Cuba and the significant easing of restrictions on travel to the island nation. He also made a plea to Congress to undo the 54-year-old embargo against Cuba.

But at the same time, Obama has supported a significant hardening of policy toward one of Cuba's closest allies in the region.

Venezuela has just joined Cuba as one of only two countries in the Western Hemisphere subject to U.S. sanctions. Legislation mandating sanctions against Venezuelan officials was approved by voice vote in the Senate on Dec. 8 and then sailed through the House on Dec. 10. On Dec. 18, just one day after his speech on a "new course" on Cuba, Obama signed the sanctions bill into law. Cuban-American Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who authored the legislation, called it "a victory for the Venezuelan people."

The trouble is, the people of Venezuela don't seem to agree with Menendez. A survey<> [1] carried out by independent pollster Datanalisis showed that nearly three quarters of Venezuelans oppose U.S. sanctions. The Caracas-based human rights organization PROVEA — a frequent critic of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro — also vigorously rejects<> [2] the measure. Other Latin American governments oppose the sanctions as well. At a May summit, South America's heads of state strongly voiced their opposition<> [3] to the Senate bill and its House companion, authored by Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

The stated purpose of the bill is "to impose targeted sanctions on persons responsible for violations of human rights of antigovernment protesters" that took to the streets between February and April of this year demanding Maduro's departure. The bill's promoters mention that over 40 people died during the protests but don't acknowledge that a large number of these deaths included state security forces and pro-government activists<> [4] and were caused by the protesters<> [5] themselves. Moreover, as human rights organizations have noted<> [6], Venezuelan authorities have carried out investigations of abuses and apprehended at least 17 security agents allegedly implicated in violent acts against demonstrators.

Troubling reports of impunity still surround some of the killings and abuses perpetrated during the protests. But does Venezuela's human rights situation really justify sanctions? If so, then why hasn't the U.S. government sanctioned authorities in Colombia, where the army reportedly executed at least 5,763 innocent civilians<> [7] between 2000 and 2010? Why hasn't it sanctioned Honduras, where security forces regularly commit extrajudicial killings<> [8] with impunity? Or what about Mexico, where 43 students recently disappeared, most likely all killed, with the alleged complicity<> [9] of both local and federal police? Instead of penalizing the governments of these countries, the U.S. continues to send them hundreds of millions of dollars in security assistance.

So where do the sanctions against Venezuela come from?

For years, a handful of members of Congress with ties to far-right Cuban exile groups has sought to harden U.S. policy toward Venezuela and other left-leaning Latin American governments with close relations to the Cuban government. In 2007, Ros-Lehtinen and three other South Florida representatives sent a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him to declare Venezuela's democratically elected government a "dictatorship" and grant temporary political asylum to Venezuelans who had overstayed their U.S. visas. In 2008, Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), Ros-Lehtinen, Rep. Mario Díaz Balart (R-Fla.) and five other legislators sponsored a resolution calling for Venezuela to join Cuba on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Though these and other efforts didn't gain momentum, the sanctions legislation, introduced in both houses in March, benefited from intense media coverage around the 2014 protests and an unprecedented mobilization of opposition-aligned Venezuelans in the U.S. It passed the House in May but was held up in the Senate until early December. The administration, meanwhile, announced that it opposed sanctions since, in the words of a U.S. official, it "would reinforce the narrative of this being about the Venezuelan government standing up to the U.S."

A group of Democratic legislators applauded<> [10] the administration's position, noting that "unilateral U.S. intervention and sanctions have caused deep resentment throughout Latin America." This is perhaps especially true in Venezuela, where people still remember how the U.S. government supported a short-lived military coup<> [11] against late President Hugo Chávez back in 2002.

Nevertheless, the administration began carrying out minor, unofficial sanctions — first revoking visas of Venezuelan officials and then barring U.S. exports of equipment with a "military end use" to Venezuela. Then, in late November, Antony Blinken, Obama's nominee for deputy secretary of State, told Sens. Menendez and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that the administration was now fully supporting sanctions.

The administration clearly dislikes President Maduro but is well aware that an aggressive unilateral measure like sanctions could undermine the divided Venezuelan opposition and further isolate the U.S. regionally. So why is it now supportive of sanctions?

When Obama announced the dramatic shift in U.S. policy toward Cuba, he knew it would trigger outrage in the ranks of Cuban-American members of Congress. Though some of these legislators have fringe viewpoints on Latin America, they happen to have powerful committee positions and could make it even harder for the administration to achieve anything in Congress. The president apparently felt he should throw them a bone to try to appease them; the bone was a promise to back their Venezuela sanctions bill.

Such trade-offs may make sense from a Beltway perspective. But allowing legislators stuck in a Cold War mentality to steer U.S. Venezuela policy is dangerous and risks wrecking the good will that the administration's Cuba detente is generating throughout the region. In the words of President Obama, it's time to fully "cut loose the [policy] shackles of the past." Not just with regard to Cuba, but on policy toward Venezuela and other left-leaning Latin American governments as well.

Main is senior associate for international policy at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Professor Gloria Emeagwali
History Department
CCSU. New Britain. CT 06050<><>
Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora

From:<> [<>] On Behalf Of William Bangura [<>]
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2014 5:06 PM
To: dialogue
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - CUBA: THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA

Professor Gloria Emeagwali,

What "facts" do you need? Raul Castro would not have pursued this rapprochement with President Obama without the blessings of his older brother Commandante Fidel Castro. President Obama is the "Moses" for Fidel Castro, his revolution and his Cuban people.
Obama was born on August 4, 1960 and two months later on September 4, 1961 the United States Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act on September 4, 1961.
Sister Gloria, I am an African and a GENUINE Pan-Africanist who does not believe in coincidence.


On Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 9:10 PM, Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <<><<>>> wrote:
Well there are pros and cons. This could be a ploy to isolate Russia further
and divert attention from the sordid CIA torture record on the news.
Once Russia and allies are routed, Cuba will be a sitting duck.
Fear the" Greeks" bearing gifts. These are treacherous times.

On the other hand, it could be what Bangura and others dreamt for, and a real horse rather than
a Trojan carving. Should that be the case, congrats I say, but
I need to get an endorsement from Fidel, before I bring out the
champagne glass.

Professor Gloria Emeagwali
History Department
CCSU. New Britain. CT 06050<><><><>
Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora

From:<><<>> [<><<>>] On Behalf Of william bangura [<><<>>]
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 5:15 PM
Subject: USA Africa Dialogue Series - CUBA: THANK YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA

The normalization of full diplomatic relations with Cuba was one of the salient reasons why I had campaigned for the then Sen. Barack H. Obama in the Democratic Presidential Primaries in Alexandria, Virginia and against Sen. John McCain in the General Elections that he will normalize full diplomatic relationship with Cuba before Fidel Castro dies.
As a young boy living in Freetown, Sierra Leone I supported all the liberation movements in Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia, South Africa and South West Africa. But I was very fascinated with the struggle in Angola because of the heavy presence of Cuban troops who were not only equipping and training the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) but were also involved in the fighting.
In 1975 Cuban intelligence in Luanda, Angola's capital intercepted a signal that the South African Defense, the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) will invade southern Angola at Quinfangondo.
President Fidel Castro telephoned Soviet President Leonid Breshnev and requested Aeroflots and Russian military transport planes to carry Cuban troops from Havana to Luanda. But there was a problem of refueling, and consequently, he called President Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone and requested if the planes will refuel in Freetown--which is closer to Luanda--and that SOB (Stevens a faux supporter of the liberation struggle) demanded money. Castro then advised him to "fly a kite".
Castro then called Sekou Toure of neighboring Guinea who accepted. The Guinean army will establish a five mile circumference around l'aeroport Gbessia in Conakry hours before the Russian planes were refueled en route to Luanda.
On the eve of the battle at Quinfangondo the Cubans launched"Operation Carlota"<> and they were in the line of attack,
operating the Russian tanks and flying the Russian Migs.
Castro's admiration and fascination with Africans originate from his relationship with Juan Almeida Bosque<>. Castro had said Bosque was the greatest warrior he had ever seen. He also said that the difference between Bosque and Guevara was that the latter was more philosophical. During a pivotal battle in the Sierra Maestra after they--Fidel, Raul, Bosque, Che and the various rebels--had been ambushed and outnumbered by by Gen. Fulgencio Batista's troops Bosque commanded that, "Here, nobody surrenders". This directive became the mantra of the Cuban revolution.
The Cuban victory in Angola <> culminated to the liberation of South West Africa, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
President Obama has not only rewarded Fidel Castro and the Cuban people for liberating his (Obama's) people from colonialism, but, he is also fascinated with her social and political enhancement in education, medicine, the arts and in sports.
In Themne, my people will say "Obai Obama "Moemoe O" which translates to Thank you very much, King--it was British colonialism that devalued our Sierra Leonean Kings to Chiefs--Obama

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