Friday, July 12, 2024









Resistance continues after 65 years of Che's visit to Gaza.

Ernesto Che Guevara, born in Rosario, Argentina on June 14, 1928, became the most visible face of the anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist and anti-Zionist struggle. Che changed history leading the resistance of the free peoples of the world. Che became a reference and a symbol not only for Latin America but for the world, his revolution continues to be a paradigm of immortal struggle everywhere.

Sdenka Saavedra Alfaro, writer, correspondent for HispanTV

Undoubtedly, the struggle for the rights of the oppressed and dispossessed, and the liberation from the domination of the oppressors, was and continues to be the slogan of the heroic deed of "Che", a revolutionary icon who on his way to defeat all interference of imperialism and Zionism, the evil and greed for power of the West for the plundering of wealth and the exploitation of human beings, led him to cross continents reaching Africa, Palestine, Asia and other countries where he forged bastions of rebellion against colonialism, capitalism and apartheid.

On June 18, 1959, "Che" visited the Gaza Strip, an historic event marking the beginning of the international character of the Palestinian cause, and signaling a new era in anti-colonial struggles as stated by the Palestinian historian Salman Abu Sitta. It was the first time that a famous revolutionary – crowned with the success of the Cuban Revolution on January 1st. of January 1959—witnessed the devastation caused by the Nakba (catastrophe in Arabic), when the United Nations favored the creation of the illegitimate State of Israel, promoting the ethnic cleansing of Palestine at the hands of the Zionist colonial project, where more than 800,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their lands.

Che's trip was made possible at the invitation of the then president of Egypt Gamal Abdel-Nasser, recognized leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, who invited "Che" to Cairo and then to the coastal enclave, where Che toured several Palestinian refugee camps including the Al Bureij camp, witnessing the situation of poverty and hardship in which people were. It was there that Che mentioned the word "resistance" as the only form of liberation.

His visit was of great importance for the Palestinian national movement, part of the "Fedayeen" (freedom fighters, in Arabic), which was inspired by the guerrillas of Latin America, Vietnam and Algeria, and whose slogan was the liberation of Palestine. Later the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) would be formed, with Yasser Arafat being its president from 1969 until his death in 2004.

Today, on the 65th anniversary of "Che's" visit to the Gaza Strip, his figure remains valid within Palestinian Resistance, which remains standing throughout these 76 years of continuous catastrophe, in the face of the resurgence of genocide, ethnic cleansing, perpetrated since October 7, 2023,when the "Al Aqsa Storm" was carried out in defense of Palestine.

The image of "Che" is still alive, in the bastions of the Axis of the Resistance, in these more than 8 months, that the Israeli Zionist regime together with the US, have led to the worst humanitarian crisis in Gaza, to famine, extermination, starvation and it is bringing hell to children through air, naval and land siege in Rafah, and in Nuseirat where the refugee camps are located. Israeli attacks have so far claimed the lives of almost 38,000 Palestinians, more than half of whom are children and women.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara remains the icon of the Palestinian Resistance and his book, "The Guerrilla War" translated into Persian by the sociologist Ali Shariati, a turning point as reflected by great intellectual leaders. Che's contributions were important elements in the struggle and the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. —the same that defeated the monarchy of the Pahlavi, gendarmes of the United States, England and France.

"Che" lives on in each of the fighters of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Islamic Jihad, Al-Qassim Brigades, Al-Quds Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, National Resistance Brigades (Forces of the martyr Omar Al-Qassim), Mujahedeen Brigades, Abu Ali Mustafa Martyr Brigades, Al-Naser Salah Al-Din Brigades.

As well as all those who fight for the freedom of Palestine, which are the countries that even though blockaded and censored continue, and will continue, to support this resistance, such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran (IRGC) and the great movement of the Basij Force, "The People's Militia", the movement of the Houthis (Houthis) and Ansar Allah (Supporters of God) in Yemen, the Hashed Al-Shaabi movement and the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq, and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon.

The struggle of "Che" went beyond the victory of the Axis of the Resistance and the failure of Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to erase the image that observes us from the walls of human dignity. Without doubt the Palestinian resistance has roots in the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist legacy of the Argentine-Cuban guerrilla.

 

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Monday, June 10, 2024

 

Cuban ambassador visits Portland

Cuba’s ambassador to the United States, Lianys Torres Rivera, speaking to University of Portland students, accompanied by David Ramirez, Second Secretary for the Cuban Mission in Washington, D.C. Portland, Oregon, May 28, 2024.

By Maddi Johnson and Jey Clayton

Cuban Ambassador Lianys Torres Rivera visited Portland, Oregon, on May 28 to talk about establishing improved ties between the U.S. and Cuba. She met with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the president and department heads of Portland State University. The ambassador spoke at an event organized by the PSU Cuba Solidarity group and the Portland End the Blockade of Cuba Committee, of which Workers World Party is a member.

Torres Rivera told the audience that Cuba spends 60% of its budget on education and other benefits for the people. She said the country continues to provide free training and education to workers: “I could be a painter if I wanted and would have gotten my training for free.”

Cuba produced its own COVID-19 vaccine, vaccinated 90% of its population and was the first country to develop a vaccine for children over two years old. A true internationalist leader, Cuba sends medical professionals abroad to train, work and treat patients, often in life-threatening situations. Cuban doctors were killed earlier this year by a U.S. airstrike in Somalia.

The ambassador explained that Cubans are very proud of the new Family Code, the most progressive legislation in the world pertaining to families and relationships. This change to the Cuban Constitution not only protects the most vulnerable in Cuba and affirms same-sex relationships, it protects the course of Cuban socialism. Writing the “Law of Love” involved the whole population. It went through 25 revisions over the course of 3½ years, after which a majority of Cubans approved the Code in a referendum vote. The process, a lesson in democracy, is an example to the world.

Cuba defends the well-being of its people against the onslaught of the capitalist-driven climate catastrophe. One response to increased global warming has been to move homes away from the shore as sea levels rise.

These are just a few of the accomplishments Cuba has made despite over 60 years of the U.S. economic blockade. Torres Rivera explained that: “Development in Cuba takes 10 times longer because of the blockade. However, our collective struggle must go on. We must build on the over 100 resolutions by organizations and unions to end the blockade, with multiple fronts to finally smash it once and for all!”

The blockade prohibits U.S. citizens from visiting Cuba, with only a few exceptions. It has forced many thousands of people to leave Cuba due to severe conditions created under the weight of this imperialist bludgeon. Food prices are double or triple what they might be without the blockade. 

Some Cubans fear that despite all they’ve endured, the Cuban economy may continue to deteriorate. Torres Rivera described how the younger generation in Cuba is heavily propagandized through the U.S. mainstream media and social media influencers and stressed that “Cuba could be a very different country without U.S. sanctions.”

Ambassador Torres Rivera said that Cuba is waging a tedious uphill struggle against U.S. aggression. It is up to the working class in this country to put pressure on the U.S. government with a simple message: “Let Cuba live!”


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

 







Understand how the US blockade causes blackouts in Cuba.

Despite international condemnation, sanctions make energy prices up to three times more expensive for the country

 Gabriel Vera Lopes, Brasil de Fato | Havana (Cuba) | March 20, 2024

 On Sunday (17), many protests took place in the province of Santiago de Cuba (on the east side of the country) against the prolonged and repeated power cuts, which reached over six hours per day. Its context is marked by a serious economic and energy crisis the island has long been facing.

 The situation was aggravated by record high temperatures in Cuba, which has increased the need for energy.

 Protesters also complained about the lack and delays in the distribution of the so-called canasta familiar (basic-needs grocery package), a food distribution system through which the state subsidizes prices. Considerably cheaper than the grocery packages available at markets, it aims to guarantee food security for the Cuban population.

 The canasta familiar has been dealing with delays in the delivery of many of the products it includes, since a big part of them need to be imported. The Sunday protests in Santiago, Cuba’s second-largest city, were particularly related to delays in milk delivery.

 Dialoguing with protesters

During the protests, many of the province’s officials met with the protesters to hear from them about their demands, in addition to talking to them. Beatriz Johnson Urrutia, former governor and current secretary of the Cuban Communist Party in Santiago, was one of them.

 In a video on social media, Urrutia said the dialog happened in a "respectful manner" and that she "listened carefully to the information provided". She also stressed that the authorities are aware of the "damages to the national electricity system caused by the problems faced by thermoelectric power plants and the availability of fuel.”

 Similarly, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel posted a series of messages on his official account on X (formerly Twitter) reinforcing the government’s disposition to “address our people’s demands, listen, talk and explain about the many measures being taken to improve the situation.”  “Amid the conditions [imposed] by the US blockade, which intends to suffocate us, we will continue to work in peace to get out of this situation,” he concluded.

 Three times more expensive

Consulted by Brasil de Fato, Alejandro Lopéz, an electrical engineer and specialist at the state-owned Cuban company Unión Eléctrica, argues that the country’s problems in the energy sector "cannot be understood without taking into account the illegal blockade that Washington has maintained against the island for decades.”

 "A big part of the fuel the country consumes is imported. We're talking about essential supplies for energy production, but also for transportation and agriculture. It is very difficult for the state to import fuel. As the blockade means that every ship that enters a Cuban port is sanctioned by the US government, shipping companies generally can't operate in Cuba. And if they do, it's always at costs well above the international price," he explains.

 It is estimated that energy imports cost the Cuban state up to three times more than the average international price. Therefore, on the one hand, the country's economy is directly affected, causing the Cuban state to lose substantial resources. On the other hand, sanctions against shipping companies make it very difficult to guarantee a constant flow of freight. As a result, there are ongoing problems with supplies. 

 In addition to the abovementioned problems, all of the country's thermal power plants have old machinery, some of which have over 30 years of use. As a result, it is relatively easy for them to break down, reducing energy distribution to the country.

 "Both maintenance and renewal of parts or machinery are very expensive. On the one hand, the blockade restricts the possibilities of accessing funding for these investments. For example, Cuba cannot access international financial markets. At the same time, the import of spare parts – which, in itself, involves large investments – is even more expensive because of the blockade."

 Solidarity blackouts

Due to the country’s energy deficit, the Cuban government is planning a series of “solidarity blackouts” (scheduled power cuts) to save energy. These blackouts are established in each province. They divide the region into “blocks” where "solidarity blackouts” alternate for weeks. These energy shortages last longer outside Havana, Cuba’s capital city.

 Alejandro López explains that each province maps places considered as priorities (such as hospitals or residences of vulnerable people due to diseases/age, people who cannot be without electricity) that cannot be affected by blackouts.

 At the same time, Cuba maintains a system of heavy energy subsidies, both for companies (including private companies) and domestic consumption, which accounts for around 65% of the total. In 2023, the cost of energy for the state was almost eight times higher than that paid by consumers.

 Foreign interference

During the protests, the US Embassy in Havana made a public statement “urging” Cuban authorities to “respect [protesters’] human rights." The statement insinuated that the Cuban government does not respect human rights.

 In response, on Monday morning (18), the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs called a meeting with the US Embassy authorities to convey its "firm rejection of interference" due to the "slanderous messages from the US government and its embassy in Cuba about Cuba’s internal affairs.”

 The Cuban authorities pointed out that, according to the rules of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic missions should not issue opinions on the internal politics of the country in which they are located, something the US Embassy in Cuba systematically violates.

 The Cuban authorities also emphasized that "direct responsibility" for the "shortages and difficulties the population faces daily" lies mainly with the illegal economic blockade maintained by the United States against Cuba. The Caribbean state accuses Washington of "limiting and obstructing all the Cuban state's efforts to find solutions and provide answers to the country's economic and social needs.”

 The UN General Assembly first addressed the US blockade against Cuba in 1992. Since then and every year, the General Assembly has voted by an overwhelming majority to end the blockade, a series of measures that interrupt the normal development of Cuba's economy and directly interfere with the daily lives of Cubans. However, year after year, Washington has ignored this demand from the international community.

 According to the most recent document the UN General Assembly approved by 187 votes, with Ukraine abstaining and only the United States and Israel voting against, the blockade generated a loss of US$13 million per day for the Cuban state last year alone.

 Edited by: Rodrigo Durão Coelho