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

Friday, May 10, 2024

 

Contributing to forming a new world order that is more just, inclusive and equitable calls for action

Speech delivered by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, in Moscow, Russian Federation, on May 8, 2024, "66th Year of the Revolution"

Author: Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez | informacion@granmai.cu

May 9, 2024 09:05:53-Shorthand Versions - Presidency of the Republic)













Your Excellency Mr. Nikol Pashinian, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and President of the Eurasian Economic Union;

Your Excellency and dear Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, our most sincere congratulations on your election as President with the highest popular support;
Your Excellencies, Heads of Delegations of the member countries of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council;
Distinguished guests:
It is always an honor to participate in these meetings of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.  In addition to that honor, today we are delighted to do so in person in the beloved city of Moscow on a memorable day, on the 64th anniversary of the establishment of relations between the then Soviet Union and the young Revolution of the Republic of Cuba, a bond of friendship and cooperation to which the Cuban people owe so much of their social and human development.
We are also encouraged to take part in the celebration -in the context of the expanded Supreme Council- of the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and on the eve of the 79th anniversary of Victory Day.
As we have said on other occasions, the Cuban Government attaches great importance to the economic-commercial, financial and cooperation relations with the Eurasian Economic Union and its member states, taking as a premise the historical relations that unite us with that group of countries.
This is an opportunity to congratulate Armenia on the chairmanship of the Union in 2024 and Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintaev on his appointment as Chairman of the College of the Eurasian Economic Commission. Our best wishes for success in the exercise of these important functions.
Likewise, I would like to add my appreciation to the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Government of the Russian Federation for the initiative of organizing this Summit in such complex and decisive circumstances as the world is experiencing right now.
The agitated situation in various parts of the planet is of international concern and summons us to action to contribute to the process of creating a new world order that is more just, inclusive and equitable.
Cuba appreciates that the ten years that have passed with significant results in all areas of interaction show that the UEAA is a successful, attractive and sustainable integration project.
An irrefutable proof are the macroeconomic indicators, such as: an aggregate GDP of 2.4 trillion dollars; the almost doubling of mutual trade among the member states and the 60% increase in foreign trade turnover, just to mention a few significant data.
Since its foundation, and especially in recent years, the Union has been very clear about its projection in terms of development priorities, which can be seen in the adoption of the Declaration called the Eurasian Economic Track and the adoption of a road map with the mechanisms and activities, as well as the deadlines and forms for its implementation.
Dear colleagues:
Cuba, from its condition of Observer State, reiterates its willingness and interest to have a greater participation in the mechanisms of the Union to advance towards a deeper integration.
I sincerely believe that we all need better coordination to promote joint projects in areas of mutual interest.
In this regard, it is essential to promote a more systematic and practical relationship between the ministries and sectoral agencies of the Commission and the Member and Observer States.
This will not be difficult.  Cuba's National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030 has a broad coincidence with the medium- and long-term priorities set out in the UEAA Declaration, with emphasis on the role of science and innovation.
The holding of the Third Joint Commission between Cuba and the Eurasian Economic Commission in Havana in January of this year represented a milestone in relations, but it also confirmed the need to turn around actions to diversify ties between our countries and advance qualitatively and quantitatively to higher levels in trade exchanges, cooperation and intra- and extra-regional foreign investment.
As you know, Cuba attaches great importance to government management based on science and innovation, and even though this is a process that requires a great deal of learning, I can assure you that we are making progress in its implementation.  Undoubtedly, the path of knowledge is key to the development of nations and, for the same reason, it is one of the lines of work in which we want to deepen our relations with the Union.
We want to bet on the strengthening of those links, emphasizing the sphere of industry, tourism, technical and accreditation regulations, as well as sanitary, phytosanitary and veterinary measures, essential aspects to be able to advance in the introduction of new Cuban products and maintain the registration of those already existing in the Eurasian market.
We place at the disposal of the Member States the experiences and achievements we have obtained in the field of the medical, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry, for future collaboration in this field.
We can also join efforts and continue advancing in the sanitary and regulatory sphere for the circulation of Cuban medicines and medical devices in the countries of the Union.
We appreciate the possibilities of strengthening interaction in the field of industry, based on the invitation received for Cuban companies to participate in the creation of instruments for the development of innovative, high-tech and innovative productions, such as the eighteen digital platforms conceived in the Union.
We have insisted on promoting exchanges between the structures of the Eurasian Economic Commission, the businessmen of the countries of the Union and Cuba, in order to establish direct links to identify interests in trade, cooperation and direct foreign investment.
It is worth mentioning the exchange resumed at the business level between the Chamber of Commerce of Cuba and the Business Council of the Commission, which made it possible to define a joint work mechanism to promote the take-off of inter-business relations.
Dear participants in this Summit:
I wish to reaffirm once again Cuba's interest in and commitment to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union and its member states.
We are a small country, subjected for six decades to an economic, commercial and financial blockade, intensified in recent years with measures especially designed to prevent the success of development plans and to make the daily life of the people more difficult.
The unjust inclusion of Cuba in the spurious U.S. list of States that allegedly sponsor terrorism has had a disastrous effect on the financial operations of the country, causing a very tense situation in the economy, which the Cuban people are facing with admirable courage and creativity.
Under such conditions, the historic understanding, friendship and support of countries such as those that make up the UEAA is of inestimable value, for which Cuba is deeply grateful.
I extend to all the feelings of gratitude of the Cuban people and government for the vote in favor of the resolution against the blockade which is overwhelmingly adopted every year by the United Nations General Assembly, and which we will continue to present as long as this illegal, unjust and genocidal policy is maintained.
Those who blockade us will never be able to understand, and therefore will never be able to prevent, the excellent relations between our countries and the shared vision that a better world is possible, and we can do it together, based on principles of cooperation, mutual respect and shared welfare, all values that distinguish this Union.
Dear friends:
On the eve of the tenth anniversary of this formidable partnership, we reiterate our congratulations, with the absolute confidence that the results of this decade and the decisions emanating from today's meeting will serve as a basis for continuing to promote and strengthen the sustainable economic development of all the nations involved, in the interests of greater prosperity for our peoples.  In this endeavor, you can always count on Cuba.
Thank you very much (Applause).

Monday, April 29, 2024









Can Cuba be forgiven now? 

Havana syndrome may be intense stress and other environmental factors 

The Chronicle Herald (Metro) 27 Apr 2024 · PETER MCKENNA COMMENTARY (Peter MCKENNA is professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown).  

I see where the mysterious Havana syndrome is back in the news again. We are also learning that the U.S. case against Cuba for unleashing these “acoustic attacks” grows weaker by each passing scientific study. 

You may recall that U.S. and Canadian diplomats stationed in Havana complained of concussion-like symptoms beginning in late 2016. Before becoming ill, some maintained that they heard a loud buzzing or high-pitched noise that sounded like metal scraping on metal. They have since highlighted a host of unexplained ailments and symptoms – including cognitive dysfunction, ear bleeding, headaches, dizziness, blurry vision and nausea. Some have even pointed out that their children have also experienced similar types of afflictions.


Anomalous Health Incidents

Initially, it was thought that some kind of sonic, microwave or pulsed-energy weapon was responsible for inflicting brain trauma (indicated in early brain scans) on these diplomats and their families. In response, both Washington and Ottawa eventually reduced the number of consular officials in each of their respective embassies in Cuba. The Trump administration, though, took matters further by expelling several Cuban diplomats from the country, told Americans not to travel to Cuba and placed blame squarely on the shoulders of Havana. But the Cubans argued from the very beginning that they had absolutely nothing to do with these serious charges. They strenuously maintained that they have always respected the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which codifies the rules for how official envoys are to be treated between sovereign states. 

At first, Cuba informed the U.S. ambassador to Cuba that it was not involved, and then assigned dozens of top scientists to investigate these allegations – including specialists from outside the country. The Cubans even permitted, in a highly unprecedented move, both the RCMP and the FBI to send investigators to see for themselves. After several visits, neither could find any concrete evidence that Cuba’s fingerprints were on any of these so-called “anomalous health incidents” (AHIS). 


No Corroborating Evidence 

In March, a five-year investigation by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) found – after using sophisticated MRI scans – no corroborating evidence of serious brain injury. When compared to a control group of federal employees involved in similar work environments (including some from the same embassy), over 80 diplomats from Cuba and elsewhere suf­fering from brain degeneration were shown to have few major dif­ferences after a battery of cognitive and physical tests. Moreover, the NHI reports indicated that many of these diplo mats were displaying fewer symptoms and showing signs of improvement. Co-investigator and neuropsychologist, Louis French, from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, acknowledged as much in a press brief­ing: “When we tested cognitive function, we didn’t see those deficits.”  He then went on to add: “What you’re seeing in some cases here are people that, for various reasons, have ongoing symptoms they’re reporting that just don’t play out when we’re looking at this objectively.” 


Pre-existing Conditions 

Many of the intelligence agencies in the U.S. have previously stated that it is unlikely that a foreign rival was attacking U.S. diplomats and CIA agents in dif­ferent parts of the world. They are more inclined to believe that these concussion like symptoms are the result of pre-existing conditions, intense stress and other environmental factors. 

According to one of those intelligence community reports, claims of brain trauma “were the result of factors that did not involve a foreign adversary.” But it did go on to say that “these findings do not call into question the very real experiences and symptoms that our colleagues and their family members have reported.” 

Those claiming to suf­fer from Havana syndrome obviously believe that they are not well. That partially explains why the U.S. government has provided some CIA officers with a one-time payment of compensation ranging from US$187,000 up to $204,000 today. We are also learning from new reporting that the first such incident of a “sonic attack” actually goes back to Berlin in 2014. Since then, we have been told that similar cases have popped up in China, Vietnam, Russia and Austria. Were the Cubans behind those incidents as well?


Consider the Sources 

Part of the reason why a cloud still hangs over Havana when it comes to AHIS is that anti Cuba members of the U.S. Congress can’t let go of the Cuba blame-game. They are now evidently beginning to dig into how the various spy agencies handled the whole investigation into the Havana syndrome. The fact of the matter is that many elements within the U.S. government – because of historical grievances, an ideological blind spot and frozen by a view of Cuba as the “enemy” – refuse to accept that the Cubans had no hand in this. 

When it comes to the Havana syndrome and things Cuban in general, you would be wise to investigate matters on your own and to pay close attention to what the scientists and specialists are saying. 

Don’t always believe what is reported about Cuba in the news media. And believe even less what the U.S. government is often saying about the island of Cuba. 


For more information:
People with "Havana Syndrome" Show No Brain Damage or Medical Illness, by Daniel Vergano (Scientific American)

Friday, April 26, 2024

 

In the hour of the furnaces, ALBA is giving light

Speech by Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the Republic, at the XXIII ALBA-TCP Summit, in Caracas, on April 24, 2024, "Year 66 of the Revolution"

Author:  | informacion@granmai.cu

april 25, 2024 08:04:47

Photo: Estudios Revolución

Dear brother Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and host of this timely ALBA-TCP Summit;
Dear Brothers Comandante Daniel Ortega and President Luis Alberto Arce;
Dear Brother Prime Ministers Skerrit, Gaston, Ralph and Philip;
Representatives of the family of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People's Trade Treaty;
Dear Arreaza, Executive Secretary of ALBA-TCP:
First of all I would like to thank you for convening us in "the hour of the furnaces".  José Martí defined "the hour of the furnaces" as that revolutionary time of being together and I quote his words: "in the work of foresight and order, of broad judgment and cordial action, all those who have a chest to attack, and a mind to see from afar, and hands to execute. And without misgivings and without exclusions. And without forgetfulness of the true and the just. And without tenacious antipathies. It is the hour of the furnaces, in which nothing but light must be seen", and ALBA is precisely giving light.
I invoke José Martí in this land of liberators, because no one brought us closer and better to Bolivar and his integrationist ideal, which finally transcended from the dream to the reality of Our America, when two profoundly Bolivarian and Martí leaders such as Commanders Chávez and Fidel Castro founded this alternative to the neoliberals' trade, this alliance of dreams that did so much in such a short time in favor of our nations.
Fidel, so precise and fair in his words, defined Chávez as "the best friend the Cuban people had throughout its history". Both of them, with their efforts and actions for the emancipation and development of Our America, proved to be close friends and brothers of all Latin American and Caribbean peoples by planting the seed of ALBA, the first realization of a brotherhood that still has a promising road ahead.
This is the Alliance of solidarity and cooperation, victorious over the selfish pragmatism that only bets on profits and the market.
It is the Alliance of the Miracle that made seemingly impossible projects and feats that, in the social order, have benefited millions of citizens in the region.
It is the Alliance where many found for the first time an answer to demands that, for centuries, were not offered by development models where the human being is secondary.  
It is the Alliance of unity, which allows us to face challenges and threats together.
Cuba will always be present in ALBA-TCP because, over and above the blockades and difficulties decreed by empires and mercilessly imposed by the current international order, deeply unjust and excluding, our Alliance has proven how and how much can be done from the South, if this solidary integration prevails.
Dear brothers and sisters:
This meeting could not be postponed. The international and regional situation arouses concern and summons us to action.
In some way and on more than one occasion, we have all pointed out the dangers of the impunity with which Israel acts, thanks to the complicity and support of the government of the United States and in spite of the serious risks of regionalization of the conflict in the Middle East, a serious threat to peace and international security.
Only an imperial mentality, an interventionist purpose, can deny that peace and stability in that region depend, in the first place, on a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which contemplates the creation of a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and guaranteeing the right of return of all refugees to their land.
From this tribune of free, independent and sovereign peoples, we demand the immediate entry of the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Organization (Applause).
We cannot be indifferent to the daily crime that has been committed against the brotherly Palestinian people for 75 years.
No one can justify the brutal Zionist escalation of the last six months, the grave violations of International Humanitarian Law, the war crimes and crimes against humanity that have turned a tiny strip of inhabited land into a training camp for a bloodthirsty army.
The United Nations Security Council must fulfill its mandate and put an end to the impunity of Israel, the occupying power, before the questionable credibility of its resolutions, besieged by the imperial veto, ends up disappearing in the rubble of Gaza.
In 2014, in the face of facts as serious as those that outrage us today, the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, left the following written: "The genocide of the Nazis against the Jews reaped the hatred of all the peoples of the Earth. Why does the government of that country believe that the world will be insensitive to this macabre genocide that today is being committed against the Palestinian people? Is it expected to ignore how much complicity there is on the part of the North American empire in this shameless massacre?"
They sound like words written for today. That is why I insist that all the peoples of the world should make the Palestinian cause their own.
Brothers of ALBA-TCP:
The Monroe Doctrine, two centuries after it was enunciated, continues to threaten the destiny of Our America.
Imperialism persists in its project of domination over our lands. It finances and promotes violence, destabilization and hate speeches. It attacks leftist and progressive forces and seeks to erase the history of struggle and resistance of the peoples.
In the face of imperialist pretensions, we reaffirm our absolute commitment to unity, the defense of our sovereignty and peace.
We reaffirm the unwavering will to continue strengthening CELAC.
We reiterate our strongest condemnation of the violent raid by the Ecuadorian police on the diplomatic headquarters of Mexico in Quito on April 5.  This violation of International Law, of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, of the right to asylum and of the sovereignty of our beloved Mexico, is absolutely unjustifiable.
We urge to restore former Vice President Jorge Glas to his condition prior to the assault of the Mexican Embassy, and to redirect his case in accordance with international law.
Ten years after the adoption in Havana of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, we call for the respect and strict compliance with its postulates. That the region continues to be internationally recognized for its commitment to peace and regional stability is a matter of the utmost importance for the present and the future of the peoples.
Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters of Our America:
On behalf of the Cuban people, Party and Government, I congratulate the Venezuelan people for the development of the new electoral process in a climate of peace and in adherence to its Constitution.  They have achieved this in spite of the attempts of some sectors to resort to violence and to retake the failed methods that caused so much pain and mourning more than once to the noble Venezuelan families.
We are not talking about old plans.  They are as recent as the assassination attempt against brother Maduro just a month ago.  We strongly support the timely denunciation of our Venezuelan brothers and sisters about these plans, which try to prevent the electoral process from taking place in a climate of peace and security.
We reject, once again, external interference and impositions that seek to influence the functioning of Venezuelan institutions.
We denounce the application of unilateral coercive measures by the United States, in violation of International Law, and demand that they be lifted in their entirety, immediately, permanently and unconditionally (Applause).
We express our recognition and full solidarity support to our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters, who are resisting the media siege and the interference attempts of imperialism and its allies to break their constitutional order.
To the Plurinational State of Bolivia we extend our support and solidarity in the defense of its sovereignty over its natural resources and in the face of destabilizing attempts.
The sister Republic of Haiti is facing a new and very serious crisis.  The international community owes a great debt to its people, who were subjected to repudiatory punishments by imperial powers and have been forced to unjustly pay a high price for leading the first social revolution of the continent.
Haiti needs real, sufficient and effective development assistance and cooperation.  There is an illegal traffic of arms and ammunition into Haiti from the United States that must be stopped.
The Haitian people have the right to find a peaceful, sustainable and lasting solution to the challenges they face, based on full respect for their self-determination, sovereignty and independence.
Cuba has offered fraternal and selfless cooperation to Haiti in areas of great impact for its people.  Even in the current circumstances, we maintain a medical brigade there that provides services to Haitians in need (Applause).
We have proposed, through CELAC, the creation of a Single International Solidarity Fund for Haiti's Recovery, which would draw on contributions from the international community and address the priorities of the Haitian people.  International banking institutions should channel contributions to this fund.  Haiti's debt should be cancelled.
We also endorse the just demands for reparations and compensation for the damages of slavery and colonialism of our Caribbean brothers and sisters, who need and deserve fair, special and differentiated treatment.
We support the right to independence of the Puerto Rican people, and express our solidarity with the Argentine people.
The Caribbean will always find in ALBA-TCP an ally in the defense of its interests and claims.
We appreciate the firm support of the Alliance to the struggle for the end of the genocidal and illegal blockade of the United States Government against the Cuban people, which has been intensified to extreme levels in recent years.  We also appreciate the valuable support for the legitimate demand to exclude Cuba from the arbitrary unilateral list of alleged State sponsors of terrorism.
Our struggle will continue, year after year, until the U.S. Government lifts this cruel, immoral and unjustifiable policy.  The Cuban people deserve to live in peace and, on an equal footing, to demonstrate all that we would be capable of advancing and building in socialism.
Dear brothers and sisters:
As the year 2024 advances, the threats and challenges to the Cuban Revolution remain and even grow, but 65 years of resistance and heroic creation do not pass in vain.  We face each day with the impetus of struggle and work that characterizes revolutionaries and with the experience gained in more than 150 years of struggle, together with the exemplary Historic Generation headed by the leader of the Revolution, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, who on commemorating another anniversary of the triumph of 1959 has exalted, above so many virtues of the brave Cuban people, the sacred unity that is the basis of every triumph over the neighboring empire that also despises us.
At the end of his emotional words that day, Raul conveyed a synthesis of the lessons learned from the years of revolutionary combat with Fidel and expressed the decisive importance of unity, of not losing serenity and confidence in the triumph no matter how insurmountable the powerful obstacles of the enemies or how great the dangers may seem, and of learning and drawing strength from every setback until transforming it into victory.
Today I say before you, brothers and sisters of the Bolivarian Alliance, that 2024 will also be a year of triumphs and results, of unity and progress. We will not renounce our dreams nor will we betray the legacy of the heroes, living or dead, of Our America.
We are approaching the twentieth anniversary of the founding of this emancipating and unitary alliance, successfully promoted by two great, unforgettable, eternal leaders of Our America: Commander Hugo Chávez Frías and Commander-in-Chief Fidel Castro Ruz.
We do so with the renewed commitment to continue working for its consolidation and the preservation of its humanist and social essence.  We do so inspired by the example set every day by Army General Raúl Castro.
Our commitment to integration and unity is invariable, and from now on also with the 2030 Agenda.
We will continue working tirelessly for an ALBA of victories, for an ALBA of peace and unity, for an ALBA of solidarity and cooperation.
You can always count on Cuba's modest but determined contribution.
Let us make the dreams of the founders of this Alliance come true!
In this union is and will be our strength.
To Victory Forever!
Together we are invincible!
Thank you very much (Applause).

Wednesday, April 3, 2024





How "lights is mode" in the mountains

The Cuban State is allocating millions of dollars to ensure that there is electricity -through generators and photovoltaic solar panels, in 320 intricate communities and in around 8,000 isolated homes that are located in rugged eastern Cuba.

 

Author: Luis Alberto Portuondo | internet@granma.cu

April 1st, 2024

 

In Santiago de Cuba, the government's goal of providing electricity to tens of thousands of people who live and work in the most intricate areas is significant. Even though the capacity to generate electricity by the National Electric System (SEN) has fluctuated greatly in recent years – mainly because of well known causes and conditions – the results in fulfilling the government’s objective of providing electricity to the area have been significant. The efforts have been financially supported by an extraordinary state subsidy.

 

It is a promise made by the Revolution and we are not willing to give it up even when confronted by needs, mountains and the most challenging geography of the island.

 

A total of 420 modules of solar photovoltaic panels have already been shipped from the People's Republic of China. They cost six million dollars, including the batteries to replace defective ones that are currently in place in many homes. In the heart of Sierra Maestra, 277 families living in El Macho and La Magdalena are aware of this project in detail; they will benefit from it. The person advocating for this project who is to be implemented soon is Yisel Fonseca Mendez, delegate of the 78th district of Guama. “I spoke even with the Minister of Energy and Mines, and light can already be seen at the end of the tunnel, because the panels are not new in this area. Ask Ana Iris Martinez Gomez, who lives in Rio La Mula has had a similar system for six years” who is also deputy to the National Assembly of Popular Power.

 

In La Caoba, north to this territory and in Sierra Cristal, Geobel Mendoza Herrera awaits anxiously the arrival of the tanker trucks bringing oil destined to the generation of electricity in the area of Joturo. “I put my tractor to the service of our community because the roads are bad and I know these mountains like the palm of my hands” said the campesino with a machete in one hand and a cellular phone in the other after connecting with Orlando Orive Silva, chief of brigade attending a 31 of the 81 communities in Santiago generating electricity this way.

 

The Sun helps the hot land 

There are 1 963 houses isolated but having solar panels. Specialists from the  Industrial Plant and Technological Equipment Repair Company (Empresa de Reparación de Plantas Industriales y Equipos Tecnológicos) operating in the provinces of Granma, Holguín, Santiago and Guantánamo– travel tens of kilometers to provide maintenance to the modules. Their connection with the campesino families of the areas they serve become endearing.

"There's no shortage of coffee, I sneak it in early in the morning, so they can go up to the last house. I'm happy, imagine, I only pay ten pesos a month for this service," says Ana Iris Martínez Gómez, who has in her home, in addition to a panel, the public telephone serving all the residents of Río La Mula.

"The installed modules are of 300 watts, supporting a 32-inch TV and five LED luminaires, included in the module. They certainly do not meet the needs of households, but they provide light at night," emphasizes Orlando Riera Girón, director of investments at the Electric Company of Santiago de Cuba.

In 40 percent of the houses (778) there are issues, especially with the batteries. «As soon as they arrive in Cuba we will replace them, as we always do. Now we are focused on implementing the mentioned Project with the University of Sancti Spiritus, that would make possible the installation of the modules of 2,2 kilowatts; they include a battery, accumulator and inverter, with an estimated duration of 25 years, and will allow you to connect a television, a refrigerator, a washing machine and a kitchen,” says Riera Girón.

The price of each module in the market is between 1900 and 2400 dollars “despite actual cost, people will pay as before, ten pesos; both communities will also receive two water pumps and a fridge so they can conserve their food, explained a director. He remembers that, since the 1990s, and as an initiative of the Commander in chief, similar panels have been installed in schools and theaters which were not connected to the National Electrical Service (Servicio de Electricidad Nacional). Thousands of these panels have been installed, with a high cost of financial and material resources, but with a very rewarding and high social impact on people’s lives.

"These are our thermoelectric plants.”

Elárides Montero Figueredo started as a substitute in the Chamarreta 2 mountain generator set, "and for the last five years I have been the operator. The people here take great care of this equipment which, although it generates only four hours a day, has become our thermoelectric plant and is a totally free service."

We know the people living in El Naranjal, with their delegate in front and their pickaxes, hoes and shovel rehabilitating the narrow road for the triple truck to arrive with the fuel. In the early hours of the morning, Maria Caridad Jiménez Parra, shift manager at the ServiCupet Siboney, in San Luis, stopped the long queue of vehicles because "whenever the ambulances and mountain cars arrive, you have to stop what you are doing, they become the priority.

More to the North, the people in El Berjel and Limones are taking care. Aracelis Ricardo and Minerva Peña are operaries. “It is a work of care, I was afraid of electricity, but now I am used to it. I have my salary and in the neighbourhood everybody knows me as the Misses of the generator set” she said with much pride, Aracelis.

“The electrical company looks after 79 communities that, because they are far away, are not connected to SEN groups that were before managed by Communal Services. We need to say that the lack of fuel has also caused a lack of services in some áreas; and yet, overall we have coverage for more than 20 days per month. The estate asumes transportation, maintenance, salaries, while the sense of belonging of the population is high,” shared Osvaldo Bell Sanchez, director of the company unit of base of Emergency Generators (Generacion de Emergencia).

It is also important to note that the communities of Paraiso (San Luis) and La Gran Piedra (Santiago de Cuba) generates electricity 24 hours a day with support from Geysel (Electrogenic Groups and Electrical Services Company) as per information provided by functionaries of that company to Granma, and that they are vital for both local government and the population.

Through mini-hydroelectric plants, many families have electricity, as has been the case for decades in Pedernal (San Luis) and in dozens of towns throughout Guamá. In this regard, the exploitation of renewable energy sources (solar and hydro) is a viable option to which the country's leadership attaches high priority.

However, in Guaimaral (Ocujal del Turquino, Guamá), its 43 homes do not receive the service – although in the future 300-watt panels will be installed – and this happens in several communities in San Luis, one of the least electrified municipalities in the nation, and other territories in the province, "because at the moment it is very difficult to execute the large investments that would involve bringing the networks and systems to communities that, most of them are at great distances from the lines," the Chief Investment Officer stressed.

Whether in La Pilita (Contramaestre), where 356 people live, or in La Estrella (San Luis), with 25, and in each of the 2,592 families in Santiago – which make up 9,138 individuals – those four hours of daylight and the tangible and often anonymous efforts to ensure that the guarantee is constant are highly valued.

"All those houses save electricity, I tell my wife to do it too. I know when I will leave, but I don't know when I will return. It's a lot of walking and they even nicknamed me the old mountaineer," said Orlando Orive Silva from Kamaz, because the light of the mountains "can't be missing."

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