Friends of Cuba in Australia are invited to take part in the sixth International Brigade of Volunteer Work and Solidarity with Cuba, which will run from April 25 to May 7, 2011. The tour, which is organised by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Cuba’s defeat of the US invasion at the Bay of Pigs (Playa Giron) in the Matanzas province.
December 14, 2010 -- Julian Assange, a man known only to a very few in the world some months ago, is demonstrating that the most powerful empire to have existed in history can be challenged. The daring challenge did not come from a rival superpower; from a state with more than 100 nuclear weapons; from a country with millions of inhabitants; from a group of nations with vast natural resources which the United States could not do without; or from a revolutionary doctrine capable of shaking to its foundations the empire based on plunder and exploitation of the world.
The Cuban Communist Party has called its Sixth Congress for April. It has presented a document for discussion that proposes economic and political reforms to be implement over the next five years. The proposals are outlined in the “The Economic and Social Policy Development Project”, a 32-page pamphlet that establishes 291 “lines of action”. The document covers: the economic management model; macroeconomic and foreign economic policies; investment, agro-industrial and energy plans; and initiatives in the tourism, transport, construction and trade sectors.
A Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) meeting was planned in La Paz, Bolivia on November 10, for ALBA’s Latin American nation members to advocate for a common position on the defence of the rights of Mother Earth. ALBA is an anti-imperialist bloc of eight nations led by Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia. Bolivian environment minister Maria Esther Udaeta said the meeting would discuss the position of ALBA nations at the next United Nations climate summit at Cancun in December.
The United Nations general assembly ratified on October 26, for the 29th consecutive time, the global rejection of the blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba for almost 50 years, Prensa Latina said that day. The isolation of the US government over Cuba was shown by the vote on the resolution entitled “The necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”.
As the rescue of 33 miners trapped 700 metres underground at the San Jose mine in Copiapo, Chile, was drawing closer, concerns were being raised about Chilean miners’ rights. After the August 5 cave-in that trapped the workers, mining company San Esteban sacked more than 200 other miners, refusing to pay their wages and entitlements. The miners union in Chile is demanding the government pay the workers’ wages if the company won’t.
The announcement by the Cuban Trade Union Confederation (CTC) on September 13 about plans to reduce the state sector workforce by half a million was greeted by jeering headlines from journalists outside the island. Cuba is rarely of interest to the corporate press unless they believe there is some crisis to celebrate or that new measures can be interpreted as evidence of a shift from socialism to capitalism.
Misunderstandings over Cuba run very deep — and not just among the enemies of socialism or those who have had little contact with the country. Naturally, people are influenced by the corporate media, which wages a ferocious and relentless propaganda campaign against the little independent island. As former Chilean president Salvador Allende, whose elected government was overthrown in a US military backed coup on September 11, 1973, told the Chilean Senate in 1960: “Day by day and minute by minute … [the corporate media monopolies] misrepresent what is happening in Cuba.”
Comparisons must be made between the impact of the September 5 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the quake that hit Haiti in January. In Haiti — with a population of about 9 million — about 250,000 people died in the earthquake. According to government figures, 200,000 were injured and 1 million were made homeless. Eight months later, disaster still grips people’s lives. Fortunately, but in staggering contrast, no lives were lost in New Zealand, although the earthquake was of a similar — but slightly more powerful — magnitude (7 on the Richter scale).
Actor and activist Danny Glover and veteran actor and former Screen Actors Guild president Edward Asner, called on fellow artists to add their name to a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to issue an executive clemency order to free the Cuban Five. Glover and Asner are co-chairs of Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban Five” The Cuban Five are five Cuban men jailed in the US for their role in collecting information on behalf of the Cuban government on potential terrorist acts by violent anti-Cuban groups in Miami.