International News

GLW Issue 1059


Havana, Cuba, July 1.

The US and Cuban governments announced on July 1 the official restoration of formal diplomatic ties by reopening embassies in each country.

The two countries will open embassies as of July 20. The respective US and Cuban special interest sections, which function as diplomatic delegations, will be upgraded to embassies, with ambassadors soon to be appointed.


Cuba is a world leader in healthcare. Photo: socialmedicine.org.

Cuba became the first country in the world to be recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) for officially eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis on June 30.

“This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation” said Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.

Tens of thousands of Hondurans took to the streets in torch-lit marches on June 26 for the fifth week straight of Friday night protests.

Marchers demanded the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez and an independent investigation into the multi-million dollar corruption scandal embroiling the government.

Streets in cities across Greece has erupted into celebrations as results from Sunday’s referendum showed voters clearly rejecting the bailout terms put forward by the country’s lenders.

With over 91 percent of the votes counted, from nearly 9 million voters, the "No" vote rejecting the bailout terms from European Creditors continues to be well ahead in the polls.

Across Africa, western Asia and Latin America in the 1980s, the growth of per capita GDP was brought to a halt. This was not a recession, it was a severe depression. And its cause was reckless lending by banks in the ’70s.

A decade earlier, the euro currency had been invented. US dollars deposited in non-US banks and held there to avoid restrictions of US laws became negotiable financial instruments. These formed the basis for an unregulated market specialising in short-term loans.

President Rafael Correa called a rally on July 2 in defence of democracy and the pro-poor Citizens' Revolution his government leads after plans by the right-wing opposition for a violent coup were exposed.

“We are ready to defend the revolution against the coup plotters,” Correa told thousands of supporters gathered outside the Presidential Palace on the evening of July 2.

“We will remain firm in defending the revolution against the ultra-right.” he added.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro voiced solidarity with the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras on June 30 after Greece failed to pay US$1.8 billion to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Venezuelanalysis.com said on July 1.

“I want to officially express solidarity to Prime Minister Tsipras and the Greek people on behalf of Venezuela,” Venezuela's socialist leader said on his weekly television program shortly after the IMF deadline.


YPJ fighters defending Kobanê, June 26. Photo: ypgrojava.com.

The “Islamic State” (IS) terror group attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France have grabbed global attention and condemnation. But the group's attack on Kobane in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) — and the fierce resistance — has been largely ignored.

“When I graduated from high school - Catholic high school - in 1983, I didn't even think that this would ever be on the map,” said Jeff Mead, now a middle school teacher from San Francisco.

The “map” that Mead was referring to took on a drastically new appearance on June 26 when the US Supreme Court announced its five-four decision to strike down state laws banning same-sex marriage. This effectively legalised such marriages across the US.


Marchers in Honiara in support of West Papua’s bid to join the MSG, June 19.

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) granted the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) observer membership during a summit meeting in Honiara on June 26. It also upgraded Indonesia’s membership from observer to associate.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign (JDC) released figures in April showing the International Monetary Fund had made €2.5 billion of profit out of its loans to Greece since 2010.

With Greece missing its June 30, deadline for a €1.6 billion payment to the IMF, the figure fell to €900 billion. But JDC said if Greece repays the IMF in full, the figure will rise to €4.3 billion by 2024.


Marchers in Athens reject austerity and demands of Greece's creditors, July 3.

The ALBA bloc, comprised of 12 Latin American and Caribbean nations, expressed its support to Greece, as the Mediterranean country continues to renegotiate its debt with eurozone lenders.

In a statement June 28, the bloc, which calls itself a “People’s Trade Treaty,” said it stands with the Greek people and the SYRIZA government against the "destructive consequences of neoliberal transnational capital," which regional organization said looks to subvert Greek democracy through financial measures.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the SYRIZA-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015, on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the Troika — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.

We support the call of SYRIZA for a “no vote” as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country's economy and their own future.

The message from the mainstream media and parties across Europe is Greece is to blame for its own predicament. But a growing grass-roots movement across the continent is pushing for an alternative approach that demands democracy, not austerity.

In a speech to the Belgian parliament on June 10, conservative Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that “the end of the Greek holiday has sounded.”

GLW Issue 1058


Gaza, July 2014.

Israel plans to shut down Palestinian TV station

Israel plans to shut down a new Arabic-language television station that services Palestinian citizens of Israel, Electronic Intifada said on June 25.


People's Climate March, Amsterdam, September 21, 2014. Photo: Urgenda.nl.

Environmental groups have congratulated the Netherlands after 866 Dutch citizens collectively won a lawsuit filed against their own government for “knowingly contributing” to global warming while doing nothing to prevent it.


President Juan Manuel Santos and General Juan Pablo Rodriguez, one of the generals singled out by the report. Photo: Presidency of Colombia via TeleSUR.

Top generals in the Colombian army have been implicated in the long-running “false positives” military scandal, according to a new report Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on June 24.


President Nicolas Maduro supported reparations for slavery after a ceremony that paid tribute to Afro-Venezuelan independence fighter Pedro Camejo.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed support on June 24 for the Caribbean call for reparations from their former colonial powers.


Photo: Agencia Boliviana de Información.

Bolivia's President Evo Morales highlighted the importance of social movements in driving the changes and the economic growth experienced by the South American country in recent years.

The socialist leader, Bolivia's first-ever indigenous head of state, said on June 25 that Bolivia now had greater economic resources available due to the struggle of workers and campesinos.


Jaime Nebot. Photo: ANDES.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa singled out opposition politician Jaime Nebot, who has been calling for protests against the government, as a clear example of the progress the country has made with respect to the collection of taxes.

Correa came to power in 2007. He said in 2006, Nebot paid just US$1994 in income taxes, but by last year the opposition leader was paying US$66,593.


Protest by Awami Workers Party-Sindh against exacerbation of heatwave by corruption and electricity privatisation. Hyderabad, Sindh, June 28. Photo: Awami Workers Party-Sindh/ Facebook.

The death toll in Pakistan's devastating heat wave shot past 1000 on June 25. This makes it the worst heat wave to hit the country's southern city of Karachi in at least 35 years.

Newly released court documents show the US government won a series of court challenges that led to Google having to turn over one years worth of data of user Jacob Appelbaum.

Appelbaum is a WikiLeaks volunteer and a developer for Tor, a free browser and an open network to protect online privacy. He was being targeted by the US Justice Department as part of their criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.

Land rights activists in Honduras' north coast Aguan Valley have condemned what they call an ongoing “hunt” of campesinos (small farmers) in their communities.

The activists are calling for freedom for political prisoners and an end to repression of campesino movements.

Family members of jailed and persecuted rural workers have denounced the “dirty and malicious campaign” of criminalisation against campesino leaders and communities. They accuse the national police, and other state and private security forces, of operating as “a gang of hitmen”.

“Protesters rallied in Columbia on Tuesday to demand the flag's removal from South Carolina's state capitol,” the BBC reported on June 24.

The protest comes in the aftermath of the racist mass murder carried by Dylann Roof on June 17 in Charleston, South Carolina. Roof, who killed nine people in a historic African American church, was photographed with the flag, which still flies over the state's capitol.

The Kurdish town of Kobane in northern Syria was attacked on June 25 by forces from the self-styled Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which crossed from Turkey. This was the first significant IS attack on the town since a five-month siege was repulsed in January.

The attack appears to be a Turkish-backed response to recent military gains made by the Kurdish-led forces of the Women's Defence Units (YPJ) and People's Defence Units (YPG).


President Rafael Correa speaks to thousands of supporters from the presidential palace in Quito's main square, June 15, 2015. Photo: EFE.

French president Francois Hollande called for an emergency meeting with his defence council on June 24, after WikiLeaks released documents showing the United States has been spying on all France's presidents since 2006.

“The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.


The original African Methodist Episcopal church, Charleston, which was burned down by a white mob after Denmark Vesey's planned slave uprising in 1822.

The mass murder of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina, by a white racist on June 17 has been widely denounced. But to understand this hate crime — a terrorist attack — it has to be put into the broader political context.


Turkish-backed terrorists have massacred civilians in Kobanê. Photo: Kurdish Resistance & Liberation/Facebook.