Coup Master: Michael Kozak New US Envoy for Latin America


The new acting head of U.S. diplomacy toward Latin America is no stranger to the implementation of interventionist tactics in the region, where for thirty years he learned and perfected the tactics to oust governments.

In par with its belligerent policy towards Latin America, United States President Donald Trump appointed Thursday Michael Kozak as Acting Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, a U.S. diplomat known for his expertise in regime change.

“Kozak is one of those rare diplomats without fear of using force for what the U.S. considers a noble goal," journalist and Director of the Andes section of the Associated Press Joshua Goodman tweeted on Thursday.

This comes as Trump warned that with former National Security Advisor John Bolton out he will enforce an even harder policy against Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, thus Kozak will likely become his ‘go-to-guy’.

The new acting head of U.S. diplomacy toward Latin America is no stranger to the implementation of interventionist tactics in the region, where for thirty years he learned and perfected the tactics to oust governments, a craft that was later exported to Eastern Europe and the former USSR.

Kozak, 73, began his work in the 1970s when he worked as a negotiator on the Panama Canal Treaties during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. He then participated in the U.S. role to downplay the Sandinista revolution in 1978-1979 and was a member of the U.S. mediation team that implemented the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and sought a solution to the Lebanese Civil War.

As many other operatives of regime change under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., he was tasked to push for U.S. interventions in Latin America. Panama’s Manuel Noriega wrote in his memoirs that the two CIA-State Department operatives who were sent to negotiate and then engineer his downfall from power in 1989 were William Walker and Kozak.

In 1991, during his time as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the inter-American Affairs Bureau, Kozak proposed six different options to go against General Manuel Contreras, head of the DINA secret police during Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in Chile.

The most radical option was to covertly snatch Contreras without the consent of the then democratic Chilean government violating international law and the country’s sovereignty in a bid to distance themselves from the U.S.-backed dictatorship in the name of “human rights.”

Then his path through key nations in the region took him to Haiti. In March 1993, Kozak was a deputy to U.S. Special Advisor Lawrence Pezzullo on issues related to the Caribbean nation and part of the U.S.-backed ousting of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

After that from 1996 to 1999, he served as chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, undermining the Cuban government, especially during the island’s “special period.”

Under Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., he took his vast expertise in regime change to the former Soviet bloc. In 2000, Clinton appointed him as U.S. ambassador to Belarus, by 2001 he mounted "Operation White Stork" designed to overthrow President Alexander Lukashenko.

During an exchange of letters to The Guardian in 2001, Kozak unapologetically admitted that he was doing in Minsk exactly what he had been doing in Nicaragua and Panama.

"As regards parallels between Nicaragua in 1989-90 and Belarus today, I plead guilty. Our objective and to some degree methodology are the same," he said.

The strategy repeated in exact detail the tactics the U.S. used to help the Serbian opposition overthrow Slobodan Milosevic, and the Nicaraguan opposition who unseated Daniel Ortega in 1990. Mainly channeling funds to non-governmental organizations, such as the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies (Canvas), to push for regime change from within.

According to leaked internal emails from intelligence firm Stratfor, Canvas “may have also received CIA funding and training during the 1999/2000 anti-Milosevic struggle.” The same strategy which later would be used in Venezuela.

  • Published in World

China to lift punitive tariffs on US pork and soybeans

China will lift punitive tariffs imposed on US soybeans and pork in a trade war with the United States, in a possible goodwill gesture in advance of negotiations next month.

The Xinhua News Agency, citing unidentified sources on Friday, said soybeans, pork and some other farm goods will be exempt from tariff rises.

It gave no indication whether or when purchases might resume. Phone calls to the commerce and finance ministries were not answered on Friday, a national holiday in China.

Beijing imposed tariffs on 25 percent of US farm goods and ordered importers to stop buying soybeans, the biggest US export to China, in response to tariff rises on Chinese goods by President Donald Trump.

A Commerce Ministry spokesman said on Thursday that the importers were asking US suppliers for prices of soybeans and pork. The spokesman did not say if they were planning to place orders.

A day earlier, the US agreed to delay another round of tariffs on Chinese imports by two weeks to October 15.
Cautious optimism

The gestures stoked cautious optimism that the next round of trade talks in October between Washington and Beijing may lead to some progress after a string of failed attempts at resolving the long-standing dispute.

The US-China talks remain stalled since early May, when the two sides appeared to be close to a deal. Along the way, the countries have slapped import taxes on hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of each other's products.

Financial markets were rattled in August as the trade conflict escalated yet again, heightening worries that more tariffs and a slowing global economy could bump the US into a recession. The economic uncertainty has also become a drag on companies.

The two countries' conciliatory moves on Wednesday and Thursday have raised hopes on Wall Street that the upcoming round of trade negotiations may yield a different outcome than previous attempts, given the toll the friction is having on both economies.

"The goodwill moves also highlight the political pressure that both sides are under in response to the economic damage the trade war is causing," Shane Oliver of AMP Capital said in a commentary.

"President Trump in particular looks to be getting nervous at increasing signs that the trade war is impacting the US growth outlook and the risk this poses to his reelection next year."

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United States-2020: How is the Election Process Going?

Although the most widespread opinion estimates that Donald Trump is sure to be reelected in 2020, other assessments support this.


Republicans have now an advantage of 53 against 47.


But, if there is a 50-50 equality, the vice president would break the tie.

An Associated Press (AP) journalist, Nicholas Riccardi, covering the elections believes the Democratic Party faces a geographical dilemma to win both the Senate and the White House.


He warns, this could hinder the chances to win in the upper chamber.


Besides it conditions the democratic triumph if they obtain victory in the industrial northwest, whose white working class has diminished their support.


As for the Senate, Riccardi warns, they are obliged to win the vote on what represents the future of the party.


Who? Professional sectors that reside in the suburbs, youth, and minorities.

Together, it’s estimated, they could reach a majority in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and North Carolina.


Experts believe Democrats gained ground in the West as well in southern states, but neglected their activism in the industrial belt of the northeast.


"They are stranded between the past and the future," said William Frey, a demographer from the Brookings Institution in Washington.


In such a scenario it’s more difficult to select candidates for the Senate.

Observers associate the White House-Senate brawls with the fact that applicants seldom win a position if the presidential candidate loses in his state.


"There’s no doubt that the Sun Belt (the south) will be vital for the Democrats," said Simon Rosenberg, a spokesman for a partisan organization that demographic changes benefit the Democrats.

The latter are obliged to add four benches to reach the senatorial majority.

The far right almost celebrates Trump's success in 2020, but it would be more rational to await the development of events.

"Cuba doesnot betray its Brothers": Ratifies Support for Venezuela

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc received Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz in Hà Nội on Tuesday, pledging to encourage Vietnamese firms’ investment in the Caribbean nation.

Welcoming the delegation to Việt Nam for a meeting of the Việt Nam-Cuba Intergovernmental Committee, Phúc said Việt Nam was delighted at the socio-economic achievements Cuba had obtained recently, noting that the two peoples had a special and faithful relationship that was increasingly consolidated.

Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz vowed every effort to help the inter-governmental committee work effectively.

He said although the Cuban economy was facing numerous difficulties due to sanctions, it was still striving to move forwards. He also appreciated Việt Nam’s rice supply for his country and expressed his hope that the Vietnamese Government would create conditions for businesses to continue the provision.

Highlighting both countries’ resolve to raise bilateral trade to US$500 million in 2020, the official said Cuba wanted to boost exports to Việt Nam, especially healthcare services and biological products, and also wished to attract more investment from the Southeast Asian nation as there are many Vietnamese firms operating effectively in Cuba at present.

Cuba was considering mechanisms and policy improvements to better its investment climate and attract more foreign investment, he noted, adding that as Việt Nam was experienced in agriculture, his country hoped Việt Nam would assist in this field.

As the two countries mark 60 years of their diplomatic relationship in 2020, they should work closely together to organise many practical celebratory activities so as to further promote the traditional friendship, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz said.

He added Cuba highly valued Việt Nam’s growing role and stature, especially when Việt Nam will serve as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for 2020-21 and the ASEAN chair next year.

At the reception, Phúc said the Communist Party and people of Việt Nam always kept in mind the strong support and wholehearted assistance from the Communist Party and people of Cuba during the struggle for national independence and reunification in the past as well as the building of a socialist nation at present.

Việt Nam would continue to work closely with Cuba to ensure stable rice supply and promote its investment in the Caribbean country, he affirmed.

Regarding agricultural co-operation, Việt Nam was ready to assist Cuba on the basis of the latter’s potential and advantages, he said, welcoming Cuba’s intention to boost the export of healthcare services to Việt Nam.

The PM also asked the two countries’ ministries and sectors to continue researching solutions to advance bilateral relations in a result-oriented manner.

He stressed that Việt Nam always supported the Cuban people’s just fight and consistently advocated Cuba’s stance at UN forums.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuba is golden at the Men’s NORCECA Championship

Cuba won the gold-medal match 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 25-20) at the 2019 Men’s NORCECA Continental Championship at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

Cuba led in attack points (46-34), and dominated from the service line (10-5), but the U.S. held its own in blocking with 11 points compared with Cuba’s seven.

Cuba’s was a team effort with Osniel Mergarejo and Miguel Angel Lopez leading scoring with 15 each, followed by Robertlandy Simon (including four aces) with 14 and Marlon Yant with 12.

TJ Defalco and Kyle Ensing had 12 points apiece for the United States.

Cuba had already locked up a spot in the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier next January as the winner of the recent Champions Cup, held in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The U.S. is already qualified for the 2020 Olympics as winner of its pool in the FIVB Qualification Tournament last month.

Cuba, head coach, Yosvany Muñoz Perez: “I’m very happy.  We came here to fight for first place, and that happened. We had very strong serves, the reception was very, very good and our attacking was a good performance.

Our players now will play professionally all over the world and we’ll get back together in December to prepare for the Olympic Qualification tournament. “

USA, head coach, John Hawks: “They served really well, as we expected, and I think offensively they were just a little sharper than they were the other night (when USA won in the pool match).  We didn’t pass as well as we did, we lost the serve/pass game….  Our guys are trying to prove ourselves to our senior teams, to be on the roster….

Leaving here with the silver medal is great, but we want gold.  We’re proud of the effort, but in the end we just weren’t sharp enough, so credit to Cuba, they played great.”

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Turkish military enters Syria to begin joint US ‘safe zone’ patrol

Armed Turkish military vehicles crossed into Syria on Sunday and headed southwest with US counterparts to begin planned joint patrols to establish a “safe zone” along a border region mainly controlled by Kurdish forces.

According to the report by Reuters, vehicles with Turkish flags joined those in Syria with US flags some 15 kilometers (nine miles) east of the Turkish border town of Akcakale, near Syria’s Tel Abyad. Two military helicopters were seen overhead.

The region east of the Euphrates river is mainly controlled by Kurdish YPG forces, US allies that Ankara has labelled terrorists because it says they have links to Kurdish militants in Turkey.

After intensive negotiations, Turkey and the United States have also set up a joint operation centre but have so far disagreed over the zone’s depth and over the command structure of the forces to operate there.

The NATO allies have conducted multiple joint helicopter patrols over the area. Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees after eight years of war south of its border, hopes to resettle 1 million refugees in northern Syria.

“Our geography is an advantage, but we are at a disadvantage in terms of migration and terror,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a CNN Turk interview Sunday.

“If US forces can patrol in the east of Euphrates with our forces and can enter with their own troops, and if there are the (Turkish) observation points in Idlib (in northwest Syria), this is all due to the steps taken by Turkey.”

With US backing over the last four years, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance that the YPG spearheads has taken control of much of northeastern Syria from Islamic State militants.

Many of the inhabitants of the predominately Arab area that is expected to comprise the safe zone – including Tel Abyad, Ras al Ain and several Arab villages – had fled to Turkey fearing reprisals by the YPG on charges they had links to Islamic State.

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Cuban Pres. asserts US fails against Venezuela, attacks Cuba

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel asserted on Saturday that the US Government has failed in its policy against Venezuela and attacks Cuba by further imposing economic sanctions that hurt the people.

'New US sanctions against Cuba. Lies, slander and hypocrisy used as pretext by the US Government to harden the blockade. Due to its failure in Venezuela it lashes out Cuba. We will resist and overcome,' Díaz-Canel wrote in his Twitter account.

'What most affects the Cuban people is the unfair, criminal and prolonged blockade; policy that has failed and is rejected by the international community. The empire uses lies and hypocrisy as a pretext,' added the Head of State in another tweet.

Díaz-Canel reiterated on Twitter his alert about the danger of hegemony and quoted the leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro: '... today you cannot talk about a United Nations system; ... what really exists today is a system of domination of almost every country in the world by a small group of powers that, under the aegis of the United States, determine all matters ...'

  • Published in Cuba

Uncertainty in US Electoral Process, says Cuban Analyst

Cuban analyst Ramon Sanchez-Parodi said that uncertainty persists in the US electoral process, and referred to the effects of President Donald Trump on the general policy of the northern country.

In the Culture and Nation space, held at the José Martí Cultural Society in Havana, the expert in international politics explained this environment is caused by the exacerbation of domestic problems and the disunity that prevails in the Democratic Party, main contender.

He also said the hegemonic policy of the US government is currently at a time of decline.

Sanchez-Parodi pointed out that U.S. public debt this year amounts to 22 trillion dollars, and, in that sense, he warned that the current crisis of that nation could reach an alarming situation.

'If you add to that figure, the indebtedness of the states and the population it increases to more than 70 trillion, which means a sighted impact on the economy,' he said.

He considered that Trump has not found any solution to the problems of U.S. society such as migration, armed violence, the environment and educational indebtedness; on the contrary, he said, it has exacerbated them even more.

Sánchez-Parodi added that in international politics the president abandoned multilateralism and therefore complicated relations to the point of confrontation with nations such as Russia, China, Iran, Germany, among others.

'This can encourage an opposite vote for his re-election if the Democratic Party manages to unite and do a rigorous job to capture voters,' he said.

Similarly, he referred to the lack of confidence of the electorate towards the Democratic and Republican parties, which, despite controlling US policy since 1965, have not resolved the evils that plague U.S. citizens.

He pointed out that another element to consider is the absence of a representative of the interests of the new generations among the applicants.

  • Published in Cuba
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