Protests in Canada Due to Inauguration of Trump Tower

Ottawa, Feb 28 (Prensa Latina) Hundreds of activists from Canadian social organizations will participate in a protest against the opening of a building with the name of US President Donald Trump in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.

The two eldest sons of the US tycoon, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., will attend the inauguration of the 69-storey, 360-million-dollar building that combines a hotel and private residences, and in fact, does not belong to the US president, but he granted the license to use his trademark.

Two groups of protesters will express their rejection to visitors around the site: Resist 4 Peace and Occupy Vancouver, who will act from different parts of the city, where 48 percent of its residents are immigrants.

According to Councilman Kerry Jan, the presence of the building in the center of the city is a monument to racism, intolerance, and ridicule, while Mayor Gregor Robertson said he would not attend the ceremony as a sign of rejection of this work.

The local Police Department (VPD) has already had experiences in confronting several demostrations against Trump in recent months and a strong presence of law enforcement is expected during these activities.

Adam Palmer, VPD's chief, said the entity is in touch with the Secret Service, Trump Tower staff, and the organizers of the marches to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

British Columbia Prime Minister Christy Clark said the name does not represent the values of the city, whose inhabitants and authorities support the defense of the environment and a tolerant attitude toward drug use.

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‘No evidence’ yet of Trump campaign contacts with Russia – House Intelligence Committee Chair

The House Intelligence Committee probe into possible improper contacts between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia has not found any evidence yet, according to the Republican committee chair.

“We still have not seen any evidence” that the Trump campaign communicated with Russia, Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, told reporters on Monday.

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who spoke with the Russian Embassy in Washington prior to the inauguration, was just doing his job, Nunes said. He added that US intelligence services eavesdropping on the call amounted to “inadvertent collection,” but was “very interested” to find out who made the decision to publish Flynn’s name.

The Logan Act’s ridiculous and you know it,” Nunes told reporters who inquired whether Flynn was acting improperly.

No one has ever been prosecuted under the early 19th-century law banning US citizens from engaging in foreign policy without government sanction.

Reports that US intelligence services were listening in on the call were leaked in papers critical of the Trump administration following the inauguration, resulting in mounting pressure on Trump to fire Flynn, who resigned on February 14.

Democrats have claimed that Russian security services, personally directed by President Vladimir Putin, interfered in the US presidential election to help Trump, and even accused the Republican of being “Putin’s puppet.”

The accusations began after Democratic National Committee emails were published by WikiLeaks on the eve of the party’s national convention, revealing collusion among senior officials and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In October, WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of emails from the private account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. Clinton and the DNC likewise blamed the disclosure on Moscow.

Intelligence Committee’s ranking member, Adam Schiff (D-California), has emerged as one of the loudest voices claiming Russian interference in the US elections and aid to the Trump campaign. No evidence of either claim has ever been provided to the public.

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Iran Reiterates Criticism of Trump by Praising Oscar for The Salesman

Tehran, Feb 27 (Prensa Latina) Iran received today the Oscar won by director Asghar Farhadi with ''The Salesman'' as another triumph for his cinematography and an occasion to lash out at US President Donald Trump's immigration policy.

In addition to the specialized press, all news media - printed, radio, television and digital - echoed the award given by the Hollywood Academy to the Best Foreign Language Film today (yesterday in Los Angeles), but above all, they highlighted the message of Farhadi.

The Persian director explained that his absence at the ceremony was 'out of respect for the people of my country and those six other nations who have been disrespected by the inhuman law that prohibits the entry of immigrants to the United States,' alluding to a recent and controversial decision by Trump.

Following a provision by the White House new tenant, the United States issued a visa veto for citizens of Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries, sparking widespread criticism from human rights organizations, social activists, and religious circles.

'Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear,' said Farhadi, who already won a golden statuette in 2012 in the same category for his film 'A Separation' (2011).

His message was read to the public by two Iranian-Americans who represented the director at the 89th Academy Awards, Anousheh Ansari, the first engineer female space tourist, and Professor Firouz Naderi, former Director of Solar Systems Exploration at NASA.

Farhadi added that the stance of the new US Republican administration is 'a dishonest justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries that have been the victims of aggression.'

Meanwhile, sources in Tehran hailed the second laureate for Iranian filmmaking, particularly for Farhadi, but honored his position announced on January 29 of refusing to travel to Hollywood, even if he was granted an exception to the presidential order.

While Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was proud of the Oscar Award and the position of the film director, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013) issued an open letter to Trump, blaming him for his immigration policy, Middle East interventionism and treatment to women.

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Meet the Afro-Latinx Activists Empowering Black Immigrants

Attacks on immigrants in the United States are undoubtedly on the rise across the board, but the experiences of Black immigrants, who face particular forms of racism, are often erased from dominant narratives on migration.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected last November, there have been over 1,000 reported hate crimes against immigrants across the country, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports. In 2015 alone, there were 5,850 reported hate crime incidents nationally, up 6.8 percent from 5,479 in 2014.

While anti-immigrant hate crimes were already heightening prior to Trump’s election, his tirades against immigrants have only made the situation worse.

In Washington state, for example, Trump supporters spray-painted a swastika with a racist message referring to the President on a Mexican family’s home in Spokane. The graffiti read “Can’t stump the Trump, Mexicans.”

“We’re afraid they’re going to do something,” Leticia Rosas told the Spokesman-Review. Rosas lives in the house with her husband and their three children.

And in Michigan, a Trump supporter called a Grand Rapids church with a large Latino population and left a racist voicemail.

“I hope Trump gets ya,” the suspect said. “Trump’s gonna get your asses out of here and throw you over the wall. You dirty rotten scumbags.”

These hate crimes are just a sample of the oppression that most immigrants, especially those who are undocumented, experience on a daily basis.

But for many Black immigrants, there’s an added form of oppression as a result of the anti-Black racism they face.

Black immigrants are much more likely than nationals from other regions to be deported due to a criminal conviction, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, BAJI, reports. Black immigrants also have the highest unemployment rates amongst all immigrant groups.

It doesn’t stop there.

Black immigrants are also least likely to receive Temporary Protected Status, TPS, preventing them from being deported back to often war-torn or environmentally-damaged countries.

It’s no surprise that this particular demographic is among the most persecuted, given the long history of racism against Black communities in the United States. But little known to many is that Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the country.

The immigrant rights movement tends to be dominated by non-Black Spanish-speaking Latinos. But as the population of Black immigrants in the U.S. continues to increase, a growing number of Afro-Latinx organizers are uniting to serve this disproportionately attacked immigrant group.

teleSUR spoke to three Afro-Latinx activists to discuss how they are organizing to empower Black immigrants in their communities and what life for Black immigrants looks like.

Rocio Silverio: Fighting anti-Blackness

Silverio is national coordinator for the Black Immigration Network, a project of BAJI that works for policy and cultural shifts promoting a racial justice and migrant rights agenda. Silverio, based in New York City, is of Dominican heritage and identifies as Black.

For Silverio, the struggle to empower Black immigrants is connected with the struggle against anti-Blackness.

“In our immigrant communities, anti-Blackness and colorism takes shape in different ways,” she said.

“For those in our communities who practice anti-Blackness, it won't save or spare them from the injustices of white supremacy.”

Silverio’s organization is involved in campaigns that bring visibility to Black immigrants through advocacy, organizing and coalition building. BAJI is active in assisting Black immigrants facing deportations with legal resources. The organization also works alongside families from African, Latin American and Caribbean countries to challenge immigration policies that separate children from their parents.

While Silverio believes Trump’s administration is presenting more problems for Black immigrants, she says that previous administrations have been complicit in their oppression.

“The groundwork was laid out with the Clinton and Obama administrations,” she said. “It started with the last comprehensive reform of immigration laws in 1996, which increased deportations and applied them retroactively.”

Silverio has also been involved in campaigns to defend Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic facing persecution. In 2013, when the Dominican government issued a ruling denationalizing an estimated 250,000 Haitians living in the country, she and others immediately hit the streets in protest.

Since then, she’s been active in challenging racism within community spaces in solidarity with Black immigrants.

“As many of us in the African diaspora, we understand the plight of being marginalized under structural racism,” Silverio said.

“It is our responsibility to work with people from other Black immigrant groups fighting for their lives."

Fatima Murrieta: "Blackify-ing" immigrant rights

​​​​​​​Murrieta is co-founder of the UndocuBlack Network, a new organization whose mission is to “Blackify” the undocumented immigrant narrative in the U.S. and facilitate access to resources for the Black undocumented community. Murrieta, based in Los Angeles, was born in Colombia and identifies as Afro-Latinx.

Murrieta believes that the existing immigrant rights structure has not properly welcomed Black immigrants into accessing resources, thus inspiring her to take action.

“Many immigration groups think they should only focus on the ‘majority,’ who are oftentimes non-Black. That has been a huge barrier in integrating Afro-Latinx and Black immigrants,” she said.

“We need to have a movement that actively engages impacted people, and that includes Black immigrants. We need to build trust in their communities.”

UndocuBlack Network was founded in Miami, Florida, in January 2016 as a gathering of over 65 Black undocumented persons in the area. Since then, the organization has been involved in planning similar assemblies across the country, as well as developing mental health initiatives, resource guides and telephone-based support groups.

Murrieta, who spearheads UndocuBlack Network’s Los Angeles branch, has organized workshops for Black immigrants interested in applying for citizenship. While providing legal resources is an important part of empowering their community, she believes addressing their health issues is just as important.

“There is a huge physical and mental hardship that Black immigrants experience in this country,” she said.

“They live under constant stress that isn't healthy. This stress forces them to get things like high blood pressure, which they are disproportionately affected by.”

Murrieta is currently partnering with high schools and colleges in the South Los Angeles area to host “Know Your Rights” trainings, legal fairs and health clinics catered toward Black immigrant youth.

Pablo Blanco: Welcoming the Garifuna Diaspora

Blanco is the founder of Garifuna Nation, a new organization that promotes the culture, identity and economic well-being of the Garifuna diaspora. Blanco, based in New York City, is of Honduran heritage and identifies as Garifuna, an Afro-descendent community that has lived for centuries on the Caribbean coast of Central America, especially Honduras.

For Blanco, who works closely with newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras, immigration resources designed specifically for his community are hard to come by.

“We don’t have a strong support system for all this like other communities do,” he said.

“Since we come from rural communities in Honduras, we’re not used to dealing with other people on a personal basis. There’s sometimes a trust issue. We would rather deal with our own people in regards to something like this, especially because of language.”

Because of this, Blanco is working with other grassroots organizations to create legal clinics for Garifuna people who prefer to speak their native language when seeking immigration help. He is also working alongside elders of his community to create economic development plans for newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants.

He is also actively organizes cultural events across New York City that promote Garifuna history, culture, dance and tradition. For Blanco, it’s a way to teach and build relations with other immigrant groups, which he believes are necessary tasks.

“All of us have to work with each other because we are all fighting for the same dreams,” Blanco said.

“With other Black immigrant communities from Latin America, we can communicate in Spanish. We also have shared experiences travelling to the U.S. that unite us. That’s a starting point.”

Blanco takes inspiration from his grandfather, who helped over 38 Garifuna relatives from Honduras move to their neighborhood in The Bronx. Today, the area has become home to thousands of newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants from Honduras seeking refuge.

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‘Fake news, military budget, trade deals’: Trump speaks at CPAC

President Donald Trump intends to keep his promises to the American people, from securing the border and fighting terrorism, to rebuilding US industry and the country’s military, he told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland.

On media

“The media didn’t think we would win. The pundits didn’t think we’d win. The consultants that sucked up all that money… didn’t think we would win. But they all underestimated the power of the people. And the people proved them all wrong,” Trump said, to cheers from the crowd.

“I’m not against the media,” Trump said, explaining what he meant when he called some media “enemies of the people” in a tweet. “I am against only the fake news media or the press. Fake,” he stressed.

“I’m against the people who make up sources and make up stories,” he said, while urging the media to stop quoting unnamed sources and cite people by name.

Criticizing journalists does not run against the constitutional protection of free speech, Trump argued.

“I love the First Amendment. Nobody loves it more than me. Who uses it more than I do?” he joked, adding that it also gives people the right to criticize “fake news.”

“[Fake news] doesn’t represent the people, it never will represent the people, and we have to do something about it,” he said.

READ MORE: ‘Make America great again’ & other Trump pledges after 30 days as US President

‘I like Bernie’

The president had some kind words for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, but lost to Hillary Clinton.

“Bernie was right on one issue: trade,” Trump said, adding that he had attracted a lot of Sanders supporters in the general election. “Actually, I like Bernie.”

Sanders’ movement “petered out,” because the Democratic primary system was “a little rigged against him,” Trump said, adding just one word – “Superdelegates!” – to the laughter of the audience.

Keeping promises

“Basically, all I have done is keep my promise,” Trump said, reminding CPAC attendees of his campaign platform and the steps he has taken to implement it – from cracking down on illegal immigrants and building a border wall to repealing Obamacare and reviewing “terrible” trade deals.

“Remember the lie, 28 times? ‘You can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan?’ Over and over you heard it. So, we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare,” he said, referring to his predecessor’s pitch for the healthcare mandate.

“Politically, the best thing to do is nothing. Let it implode. Two years, don’t do anything. Democrats will come to us and beg,” he said. “But it’s not the right thing to do to the American people.”

“The era is empty talk is over. Now is the time for action,” Trump said.


U.S. President Donald Trump © Jonathan Ernst

America first

“The core conviction of our movement is that we are a nation that puts and will put its own citizens first,” Trump told the audience at CPAC.

Building the wall will stop drugs from “pouring into our nation and poisoning our youth.”

A border tax will fund the rebuilding of neglected communities, including inner cities. Deporting illegal immigrants will “save countless American lives.”

Right now, immigration enforcement is rounding up criminals and “throwing them the hell out of our country,” he said.

Trump reminded the audience that he has already made good on one promise: withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). He pledged to cut regulations that stifle business, while keeping the ones related to safety and the environment in place. He also vowed to cut taxes on the middle class and businesses and simplify the tax code.

“It’s time for all Americans to get off of welfare and go back to work. You’re going to love it!” Trump said.

At the same time, the president promised a massive military build-up.

“Nobody will dare question our military might again. We believe in peace through strength and that’s what we’ll have,” he said.

“There is no dream too large, no task too great. We are Americans. The future belongs to us,” Trump said, adding “America is going to be bigger, and better and stronger than ever before.”

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RT Television Network Denounces Alleged Democrat Plan to Oust Trump

RT (formerly called Russia Today), a state-run Russian television network, denounced today the existence of an alleged Democratic Party plan to remove US President Donald Trump, who appeared as a Republican candidate in the November election.

According to the television network, the document, prepared by David Brock, includes a strategic plan of actions to overthrow Trump.

The plan, which was accessed by RT, was exposed at a meeting of Democratic Party members with investors in Florida and provides for measures to ensure impeachment of Trump in 2020.

For this, the television network emphasizes, the main weapon of the aforementioned plan, should have been criticism of all errors of the multimillionaire-turned- politician.

The intention was to create a team to follow up on Trump's relations with the leaders of other nations and closely follow all steps of the new administration, RT said.

RT says that actions to counter what they consider as disinformation of the conservative media in favor of the billionaire are mentioned among the main tasks of the Democrats.

In addition, Democrats are willing to collaborate with Facebook to prevent the social network from spreading awkward information from a Democrat point of view, the Russian press media reports.

Trump campaigned in the run-up to the November 8 election for improved relations with Russia, although in recent days he made statements that cast doubt on those intentions.

The US president maintains an internal dispute with intelligence agencies that insist on investigating alleged relations of his team with Russian officials to supposedly interfere in the political process of the northern country.

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Beyoncé Posts For First Time In Weeks To Support LGBTQ Students

Beyoncé is making her voice heard when it comes to rights for the LGBTQ community. 

On Wednesday, theT rump administration announced it will be rolling back protections put in place by the Obama administration that barred schools from discriminating against transgender students. The previous policy stated that schools receiving federal money must treat a student’s gender identity as his or her sex, which includes using the restroom of his or her gender identity. 

Beyoncé shared a message in support of LGBTQ youth, along with a link to GLSEN’s 100 Days of Kindness challenge. GLSEN is a group that works to ensure the safety of LGBTQ students in schools.

GLSEN’s 100 Days of Kindness is an initiative to build a virtual “wall of kindness” with messages of support and reassurance for LGBTQ students. 

Since the election, we’ve seen an increase in reports of harassment, bullying, and violence towards LGBTQ students in schools. Now with a new administration in office, there’s growing anxiety among LGBTQ students about what they might face. 

The group is thankful for Beyoncé’s message. 

“We are so thrilled that Beyoncé is standing up for transgender youth by joining GLSEN’s 100 Days of Kindness Campaign at this very difficult time,” executive director Dr. Eliza Byard said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “There is a great deal of confusion and fear out there right now, and Beyoncé has the unique power to cut through the noise to deliver a crucial message of love and support to all transgender youth. Thank you, Beyoncé. (And I cannot wait to tell my daughters about your support.)”

This is not the first time the “Lemonade” singer has stood up for this issue. Back in May, she spoke out against North Carolina’s anti-LGBT bathroom bill by stressing the need to support groups that promote equality and justice. 

Other celebrities spoke out for transgender kids this week following the White House’s decision.

@TheEllenShow For anyone who feels scared or hopeless, know that we will never stop fighting for your rights.

@EllenPage We need to protect trans youth and stand up against this cruelty that hurts our kids. Support @Translifeline

@MarkRuffalo Ugly! Trump administration set to rescind protections for transgender students by @aterkel transgender_us_58ac4fe8e4b0a855d1d9d278?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004  via @HuffPostPol

Always. Trans Lifeline US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366

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WTO Without US? Trump Trade Agenda Clashes With New Global Rules

Lower imports tariffs, as proposed by the WTO, do not fall in line with Donald Trump’s idea of the US role in foreign trade, which might eventually result in America leaving the WTO and reshaping the entire landscape of international exchange in goods and services.

Kristian Rouz – A protectionist approach to international trade, repeatedly reiterated by Donald Trump’s administration, is becoming increasingly contradictory to the new global trade rules enforced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The international organisation, aiming for the increased laissez faire in global trade in goods and services, has lowered the tariffs on Wednesday, having stated that lower imports tariffs would boost the volume of trade by roughly $1 trln per year.

The Trump administration, however, is hardly enthusiastic over the WTO agenda. The White House is drafting a proposed US trade reform, which would raise imports tariffs and lower exports tariffs, and this protectionist approach to foreign trade goes the opposite direction to that of the WTO.

This conflict of interest might result in the US eventually leaving the WTO amidst the concerns of the increasingly unfair trade competition as practiced within the organisation.

“I heard the US team complaining about unfair trade,” Roberto Azevedo, the WTO’s Director-General said. “Every single country in the WTO complains about unfair trade. What you do about that is the big question.”

Donald Trump has said on several occasions that the US is being taken advantage of in their foreign trade by other countries, which have lower manufacturing throughput costs, stemming from easier access to raw materials and very cheap labour. Imported goods have subsequently pushed the more expensive US-made goods out of the American domestic market, which imposes significant limitations on US economic growth, wages and salaries, and the labour market.

“President Trump, during his election run, made it very clear that if we cannot get the WTO to enforce the rules that everybody agreed to when they joined up, then the WTO will have lost its effectiveness and we will re-evaluate whether we even belong to the WTO or not,” Dan DiMicco of Nucor Steel Corp. said.

On his campaign trail last year, Trump had said the US might leave the WTO due to his commitment to restore the US manufacturing and overall output in US-made goods. Moreover, the Trump-proposed lower US export tariffs are designed to enhance the presence of US enterprises in the global market, and low imports tariffs imposed by the WTO on other nations would come in handy.

Other WTO members would not be happy with Trump’s trade reform, and might enforce their own protectionist tariffs accordingly. This would effectively mark an end of the WTO.

On Wednesday, the WTO streamlined customs proceeding for all of its member states as part of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (FTA), described as "the biggest reform of global trade in a generation" by the WTO’s Azevedo. According to the WTO economists, emerging markets will be the greatest beneficiaries of the reform, the final goal of which is eliminating imports tariffs.

Advanced economies will therefore face an even greater influx of cheaper foreign-made goods, which will further decimate their manufacturing capacity. This is hardly a possibility under the Trump administration in the US, and Brexit and the rise of populist right movements in continental Europe are all likely an indication of a conservative revolution in global trade.

Trump is intending to slap Mexico with a 35-percent import tariff, and mainland China with a 45-percent import tariff. Both would violate the WTO rules, therefore, both Mexico and China, for example, would win in the settlement proceedings against the US within the WTO.

Trump, who referred to the WTO as a ‘disaster,’ along with his team, must have a clear understanding that greater trade protectionism is hardly compatible with a membership in an international organisation based on the principles of laissez faire.

The new White House administration has stated that mutually beneficial bilateral trade deals with other nations will likely be a cornerstone of the new US foreign trade policy. Meanwhile, Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) last month, and is aiming to renegotiate or eliminate NAFTA, the 23-year-old trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Against the backdrop of these developments, pulling the US from the WTO might only be a matter of time. The bigger question is, would other advanced nations follow the US exiting the WTO in order to support their domestic industries, and how would that subsequently affect the WTO rules.

  • Published in World
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