Trump launches new Pentagon command for space warfare

Washington, August 30 (RHC)-- U.S. President Donald Trump has established a new Pentagon agency, under the command of US Air Force General John Raymond, dedicated to warfare in space as Washington considers China and Russia its rivals in the new military frontier.

"This is a landmark day, one that recognizes the centrality of space to America's security and defense," Trump said in a White House ceremony on Thursday.  "SpaceCom will ensure that America's dominance in space is never threatened,” he said.

The Space Command will be responsible for planning and carrying out space operations.  It is a new organizational structure within the Pentagon that will have overall control of military space operations.  It will have 87 units at its launch with abilities including missile warning, satellite operations, space control and space support.

Trump has long expressed concerns about the growing military capabilities of Russia and China beyond Earth.  He has insisted such a move is necessary to tackle vulnerabilities in space and assert U.S. dominance in orbit.  "The dangers to our country constantly evolve and so must we," said Trump.

"Our adversaries are weaponizing earth's orbits with new technology targeting American satellites that are critical to both battlefield operations and our way of life at home,” he said.  "Our freedom to operate in space is also essential to detecting and destroying any missile launched against the United States," he added.

US Air Force General John Raymond will lead the new command.  Earlier, General John Raymond, who was confirmed as the commander of Space Command by the Senate in June, said that US rivals China and Russia are already investing huge resources into space operations.

"We are at a strategic inflection point where there is nothing that we do as a joint coalition force that isn't enabled by space," Raymond told reporters at the Pentagon.

"I'm convinced that space is a war-fighting domain. I'm convinced that our way of life and our way of war depend on space capabilities," he said.  The Space Command is the Pentagon's 11th full command and second launched in two years.  SpaceCom, as it will inevitably come to be known, is viewed as a step toward the Space Force military branch, which would need congressional approval.

The creation of "Space Command" would also start out a turf war within the Pentagon, mainly with the Air Force, which currently is responsible for most space operations.

  • Published in World

Truths and Lies of the Cuban Medical Missions

The campaign of Donald Trump's government against Cuba reached levels verging on absurdity.

Now, Washington accuses Havana of earning money by "exploiting" and "enslaving" the Cuban doctors who work abroad. Paradoxes of politics: those who invented labor exploitation and founded their country on the pillars of pro-slavery laws, accusing others of practicing their methods. Therefore, it’s unknown if the United States accuses Cuba for the exploitation as such, or for apparent plagiarism of its government system.

But, it’s neither one nor the other.

What really happens is that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, tweeted that they would reduce visas to Cuban officials related to the worldwide famous Cuban medical missions, on the grounds of the North American Law of Immigration and Nationality. Pompeo said that the Cuban President, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, benefits with money by exploiting the professionals of the Cuban medicine.

Pompeo’s narrative begins from the exit of more than fourteen thousand professionals Cuban doctors from Brazil, after the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro. The United States affirms that Cuba keeps more than the 80% of the salaries dedicated to the doctors, on behalf of the countries benefitted with the missions. The Brazilian president blackmailed with the story that the Cuban medical mission could remain in Brazilian territory provided they gave its members 100% of the earnings and they equalize their studies with the norm of that country.

On top of that a demand on Miami courtrooms (of course, it had to be in Miami) of two supposed Cuban doctors against the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) accusing it of facilitating the creation of a "human traffic network" and "slavery" on behalf of the Cuban State. But PAHO – a branch of WHO -, it’s bewildered because this accusation was placed on the capital of Florida and not in Washington where the organization has its headquarters.

What lies in the background is the intention of using the system in motion by those against Cuba in that city dominated by senator Marco Rubio, to reply the accusations against the medical missions of Cuba, in harmony with the narrative of Donald Trump's government.

But, then does Cuba exploit its doctors? Do the Cuban government keeps more than half of their salary?

The first thing to be noticed is that the United States uses concepts like "exploitation" or "slavery" without really fully understanding their meaning.

For example, professional exploitation is, anywhere in the world, the promise of obtaining economic success studying an university majoring, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange, with the threat that, if you don't pay that money, the bank will keep your house and all your assets. That is a type of exploitation that suffer millions of young people in the United States who don’t have access to University because, it they do so, they would have to take two or three jobs with a lousy pay the bills. That, furthermore, is slavery.

In Cuba, anyone can study whatever they wish free of charge. All graduates from the School of Medical Sciences or from the Latin American School of Medicine had to starve in order to study in the best medical classrooms in the American continent.

How is this possible, being Cuba a poor country?

The answer is simple. Health services provided by the company Cuban Medical Services S.A., branch of the Ministry of Health, pay for the dreams of thousands.

Everybody knows that the Cuban medicine is quite prestigious, and that is because health in Cuba is seen as a right, and not as a commodity. For that reason for Mike Pompeo is really hard to believe that those Cuban doctors lend their services without expecting any profits. They are heroes in their country, and both them as their families have everything they need. The wealth they earn stays with them, with their relatives and to keep the dream of thousands of Cubans who support them, and hundreds of youngsters coming from third-world nations who study for free in Cuban universities.

On the other hand, in Mexico, the cost for a university diploma can reach up to a thousand monthly dollars. What about in the United States?…

But let’s Return to Cuba.

Cuba has kept for fifty years more than six hundred thousand medical missions in a hundred and sixty four countries, in which more than four hundred thousand health workers have collaborated. If two doctors recently occupy the anti-Cuban structure of Miami to try to throw dirt on the system that gave them school and healthcare, it’s not for free, but surely for some payment in return.

Cuban medical missions have fought the Ebola outbreak in Africa, the blindness in Latin America and the Caribbean; cholera in Haiti and twenty-six Groups of Specialized Doctors in Disasters and large outbreaks have been created to fight natural disasters in Pakistan, Mexico, Indonesia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Venezuela and so many others.

How much would it cost the United States to pay for that service?

Today, thousands of indigenous in the Brazilian Amazon die of curable illnesses due to the departure of Cuban doctors; of course, to those faraway places never want to go those who only study medicine to become millionaires with the medicines and the business of death.

Cuban medical missions have always gone to remote places and of difficult access; they are moved by a solidary calling and they would assist even the children of Trump and Bolsonaro.

Some similar happened to the Chilean ultra-conservative politician, Andrés Allamand, related to Cuba and its health system when his little son, of only four years old, suffered a neurological accident after falling in a pool:

"My wife and I receive a direct call from Fidel Castro where he offered us help in the treatment and recovery of our boy", said Allamand to the newspaper Cooperativa. The offer of help on behalf of the Cuban Commander in Chief "impressed me a lot."

The Chilean politician said: "The first time I spoke to him I told him that if he knew who I was, I told him that I was a leader from the opposition and he replied: 'I have everything absolutely clear and this has nothing to do with that' ".

Fidel "took my boy's recovery as something personal and he dedicated him some time for many years" (…) "My family and I have but the greatest human appreciation", said Allamand.

Hence, when in year 2003 Andrés' son Allamand died, the family decided "as a token of appreciation, to take his ashes to Cuba."

That is, of course, the true impression of the Cuban medicine. Not the one that wants to sell Pompeo, and the propaganda machine at his service.

Iran Tanker Released By Gibraltar After 6 Weeks Now Headed To Lebanon

An Iranian tanker released this month after being detained for six weeks by the British overseas territory of Gibraltar is now headed for Lebanon, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

"This tanker is not heading actually to Eskerun (in Turkey), this tanker is heading to Lebanon," Cavusoglu said during a visit to Oslo, referring to the Adrian Darya 1 vessel. The ship was suspected of transporting crude oil to Syria and the US has called for it to be seized.

  • Published in World

U.S. opens Venezuelan diplomatic office in Colombian capital

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department on Wednesday opened a representative office for Venezuela in Bogota, Colombia, and said it will continue its opposition to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and support for opposition leader Juan Guaido from there.

The Venezuela Affairs Unit (VAU) will be headed by James Story, the U.S. charge d’affaires to Venezuela, who was among the last American diplomats withdrawn from the U.S. embassy in Caracas in March as conditions deteriorated in the country.

“The VAU will continue to work for the restoration of democracy and the constitutional order in that country, and the security and well-being of the Venezuelan people,” the department said in a statement.

Washington has been trying to cut off money to Maduro’s government in an economic and diplomatic campaign aimed at pressuring the socialist leader to step down.

The United States and most Western nations support Guaido, the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, as the country’s legitimate president. Maduro has accused Guaido of mounting a U.S.-directed coup attempt earlier this year.

In Caracas on Wednesday, Guaido announced the appointment of four new ministers for foreign relations, economic affairs, asset protection and human rights. The majority of them are out of the country due to legal measures from Maduro’s government.

Leopoldo López, founder and leader of Guaido’s Volutad Popular political party, will be coordinating the new ministers. López has been in the residence of the Spanish ambassador in Caracas since May after ending his house arrest.

The new team is intended “to address the complex humanitarian emergency ... and, of course, to prepare for the transition of government,” Guaido said.

More than 1.4 million Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia in recent years, fleeing the deep political and economic crisis that has caused long-running shortages of food and medicines.

Colombia has borne the brunt of mass migration from its neighbor.

  • Published in World

Beijing vows to take ‘more steps’ to protect its interests if Trump raises tariffs on China

China will enact new measures to safeguard its economy if the United States moves forward with its threat to impose higher tariffs, Beijing has warned.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday that it is resolutely opposed to new US tariffs and issues between the two countries should be resolved with talks. He added that China hopes the US moves back to the path of rationality and “decoupling” won’t resolve the current impasse.

Also on US-China trade talks to restart soon, Beijing wants both back at negotiating table - Trump...

The sentiments were echoed by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He who was speaking at a tech conference in Chongqing on Monday. Liu, China’s top trade negotiator, said that China is willing to resolve the trade war through calm negotiations and resolutely opposes the escalation of the conflict, the Chongqing Morning Post reported.

The comments come in the wake of President Donald Trump announcing an extra 5 percent duty on some $550 billion of Chinese goods on Friday. That move followed China’s announcement of retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion of imports from the US as the trade war continues to spiral.

China's yuan fell to an 11-year low on Monday as the latest escalation spooked investors.

At the G7 summit on Sunday, Trump said that he could declare the escalating US-China trade war as a national emergency if he wanted to. “In many ways, this is an emergency,” he said.

  • Published in World

Iran sends 2 warships to Gulf of Aden to escort commercial vessels

The Islamic Republic of Iran has sent a destroyer and a helicopter carrier to protect its trade ships in the Gulf of Aden, amid a US-driven military build-up in the volatile region, and mutual tanker seizures.

The destroyer ‘Sahand’ and the helicopter carrier ‘Khark’ have been sent to the Gulf of Aden and Sea of Oman to escort Iranian ships and provide them with security in international waters, according to Iranian Chief of Staff Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

The ‘Sahand’, commissioned in December 2018, is Iran’s most advanced home-made warship. It has a stealth hull and can travel a lot further than the previous class destroyers without refueling. It is armed with an array of anti-ship cruise missiles, torpedoes, and anti-aircraft guns.

Also on Iran seeks to revive oil pipeline across Iraq to Syria amid tensions in Hormuz strait – media...

Tehran’s move comes amid increased tensions in the region, with US and UK warships operating in and around the Persian Gulf under the default premise that Iran is the aggressor behind June’s attacks on two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. The situation became even more tense after the Iranian tanker ‘Grace 1’ (later renamed ‘Adrian Darya’) was seized off the coast of Gibraltar for allegedly carrying oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. It was later released, despite US requests to detain it again. In a reciprocal move, Iran detained a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf; it remains in Tehran’s custody.

In a drive to suffocate Iran’s economy, US President Donald Trump’s administration has been cracking down on its attempts to sell oil. Accusing Tehran of ‘sponsoring terrorism’ and running a secret nuclear program, Washington has beefed up its military in the region with more troops and hardware, including an aircraft carrier and bombers.

The United States’ most devoted ally in Europe, the UK, is the only country, so far, to apparently support Trump’s call for an international anti-Iran armada in the region. It has sent three new warships to reinforce its presence there in recent weeks, with the stated goal of protecting shipping lanes.

Also on UK sends 3rd warship to reinforce US-led anti-Iran armada in Persian Gulf

  • Published in World

MLB bans playing in Venezuela amid Trump order

Major League Baseball has banned all affiliated players from participating in the Venezuela winter league this season, a response intended to comply with President Donald Trump's embargo against the country's Nicolas Maduro-led government.

"MLB has been in contact with the relevant government agencies regarding the Executive Order issued by President Trump on Venezuela," the league said in a statement. "MLB will fully adhere to the policies implemented by our government. With respect to the Venezuela Winter League, MLB will suspend its involvement in that league until it receives direction from the relevant agencies that participation by affiliated players is consistent with the Executive Order."

The potential repercussions of the prohibition, which prevents major league and minor league players from joining the 75-year-old Liga Venezolana de Beísbol Profesional (LVBP), could be significant. Multiple sources told ESPN they feared the ban would warp the heretofore strong bond between MLB and Venezuela and spawn a situation similar to that of Cuba, another embargoed country whose complicated relationship with the league has festered for decades.

Dozens of affiliated players either return home to Venezuela or travel there annually to play winter ball, as many supplement paltry minor league incomes with low- to mid-five-figure sums to play in a 63-game season. The LVBP, whose champion participates with those from the Dominican, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban and Panamanian leagues in the annual Caribbean Series, is sponsored by Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the country's state-run oil company, according to sources.

The murkiness of the LVBP's link to a government-run business spurred MLB to consider the ban and consult with the Major League Baseball Players Association, according to sources. The fear, sources said, is that players agreeing to deals with a government-affiliated entity -- or agents consummating the deals -- would run afoul of the Aug. 5 executive order, which banned any such transactions.

Venezuela, once a bustling economic power in Latin America, has plunged into crisis, with widespread food and medicine shortages, millions of refugees leaving the country and toxic political infighting. The U.S. recognizes Juan Guaidó, the leader of the opposition, as president instead of Maduro, who remains in power.

One consequence of MLB's plan, sources said, could be Maduro retaliating by banning the league from signing amateur players in Venezuela. The country has proved to be a hotbed of talent, with Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres among the 95 Venezuela-born players who have logged major league time this season.

In recent years, as the economic strife worsened, teams shut down academies in Venezuela and consolidated their Latin American operations in the Dominican Republic. Top Venezuelan prospects have begun following suit, according to sources. Some of the best 12- and 13-year-old players in the country have moved with their families to the Dominican Republic in anticipation of signing with major league teams at age 16, sources said.

While all of the concerns about the executive order could be mollified by an agreement between the United States and Venezuela -- both countries on Thursday acknowledged recent back channel discussions -- MLB's desire to abide by it comes at a moment when the league's international dealings have been under scrutiny.

The Trump administration in April scuttled a deal between MLB and the Cuban government that would have allowed Cuban players to sign directly with the league instead of taking the circuitous and dangerous paths offered by traffickers. The Department of Justice continues a wide-ranging investigation into baseball's Latin American business -- including deals for Cuban defectors -- that sources said have targeted a number of teams, including the Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.


MLB this week contacted the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the U.S. Treasury department that imposes economic sanctions, seeking clarity on the executive order, according to a source. Teams expect to continue to sign amateur players as long as Venezuela does not prohibit it, believing that doing so would not breach the executive order because individual teenage players are not under the Venezuelan government's purview.

Whether that legal argument holds up is unclear and part of the complications caused by the embargo. While a number of major league and minor league players planned to compete in the LVBP, contracts are not typically agreed upon until September and October. With no affiliated players allowed, Luis Amaro, the general manager for the Aguilas del Zulia, said he expected Venezuela natives playing in the Mexican and Italian leagues this summer to fill out the rosters.

Until then, MLB and the MLBPA can only wait to see the consequences of the potential action. The lockdown of the Venezuelan talent pool, while not crippling, would significantly hinder the talent base in the minor leagues, where hundreds of Venezuelans play. The lack of a winter option for young players in Venezuela concerned one agent, who said LVBP helps keep players out of trouble when they return home. Another agent, who expected multiple clients to make up for below-minimum-wage minor league salaries by playing in Venezuela, said he hopes clients still can get jobs in the Dominican, Mexican or Puerto Rican leagues.

  • Published in Sports

Trump-immigration: His racist and xenophobic ideas

The Associated Press (AP) revealed days ago in Washington Donald Trump’s ideas on how the US society should be.

That news agency states that the current White House government tries to give a turn to immigration so it be “whiter and wealthier”.

The said move aims to change the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:

“Give your poor, your tired. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.

That henceforth would be:

“Give me your tired and your poor that can stand on their own feet and will not become a public burden”.

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is responsible for executing such a modification and affirmed that the new text was written for Europeans.

AP considers it is about another challenging step to achieve his strategy of winning votes with an eye on the 2020 elections.

However, the president’s machination could pose the risk of drifting suburban women away and increasing the number of Latinos registered to vote.

Beto O’Rourke, former representative and Democratic presidential hopeful said: “This government has finally admitted what we’ve known all along. They believe the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people”.

According to a study of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), those ideas would reduce immigration from Mexico and Central America, and would increase the number of migrants from other regions, especially from Europe.

Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy analyst at the American Immigration Council, said: “United States wants to make it so that it’s a path only for those who have already succeeded”.

AP remarked that for Trump, immigrants are stealing his supporters’ jobs and denying working class whites opportunities for success.

In tune with that the head of state insists on presenting himself as a passionate defender of that kind of member of US society.

As we all know, he has contemptuously spoken about immigrants from black, Hispanic-majority countries and described Mexicans as rappers and criminals during his 2016 presidential campaign.

At the same time that in 2018, he privately referred to Central American and African countries as “shithole” nations.

Phrases like those are welcomed by the same far-right that took Donald Trump to the White House years ago.

And by individuals such as John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Marco Rubio who are part of his most intimate and influential environment together with the Tea Party and the Ku Klux Klan that haven’t hidden their links with the current government of the United States.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

Subscribe to this RSS feed