EU, Latin American-Caribbean Group Seek Common Ground

BRUSSELS – Leaders of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, known as CELAC, came together on Wednesday for a summit intended to foster a consensus on facing current global challenges.

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Flagpole goes up outside Cuba's future embassy in Washington

Cuban diplomats gathered Wednesday for the installation of a flagpole outside the office that will become the island nation's embassy in Washington as part of the process of bilateral normalization initiated last December.

A score of officials, led by the chief of the Cuban Interests Section, Jose Cabañas, sang Cuba's national anthem and applauded as workers erected the pole outside the office in Columbia Heights, about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from the White House.

Journalists and onlookers gathered on the strip of grass separating the future embassy from the street.

Flagpole

The pole will remain without a flag until the interests section formally becomes an embassy.

Still in place is the sign reading "Embassy of Switzerland, Cuban Interests Section," reflecting the mission's official status as a dependency of the Swiss Embassy.

The raising of the flagpole at the interests section could be a sign that the renewal of diplomatic relations - severed in 1961 - is getting closer.

At the conclusion of the most recent round of normalization talks late last month, the chief U.S. negotiator, Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, said the remaining issues could be resolved by the respective interests sections in Washington and Havana without the need for another high-level meeting.

Analysts have interpreted Jacobson's comments, along with the May 29 removal of Cuba from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, as clues that the re-opening of embassies is imminent.

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Cuba - "Dissident": Their Gradual Fading

They are essentially annexionists who, ultimately, are only a foreign body within the core of the Cuban society.  

A New Herald columnist, Daniel Morcate, repeated his cry for the widespread scorn they inspire.

He did it this Thursday under the title: "Voices of our Conscience", where he mentions their absence on the current Cuban-American negotiation process.

As Morcate wrote, Obama made a historical mistake when excluding the “domestic opposition" from the dialogue on the relationships and the future of Cuba.

In opposition he says that, as he referred to the issue, it won’t happen again, but it does.

He explains that, even better, it was approached by his friend and famous man of the U.S. special services, Carlos Alberto Montaner.

He clarifies that this time he would talk about the repercussion of what happened for the "dissidence."

Firstly, Morcate asserts, they should intensify their efforts in joining the dialogue.

According to his point of view, their roles as facilitators on the democratic change don’t allow them to keep being excluded.

Although, he thinks, the most probable outcome, after they have fulfilled that essential role, their fellow countrymen would repay them with "ingratitude and resentment."

Domestic opponents, he adds, are very similar to the free men and women living in the island.  

With their daily attitude they show to the majority of Cubans which the road to freedom, he wrote.

However, for that to happen, it’s indispensable that they incorporate to the political processes in which the future of the island is planned.

But how to do it when they are excluded regarding such steps, like the governments of Havana and Washington have done in their official talks?

Hence Daniel Morcate implicitly accuses the United States of hindering what they call the road toward to freedom in Cuba.

Some members of the opposition agreed to meet North American officials who lavish them with excuses and promises of “not forgetting the dissidence."

There is their admitted Achilles’ heel.

They are essentially annexionists who, ultimately, are only a foreign body within the core of the Cuban society.

Some examples, corroborate that.

Global Research website published an article under the title:”Cuban dissidents financed by the United States."

It received a large number of hits on April 16, 2010 and its author was Salim Lamrani.

The latter began quoting the interview he made to Wayne Smith, former ambassador of the White House in Cuba.

He declared that it was illegal and reckless –like Washington does- to send money to the "dissidents."

He added that the United States declares its intention of overthrowing the Cuban government and on the other hand it proposes that one of the roads to achieve this is to provide resources to the dissidents.

Smith reasons, this puts them immediately as hired "agents of a foreign power" that attempts to overthrow their own government."

An employee of that media (Yoani Sánchez) had a discrepancy with the former North American ambassador.

What did she say? I believe it has presented itself the financing of opposition by the United States as a reality, "while this is not the case."

Nearly eight months later, December 22, "Rebellion" commented in Madrid:

For half century Washington’s foreign policy towards Havana whose objective is to "get a régime change", is based on two main pillars.

The first one, the imposition of drastic economic sanctions that affect the entire Cuban society, and the second to organize and finance a domestic opposition.

Almost three months ago, February 15, the publication Havana Times wrote: Funds to Promote Democracy in Cuba. List of beneficiaries.

It was signed by Tracey Eaton, explaining that the National Foundation for Democracy is an important receiver of the North American government.

The aforementioned Foundation resides in Washington and uses part of that money in making programs "on the democracy in Cuba."

The Havana Times another newspaper named the five organizations, groups or companies that received more funds:

Cuban Democratic Directorate; International Group for the Corporate Social Responsibility in Cuba; Daily Association of Cuba; Cubanet News, and People in Need.

About two months later, Progreso Semanal revealed in Miami that since 1996 about a thousand million dollars were invested in schemes on the democracy in Cuba.

Who were involved in such a propagandistic orgy?

The Department of State, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Foundation for Democracy.

Also, the Board of Governors of Broadcasting that supervises Radio and TV Martí.

Then it’s comprehensible that Cuba and United States have not included in their process of gradual approach those who would take out the seriousness of these talks.

Havana and Washington Consider More Meetings on Human Rights

Cuba´s permanent representative in Geneva, ambassador Anayansi Rodriguez, said that the March 31 Cuba-US talks on human rights were held in the expected atmosphere of professionalism and respect and considered further meetings on the topic.

Both sides discussed the methodological basis for future talks on the issue and they addressed some important topics that will be of mutual interest in upcoming meetings, said the diplomat.

As we expected, we ratified the differences between our countries as to the human rights issue, both in the national arena and as how human rights are promoted and protected in the two nations as well as in the international scenario, in multilateral forums that address this issue.

The diplomat said that both sides ratified their capacity to hold a respectful, professional and civilized dialog on the issue by recognizing their differences in terms of their perceptions and even the balance regarding civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, which for Cuba they are indivisible, they are interconnected and none of them have more importance than the others because Cuba addresses them in an integral way. These differences surfaced during the dialog, the diplomat said.

Meanwhile, international media cited statements by a State Department official at the end of the talks referring that "The atmosphere of the meeting was professional, and there was broad agreement on the way forward for a future substantive dialogue."

"Both sides expressed willingness to discuss a wide range of topics in future substantive talks," the official added.

The U.S. delegation was led by Tom Malinowski, the State Department's assistant secretary for human rights and democracy. And the Cuban delegation was headed by Pedro Luis Pedroso, deputy director of multilateral affairs and law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Obama Failed his Coup in Venezuela

President Obama had given a warning. In his new doctrine of Defence (National Security Strategy), he wrote: "We stand with citizens whose full exercise of democracy is in danger, as the Venezuelans." Yet, Venezuela is, since the adoption of the 1999 constitution, one of the most democratic countries in the world. This sentence presaged the worst to prevent it from continuing its path to independence and wealth redistribution.

It was on February 6, 2015. Washington was finishing developing the plan for the overthrow of the democratic institutions of Venezuela. The coup was planned for February 12.

"Operation Jericho" was supervised by the National Security Council (NSC), under the authority of Ricardo Zuñiga. This "diplomat" is the grandson of the homonymous president of the Honduran National Party who organized the coups of 1963 and 1972 in favor of General López Arellano. He directed the CIA station in Havana (2009-11), where he recruited and financed agents to form the opposition to Fidel Castro while negotiating the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba (finally concluded in 2014).

As always in this type of operation, Washington is careful to not appear involved in the events it leads. The CIA works through supposedly non-governmental organizations to organize coup leaders: the National Endowment for Democracy and its two pseudopods of the right (the International Republican Institute) and left (the National Democratic Institute) Freedom House and the International Center for Non-Profit Law. In addition, the United States always seeks allies to outsource parts of the coup, in this case at least Germany (responsible for the protection of NATO nationals during the coup), Canada (responsible for controlling the civilian international airport in Caracas), Israel (responsible for the assassination of Chavez personalities) and the UK (in charge of the propaganda coup). Finally, they mobilize their political networks that are ready to recognize the coup: Washington Senator Marco Rubio, former Chile president, Sebastián Piñera, in Colombia former Presidents Alvaro Uribe and Andres Pastrana, in Mexico the former presidents Felipe Calderón and Vicente Fox, in Spain the former President of the Government José María Aznar.

To justify the coup, the White House had encouraged large Venezuelan companies to warehouse rather than distribute essential commodities. The idea was to cause queues at the shops, and to infiltrate agents into the crowd to cause riots. In reality, though there had been supply problems in January-February and queues in front of stores, never did Venezuelans attack shops.

To strengthen its economic action, on December 18, 2014, President Obama signed a law imposing new sanctions against Venezuela and several of its leaders. Officially, this was to punish individuals who had suppressed student protests. In fact, since the beginning of the year, Washington was paying four times the medium salary income - to gangs so that they would attack the police. The pseudo-students had thus killed 43 people in a few months and spread terror in the streets of the capital.

Military action was overseen by General Thomas W. Geary, from SOUTHCOM in Miami, and Rebecca Chavez, from the Pentagon, and outsourced to a private army, Academi (formerly Blackwater); a company now administered by Admiral Bobby R. Inman (former head of the NSA) and John Ashcroft (the former Attorney General of the Bush administration). A Super Tucano, registered N314TG, purchased by the Virginia firm in 2008 to assassinate Raul Reyes, the No. 2 man in the Colombian FARC, was to be disguised as an airplane of the Venezuelan army. It was supposed to bomb the Miraflores presidential palace and other targets from a pre-determined dozen, including the Ministry of Defence, the management of Intelligence at the ALBA, Telesur television channel. The plane, being parked in Colombia, the operational headquarters of "Jericho" had been installed at the US Embassy in Bogota with the participation of the Ambassador, Kevin Whitaker and his deputy, Benjamin Ziff.

Some senior officers, active or retired, had registered in advance a message to the nation in which they announced the takeover of power in order to restore order. They were scheduled to subscribe to the transition plan, published on February 12 in the morning by El Nacional and drafted by the US State Department. A new government would have been formed, led by former MP María Corina Machado.

María Corina Machado was the president of Súmate, the association that organized and lost the recall referendum against Hugo Chávez Frias, in 2004, already with money from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the French advertising services of Jacques Seguela. Despite her defeat, she was received with honor by President George W. Bush in the Oval Office, May 31, 2005. Elected representative of Miranda state in 2011, she suddenly appeared on 21 March 2014 as Chief of the Panamanian delegation to the Organization of American States (OAS). She was immediately dismissed from her duties as a member for violation of sections 149 and 191 of the Constitution.

To facilitate the coordination of the coup, María Corina Machado organized a symposium in Caracas on January 26, "Citizen Power and Democracy today", which was attended by most of the Venezuelan and foreign personalities involved.

No luck, Venezuelan Military Intelligence watched personalities suspected of hatching a previous plot to assassinate President Maduro. Last May, the Caracas prosecutor had accused María Corina Machado, Henrique Salas Römer, governor, former diplomat Diego Arria, lawyer Gustavo Tarre Birceño, Eligio Cedeño, banker and businessman Pedro M. Burelli, but they challenged emails, claiming they had been falsified by Military Intelligence. Of course, they were all in cahoots.

By tracking these conspirators, Military Intelligence discovered "Operation Jericho". On the night of February 11, the main leaders of the plot and a Mossad agent were arrested and aviation security was enhanced. Others were rounded up on the 12th. On the 20th, confessions obtained permitted the arrest of an accomplice, the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma.

President Nicolas Maduro immediately intervened on television to denounce the conspirators. Meanwhile in Washington, the spokesman for the State Department was joking with journalists who remembered the coup in Honduras organized by Obama in 2009 - for Latin America - or, more recently, the attempted coup in Macedonia in January, 2015 - for the rest of the world -, stating: "These charges, like all previous ones, are ridiculous. It is a matter of long-standing policy: the United States does not support political transitions through unconstitutional means. Political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful and legal. We have seen repeatedly that the Venezuelan government is trying to divert attention from its own actions by accusing the United States or other members of the international community of responsibility for the events in Venezuela. These efforts reflect a lack of seriousness on the part of the Government of Venezuela to cope with the serious situation it faces. »

For Venezuelans the failed coup poses a serious question: how do we keep democracy alive, if the main opposition leaders are in jail for the crimes they were about to commit against democracy?

For those who think, wrongly, that the United States has changed, that it is no longer an imperialist power and that now it defends democracy in the world, "Operation Jericho" provides endless food for thought.

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US and Cuba to Hold 2nd Round of Talks to Restore Diplomatic Ties

The United States and Cuba will conduct a second round of negotiations in Washington next week to restore full diplomatic ties.

"I can confirm that the talks will be held on the 27th here at the State Department - the 27th of February," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington on Tuesday.

A delegation of US senators who concluded a four-day visit to Cuba on Tuesday made a similar announcement.

Democratic senators Claire McCaskill, Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar made their first trip to Havana over the weekend in support of a legislation that Klobuchar is sponsoring to remove US trade embargo on Cuba.

"We look with hope and expectations to the meetings next week in Washington between the Cuban government and the American State Department to make progress," Warner told reporters in Havana on Tuesday.

US President Barack Obama announced on December 17 that Washington will start talks with Cuba to normalize diplomatic relations, marking the most significant shift in US foreign policy towards the communist country in over 50 years.

US Senator Marco Rubio and some other Republicans have criticized Obama for trying to restore relations with Cuba because they say it could provide Cuba with legitimacy and money while it continues with its alleged human rights violations.

Rubio has stressed that he and fellow party members would seek to slow or block Obama’s moves towards normalizing Cuba ties.

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Washington is in Revolt Against Obama

The crisis gripping the US state apparatus is directly threatening the survival of the Empire. This is no longer merely the opinion of Thierry Meyssan, but the subject that is shaking the ruling class in Washington to the point that the honorary president of the Council on Foreign Relations is demanding the resignation of the chief advisers of President Obama and the appointment of a new team. This clash has nothing to do with a typical opposition of Democrats and Republicans, nor even with that of the doves / hawks. What is at stake is leadership in the United States and NATO.

For several months now, I’ve been noting that there is no foreign policy in Washington, but two factions that oppose each other in all things and separately conduct contradictory and inconsistent policies. 

The climax of this situation has been reached in Syria, where the White House first organized the moult of Daesh and sent it to ethnically cleanse Iraq, then fought it even though the CIA continues to support it. This inconsistency has gradually spread to the Allies. Thus, France joined the anti-Daesh coalition while some of its legionaries are part of the Daesh cadre.

When the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, requested written clarification, he not only received no answer, but he was fired. 

The disorder soon spread to NATO, an alliance created to fight the USSR and maintained against Russia, when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signed gigantic economic agreements with Vladimir Putin. 

Coming out of his silence, the honorary chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie H. Gelb, sounded the alarm.  He said that "the Obama team lacked basic instincts and judgment to lead the national security policy in the next two years." And he continued, on behalf of the US ruling class as a whole: "President Obama needs to replace his team with strong personalities and experienced strategists. He should also place new people as Senior Advisors to the Secretaries of Defense and State. And he must finally implement regular consultations with Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and John McCain, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. »

Never, since its creation in 1921, has the Council on Foreign Relations taken such a position. This is because the divisions within the state apparatus are leading the United States directly to doom.

Listing the main advisers, which, according to him, must leave, Mr. Gelb cites four people very close intellectually and emotionally to the President: Susan Rice (National Security Advisor), Dennis McDonough (Chief of Staff of the White House), Benjamin Rhodes (Communications) and Valerie Jarrett (Foreign Policy Advisor). The ruling class in Washington accuses them of never submitting original proposals to the president, much less contradicting him, but always humouring him in his prejudices.

The only personality to find favor in the eyes of the Council on Foreign Relations, Anthony Blinken, new No. 2 at the State Department, is a "liberal hawk".

The Council on Foreign Relations being a bipartisan body, Mr. Gelb proposes that President Obama surround himself by four Democrats and four Republicans corresponding to the profile he described. First the Democrats: Thomas Pickering (former ambassador to the United Nations), Winston Lord (former assistant to Henry Kissinger), Frank Wisner (unofficially one of the bosses of the CIA and incidentally Nicolas Sarkozy’s stepfather) and Michèle Flournoy (the President of the Center for a New American Security). Then, Republicans Robert Zoellick (former head of the World Bank), Richard Armitage (former assistant to Colin Powell), Robert Kimmitt (probable next boss of the World Bank), and Richard Burt (former negotiator on the reduction of nuclear weapons).

For Secretary of Defense, Mr. Gelb offers Rabbi Dov Zakheim to manage budget cuts, Admiral Mike Mullen (former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and General Jack Keane (former Chief of Staff of the Army).

Finally, Mr. Gelb proposes that the national security strategy be developed in consultation with the four "wise men": Henry Kissinger Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and James Baker. 

Looking more closely at this list, we understand that the Council on Foreign Relations did not want to decide between the two opposing groups within the Obama administration, but it intends to restore order in the system from above. In this regard, it is not irrelevant in a country thus far led by WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) that two counsellors whose dismissals are required are black women, while fourteen of the fifteen incoming names are white males, either Protestant or Ashkenazi. The political housekeeping is also therefore an ethnic and religious takeover.

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