Pence: Another Monroe Tour

The third Latin American tour of Mike Pence, the vice-president of the United States, is mainly aimed at ending the constitutional government of Venezuela. It’s no secret. North American official spokesmen have reiterated that one of the purposes of the journey is to strengthen Caracas isolation and we already know how to translate that. By the way, President Nicolás Maduro has been elected by a higher percent of votes that most leaders of the Lima Group, fragile imperialistic and anti-Venezuelan coalition. Another goal of the trip is the intent of appeasing spirits in the region before the cruel separation of migrant children from their parents, and, in general, zero tolerance politics, internationally rejected. What explains his gathering with the presidents from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, countries that have been more affected by this measure.

Besides the topic, Trump’s courier has traveled to something else than supervise and strengthen the conspiracy against the homeland of Bolívar. It’s no coincidence that his first visit was to the coup-installed government of Brazil. There is the greatest interest of Washington in keeping Lula in jail to prevent him at all cost to win the presidency next year. Let’s imagine the setback that would mean for the empire a new government of Lula in Brazil next year, next to the imminent election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, two geo-economic and geopolitical giants that with popular governments can tip the scale of power in Latin America and the Caribbean towards the interests of the peoples.

That outcome would be a true nightmare for Washington after the huge effort to destroy in different ways the progressive and revolutionary governments of the region. Either through coup-d’état against presidents Manuel Zelaya (Honduras), Fernando Lugo (Paraguay) and Dilma Rousseff (Brazil).

In addition to the failed attempts of overthrowing Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela where after so many failures, the South Command and the CIA experiment the "continuous" coup, threshold for the military invasion with which President Donald Trump has threatened. Likewise, the failed coups and permanent subversion against the Presidents Evo Morales and Rafael Correa (until he finished his office). Without forgetting the harsh media campaign and subversive attempts against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner that hindered greatly her time in office. The package, of course, includes the strengthening of the blockade and the subversion against Cuba.

On top of that the disintegration of neoliberal regimes, as it’s tangible the huge unpopularity of Temer and the growing distaste for Macri, or the historical advance of the left-wing in Colombia with Gustavo Petro. That on top of the growing resistance in those countries and, in general, our America, against the spoil, criminalization of the social protest and the environmental degradation caused by neoliberalism.

It’s easy to understand why Pence heads for his third conspiracy tour, besides the ones made by other government officials, like the former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who admitted the devotion of Trump’s administration for the expansionary Doctrine Monroe. It should also be highlighted the feverish coup and interventionist activity against Venezuela on behalf of the Cuban-American law-makers, especially Marco Rubio, a some sort of anti-Latin American champion of Trump. Likewise, the fourth generation war tactics they set up in Nicaragua for years, he and other legislators of the same mafia. The well-known law as Nica Act, to deprive from credits Sandino’s homeland, is mainly a job of the law-maker born in Miami of Cuban origin Ileana Ross-Lehtinen.

All in all, the trip of vice-president Pence confirms the stanch will of Washington of eliminating the current and future popular governments in our region. A lot more now that the Yankee hegemony cracks under the emergency of China and Russia and their successful efforts to create a large area of Asian cooperation and unify the countries opposed to hegemony and war.

In our America the struggle for the democracy, the independence and the social justice continues, although we suffer setbacks, and the events we are witnessing indicate that victory will be of our peoples. Get into your head Mr. Pence.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

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Without Evidence, US Insists on Branding Incidents in Cuba as Attacks

The United States once again used the term attacks to describe alleged health incidents of US diplomats on the island, although without presenting evidence with scientific support to validate this accusation.

Yesterday, both countries held in Washington the fourth meeting dedicated to addressing issues of enforcement and compliance with the law, meeting in which the Cuban delegation urged the hostess to desist from the continued political manipulation of the issue of US officials.

According to the State Department press release on yesterday's meeting, the parties 'also discussed the health attacks against diplomatic personnel of the US embassy in Havana, including two recent cases.'

'The US delegation reminded Cubans of their responsibility to protect officials from harm,' it continued, in a language that is far from the spirit of a bilateral mechanism created to coordinate the fight against illicit crimes of concern to the world community, such as drug and human trafficking.

According to the statement from the Cuban side, issued as a result of the meeting, the alleged health cases served the White House as a pretext for the adoption of new unilateral measures that affect the functioning of the respective embassies, in particular, the provision of consular services on which hundreds of thousands of people depend.

Donald Trump, since his arrival in the presidency, in January 2017, has escalated in the aggressive posture towards Cuba, without hiding his determination to dismantle the approach initiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, which led to the reestablishment of relations, the reopening of the embassies and the signing of twenty agreements.

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Cuba and the United States hold fourth meeting on law enforcement dialogue

On July 10, 2018, a fourth meeting was held in Washington D.C. between authorities from law enforcement agencies from Cuba and the United States. This meeting is a continuity of the one held in the same city on September 15, 2017.

The purpose of these exchanges is to coordinate the bilateral cooperation in the field of law enforcement and to advance in the combat against the different crimes that threaten the security of the two countries such as terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, cybercrimes, among others.

The meeting took place in a respectful and professional ambiance. While reviewing the exchanges on the different areas of security, the Cuban side made reference to the concrete results of this bilateral cooperation, which has contributed to prevent crimes and prosecute offenders. The Cuban delegation also made emphasis on the information and requests for cooperation still pending a response from the U.S. side to further advance in the implementation of this mechanism.

The Cuban delegation urged the U.S. government to desist from the continued political manipulation of the alleged health incidents that became a pretext to adopt new unilateral measures that affect the operation of the respective embassies, particularly, the rendering of consular services depended upon by hundreds of thousands of people.

The investigations carried out by specialized agencies and experts from Cuba and the United States for more than one year confirmed that there is no credible evidence or hypothesis or science-based conclusions that justify the actions taken by the U.S. government against Cuba to the detriment of bilateral relations. Last June 5, U.S. Secretary of State himself affirmed that “the precise nature of the injuries suffered by the affected personnel, and whether a common cause exists for all cases, has not yet been established”.

The Cuban delegation reiterated its unchanged commitment to cooperate with the U.S. authorities to clarify this situation. Ensuring the health and security of Cubans and foreign citizens is and will be a priority of the Cuban government.  

Both sides agreed to continue with this dialogue and to keep holding the technical meetings between the law enforcement agencies from both countries to bring bilateral cooperation to fruition.

The Cuban delegation was composed of representatives from the ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Justice, the Attorney General’s Office and the General Customs of the Republic. The U.S. side was composed of representatives from the Homeland Security, Justice and State department

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Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to US Supreme Court, Democrats outraged

President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. Democrats are alarmed that he will overturn rulings about abortion and same-sex marriage.
If approved, Kavanaugh would fill the seat vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who announced his retirement last month.

To be successfully confirmed, Kavanaugh needs 51 votes in the Senate. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 majority, but Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) is battling brain cancer and is unlikely to be present for a vote. Vice President Mike Pence can break a tie, but even a single Republican breaking with the party would hold up the nomination, assuming the Democrats are unanimous in opposition.

Kavanaugh was on the shortlist of nominees along with Thomas Hardiman, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

The 53-year-old, who was the White House Staff Secretary under George W Bush, has served as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years.

US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on board Air Force One © Eric Thayer‘Generally conservative’ candidates on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist, nomination coming soon
Favored by many Republicans for his work with Solicitor General Ken Starr to impeach President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, the Yale graduate also appears to have many critics. Some Republicans, as well as the Democrats, view Kavanaugh's previous rulings on abortion and health care cases as way too conservative, claiming that they violate the rights of many people in American society.

“His nomination should be a non-starter for every member of the Senate concerned about the integrity of the special counsel's investigation and worried about the Court undermining the rights of women to make their own medical decisions; civil rights; the rights of Americans to quality, affordable healthcare; voting rights; the rights of workers to organize for better wages and working conditions; and more,” Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) said in a statement on Monday.

Other controversial topics include net neutrality and the judge’s belief that criminal investigations should not involve active presidents, a clear problem for some lawmakers amid Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe into Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia.

“President Trump is currently a subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, and any nomination of a Supreme Court justice while that investigation continues is unacceptable because of the clear conflict of interest inherent in the President installing someone who could be the deciding vote on a number of potential issues from that investigation that could come before the Court,” Booker added.

“Democrats in the Senate should use every tool at their disposal to stop Judge Kavanaugh from being confirmed. This is a fight worth having,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) tweeted, expressing what appears to be a widely shared view among lawmakers.

Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) claimed that Kavanaugh stands “outside the mainstream” when it comes to dealing with healthcare, executive power, privacy and even gun safety. “We need a nominee who understands that the court must protect the rights of all Americans, not just political interest groups and the powerful,” she tweeted.

At the same time, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida) called Trump’s nomination a “shameful effort” to roll back the progress that has been made in the US when it comes to civil liberties.

While Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing will take place in the fall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell already warned Trump that his nominee might have a difficult confirmation battle over the other shortlisted candidates.

Yet, following Trump's nomination, McConnell called on his colleagues “to put partisanship aside and consider his legal qualifications with the fairness, respect, and seriousness that a Supreme Court nomination ought to command.”

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Nicaragua: Not One Inch Back

All part of the imperialistic counteroffensive to tear down progressive governments and establish a neoliberalism only in favor of the national oligarchy and foreign transnational.

Nicaragua begins its fourth month of turmoil triggered by elements who blindly follow the so-called plan of soft coup d’état, not so soft. Such practice has been successfully used in Ukraine and has been trying to destabilize Venezuela, where the Empire and acolytes continue an economic war that it has been unable to prevent the continuous social progresses.

All part of the imperialistic counteroffensive to tear down progressive governments and establish a neoliberalism only in favor of the national oligarchy and foreign transnational.

Around these days have had positive repercussions the massive rallies for peace throughout the entire country. Among participants appear those opposed to the violence and vandalism fed by millionaire amounts of money.

Nearly 200 casualties and great havoc is the balance of that situation, born from the understandable upset caused by an officially approved measure, which was immediately eliminated by President Daniel Ortega.

Let’s not forget that Ortega has been president for 12 years due to continuous reelections where he has won the popular approval. This continued reelection has been verified by international observers, including the pro-imperialistic Organization of American States (OAS).

The complex panorama of Nicaragua crisis is manipulated by the media, the politicians as well as right-wing governments that desire the defeat of the Sandinista government. In that conspiracy, clarifies Correo Magazine, the government of the United States plays a key role.

SINCE YESTERDAY UNTIL TODAY

Although the campaign against the Sandinista government is driven by several domestic and North American media, the beginning as such took place in Sweden, a nation famous for being neutral, something inaccurate, and followed by the rest of Scandinavian countries whose governments are also considered as human rights defenders, but this is not always like that.

Let’s not forget that until very recently, Nicaragua was an exemplary country amidst the violent region of Central America.

The crime rates were among the lowest in Latin America. The economic growth, between 4% and 5%, it was the second highest in the region after Panama. It was one of the Latin American countries with greater reduction of absolute and relative poverty, the only country in the region that produced the 90% of the food that consumed.

As for education, it was one of the few countries of Latin America and the entire Third World that produced all their text books at all levels, since primary school until University and Adults Education.

It had been able to brake the exodus to the United States, while dozens of thousands of Mexicans, Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadorans attempt entering the United States by any means necessary. In the U.S. where is ever growing the number of crimes committed against immigrants on behalf of the “just” of the “law and order” and protectors of the “purity” of the white race.

THE TRUTH

For years the reactionary propaganda has attacked the Sandinista government for fostering models of agreements and alliances with the private sector, which had presented as accomplice of Sandinism to boost businesses. Now, overnight, the visible heads of national capitalism have joined the insurrectionists of the far-right.

In fact, neither in those visible heads of the business men who represent most of Nicaraguan capitalists, nor the capitalist private sector is the main economic engine of the country. Nicaragua’s economy rests basically in the popular sectors that produce more than 50% of the Gross Domestic Product and they generate more than 70% of employment in the country.

An important source of revenues for Nicaragua is family remittances that go directly to that sector of economy. There was a considerable redistribution of lands after the revolution of 1979 and the peace agreements of the 90’s. At present 80% of lands are owned by small and medium producers. In addition, since 2007, the Sandinista Government has given 100 000 ownerships in the country and the city, giving capital goods to sectors that don't follow a capitalist economic logic.

That economic base produces the 90% of all the food consumed in Nicaragua. Besides, entire sectors, like transportation and even most of tourism are controlled by cooperative and family businesses. The enterprising private sector was the one that least increased its investments during the Sandinista government. The State, the Direct Foreign Investment, as well as the sector of Popular Economy are the ones that contributed the most to investment in the country.

That is, enterprise leaders don't represent the true businessmen, most of which want to see a stable and thriving country. The managerial top is made of individuals linked to international finances, transnational companies or the managerial mafia of the organizations of businessmen.

Those groups don’t care at all that Nicaragua gets torn by a war; they have their cover funds and salaries from the multinationals they shield under. For example, Michael Healey, current spokesman for the insurgent Fascists, is a simple employee from a cane factory property of Colombian capitals. Also, José Adam Aguerri, president of the Superior Council of the Private Company, COSEP, doesn't own any other company besides COSEP. The Pellas family that during the Revolution of the 80’s declared the economic strike on the Sandinista Government and transferred all its money to tax haven, from which they started financial speculation, gained power and influence with the war that torn the country.

From the Hospital (private) Vivian Pellas are sent boxes of condoms and “following day pills” for the orgies that the middle class boys have together with the most dangerous racketeers in Managua at the Polytechnic University. Meanwhile, the Pellas Family that holds the monopoly on liquor in the country, live off the subsidy through which they force the Nicaraguan people to pay more than the world market price for sugar.

That subsidy, an outcome of rendition without fight of neoliberal governments, exemplifies the State model those sectors deem “democratic”. Lastly, the manager who first than anybody else dared to express in public his total support to the Fascist groups on Saturday, April 21 at the Polytechnic University UPOLI, Piero Coen, is the richest man in Nicaragua, head of the financial group Coen and seventh greatest capitalist of Central America, according to Forbes magazine.

To these individuals who want to destroy the Sandinista Revolution and give Nicaragua, whether in ruins or not, to the Empire, we can’t budge one inch back.

Cubasi Translation Staff / Amilkal Labañino Valdés

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US Judge Orders List Of Children Separated From Migrant Parents

Los Angeles: A California judge on Friday gave the US government until the following night to submit a list of children under five separated from their families at the border, a government official said.

US President Donald Trump's administration had asked the court to extend a deadline to reunite some detained children with their migrant parents, arguing it needed more time to perform necessary checks and confirm identities.

Judge Dana Sabraw had issued an injunction on June 26 requiring the government to reunite detained migrant children under the age of five within 14 days and those over that age within 30 days.

More than 2,300 children, around 100 of them under the age of five, were separated from their families as a consequence of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that saw their parents prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, even if they did so to seek asylum.

Several hundred have already been reunited with their parents, but the government has struggled to keep up, and it admitted Thursday to using DNA tests to determine parentage.

us detention facility rio grande reutersThe separation of children as young as 3 from their parents led to protests and public outcry. 

In total, about 11,800 migrant children are currently detained by US authorities after having crossed the border illegally, but 80 percent of them are teenagers who arrived alone, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar has said.

"The judge made it very clear he wasn't going to allow the Trump administration to drag its feet on reunifying these children with their parents," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said of the Friday ruling.

Back to court

The ACLU brought the case that led to Sabraw's injunction on behalf of migrant parents.

But according to a government official, the judge did not formally rule out extending the period, and another hearing will be held on Monday.

In a filing submitted Thursday, the US Department of Justice said HHS was using DNA swab testing to determine parentage.

But it said that even though the department "is moving expeditiously to undertake these DNA tests, that process takes meaningful time, even when it is expedited."

It added that given the possibility of false claims, "confirming parentage is critical to ensure that children are returned to their parents, not to potential traffickers," and that the government also needed to determine whether the adults had a criminal history or could present a danger to their children.

The government did not request a specific new set of deadlines, but instead sought to "prepare a proposal for an alternative timeline."

It also sought relief from a paragraph in the original injunction that prohibits the government from detaining adult migrants without their children, arguing it could be read to require the release of such detainees if they had not been reunified within the time frame set by the court.

President Donald Trump, who has made fighting illegal and legal immigration a central plank of his US-centered policy agenda, reversed his government's "zero tolerance" policy on June 20 following public outcry.

  • Published in World

Pa. farmers need a fair shake in Cuba

For nearly 60 years, the U.S. embargo on Cuba has stifled U.S. business opportunities and starved Cubans of access to affordable American goods.

At a time when Pennsylvania dairies are dumping their milk and new trade policy proposals have made future exchanges with our traditional allies uncertain, opening new markets could deliver a welcome boost. Fortunately, there is considerable demand for U.S. commodities and manufactured goods just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, but at present, it remains just out of reach.

Pennsylvanians have worked alongside Cubans for a century, since Milton Hershey founded and owned Hershey, Cuba on 60,000 acres of land to refine the sugar needed for his world-famous chocolate. As a result, Hershey, Cuba and Hershey, Pa. have forged a public partnership.

This relationship extends beyond chocolate to baseball, exemplifying their shared history. In recent years, Pennsylvania mayors, county executives and other top officials have traveled to the island to explore future trade opportunities. The Pittsburgh-Matanzas Sister Cities partnership is one notable example of enduring cultural ties, but in Pennsylvania, one need not look far to find an elected official, trade association or university with their own Cuba story to tell.

Even I have my own experiences of traveling to Cuba ten times in the last 20 years to play baseball, where I enjoyed my time among the friendliest of people.

One of the most obvious avenues for increasing commercial ties between Pennsylvania and Cuba is through agricultural exports. The Commonwealth will have invested $300 million in the Port of Philadelphia by the end of the decade. Despite the effort to develop this hub of international trade, Pennsylvania industries that could benefit the most remain unable to effectively do business in Cuba.

Cuba currently imports 80 percent of its food, representing a $1.8 billion market for agricultural products.

Pennsylvania is home to 59,000 farms, with top agricultural exports including dairy, poultry, soybeans and feed grains, which are all key commodity imports for Cuba. The island imports about $188 million annually in dairy products, including milk, cheese and yogurt. Still, Cuba's demand for ultra-pasteurized, shelf-stable milk is not being met by U.S. competitors. Cuba imports powdered milk from the European Union and New Zealand, adding days to its shipping time and raising costs. While U.S. law allows for cash sales of agricultural commodities to Cuba, it prohibits farmers from extending financing or credit options to Cuban buyers. As a result, Cuba buys most of its food from U.S. competitors around the world. 

This is an enormous income opportunity for the U.S. that our businesses are currently missing out on. With barriers against financing in place, it is virtually impossible for Pennsylvania farmers to compete in the Cuban market.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania dairy is in crisis. Lower domestic demand for dairy products and falling prices have triggered a dairy surplus among Pennsylvania's farmers, many of whom have found themselves in debt. As much as 40 percent of Pennsylvania's milk is now shipped out of state for processing. The Commonwealth is leaving money on the table: a new market for milk exports could be the key to reinvigorating the Commonwealth's dairy industry.

Pennsylvania's $78 billion manufacturing sector is also losing out to foreign competitors in Cuba, particularly its industrial machinery industry, which accounts for 12 percent of the state's economy. Cuba's industrial machinery is almost entirely imported, and as economic development advances on the island, the imports are expected to increase.

Domestic production in Cuba has fallen considerably over the past several years, and factories are in disrepair. Cuba has requested over $6 billion in foreign investment for industrial machinery, but Pennsylvania manufacturers cannot freely bid on those projects without violating U.S. trade restrictions. 

It is time to invite Cuba to the trade negotiation table and to start letting Pennsylvania businesses compete. Allowing free trade with Cuba is a win for Pennsylvania farmers and manufacturers, and is a sure way to help turn the tide towards greater personal freedom for Cubans. Pennsylvanians and Cubans deserve the freedom to buy, sell and travel wherever they choose without government interference.

There is a bipartisan effort in Congress to remove trade and travel restrictions on Cuba. The Cuba Agricultural Exports Act would remove financing restrictions on agricultural trade, while the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act would lift the ban on tourist travel.

We already have friendships with the Cuban people. It is time to allow friends to do business together. We call upon members of our Pennsylvania delegation to lend their support. It is time for our lawmakers to lift the embargo--Pennsylvania and Cuba are open for business.

State Rep. Greg Rothman, a Republican, represents the Cumberland County-based 87th House District. He writes from Harrisburg.

  • Published in Cuba

Gun violence & expensive healthcare: China warns tourists about perils of traveling to US

Tourists traveling to the US should be ever vigilant as gun violence and robberies are rampant, healthcare is expensive and natural disasters can occur at any moment, China’s Washington embassy has warned.

Shootings, robberies and theft are commonplace in US cities as law and order “is not good” there, the embassy cautioned in newly released travel advice. Diplomats there say that going out alone at night or recklessness towards “suspicious people around you” is the easiest way of getting into trouble.
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Chinese tourists in Moscow © Sergey Pyatakov Chinese tourism to Russia booming with record 1.5 million visitors

In addition, “medical services are expensive in the United States,” the embassy notice said, urging Chinese citizens to organize health cover beforehand. Aside from gun violence and unaffordable healthcare, travelers should pay attention to US weather forecast and climate-related news, and take precautions in the event of a natural disaster.

The Chinese travel advice also touched upon US border policy, notifying travelers that border agents have the right to scrutinize incoming tourists in detail without a search warrant.

“If the customs enforcement officers have doubts about the purpose of your visit or your documents, you need to proceed to the secondary inspection area for further inspection and interview,” the notice said, adding “a valid US visa does not guarantee you the right to enter the United States.”

China has previously cautioned its citizens about gun violence in the US. Just a few months ago, Chinese Foreign Ministry reportedly distributed a warning via mobile messaging app WeChat, telling people to be careful and “prepare for the possibility that gun crimes may occur at workplaces, schools, at home and at tourist sites,” according to the New York Times.

The US State Department, in turn, referred to China as “a very safe country” for most visitors in its latest travel advice, but cautioned that “domestic unrest and even terrorism” do occur there. Unlicensed “black cabs,” counterfeit currency and “tourist tea scams” – a criminal scheme in which the Chinese invite visitors to tea and leave them with an exorbitant bill – have been listed as major dangers for US tourists.

  • Published in World
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