Cuba’s generosity after Chernobyl

Millions have watched Chernobyl, the TV series about the 1986 nuclear meltdown, and your coverage has been extensive (Report, 13 June). But an important related story has not had a mention at this time of renewed interest. Following the catastrophe, the tiny island of Cuba stepped forward and cared for over 20,000 young cancer victims from 1989 to 2011, – medical care, schooling, clothing, food, accommodation, playgrounds – all free of charge. A specialised medical facility was opened to the east of Havana, and Cuban doctors travelled to the affected region to treat patients in their homeland.

No other country in the world launched such a massive programme. The Cubans responded – as “an ethical and moral”, not a political question, as it was put at the time, and the programme continued despite changing governments in the Ukraine.

Today, the aftermath persists. Just a few weeks ago, Cuba announced that it will resume the programme in a new facility for the sons and daughters of the victims, who are now showing ailments similar to those of their parents. The tightening of the blockade against Cuba  affects not only the Cuban people, but also the thousands of patients being cared for by Cuba’s renowned international medical teams. Surely worth a mention on several counts?

  • Published in Cuba

EU will dissolve like Soviet Union unless Europeans ‘wake up’, George Soros warns

The “sleeping pro-Europe majority” must “wake up” before the EU goes the way of the Soviet Union, billionaire George Soros has warned, adding that Europe’s political parties must give the bloc’s interests first priority.

Pro-EU political parties must rally support ahead of crucial European Parliament elections in May, the Hungarian-American businessman and controversial influencer wrote in an op-ed published by Project Syndicate.

The bloc is “sleepwalking into oblivion” and could soon meet the same end as the Soviet Union, Soros prophesized. In order to avoid catastrophe, he argued, right-minded political parties must resist the lure of EU skepticism sweeping across the continent and “put Europe’s interests ahead of their own.” He chastised Germany’s ruling coalition for not being adequately pro-EU out of fear of losing votes to the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), while praising the German Greens for being “the only consistently pro-European party in the country.”

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The outspoken opponent of Brexit suggested that it wasn’t too late for the UK to hold another referendum, “or, even better, for revoking Britain’s Article 50 notification” – advocacy which appears to clash with Soros’ self-declared affinity for democracy. In the UK, the billionaire has been sharply criticized for forking over £800,000 (US$1,062,000) to pro-EU campaigns, including £400,000 to Best for Britain, a campaign group that has been at the forefront of anti-Brexit activism.

On the topic of Italy, Soros chided the EU for “strictly enforcing” an agreement “which unfairly burdens countries like Italy where migrants first enter the EU.” As a result, the massive influx of migrants into Europe has transformed the once pro-EU Italy into a bastion of populism, Soros lamented.

Curiously, he failed to mention that he is a leading champion of the EU’s open-door migrant policy – a policy which is directly responsible for Italy being swamped with asylum seekers.

Addressing Soros’ arch-nemesis – the Hungarian government under Prime Minister Viktor Orban – the billionaire businessman said that trans-European alliances must show more backbone and not be “dictated by party leaders’ self-interest.”

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He argued that the European People’s Party (EPP) is “the worst offender” in this regard because it continues to grant membership to Orban’s Fidesz party, allegedly “in order to preserve its majority and control the allocation of top jobs in the EU.”

Soros has been repeatedly accused by Orban of using his wealth to push pro-migrant policies on conservative, anti-immigration Hungary and much of the Western world.

“Soros has antagonized not only us but also England, President Trump, and Israel too,” Orban said in February. “Everywhere he wants to get migration accepted. It won’t work. We are not alone and we will fight together… and we will succeed.”

Hungary has even passed a Stop Soros Law, aimed at punishing those who provide assistance to migrants trying to illegally enter the central European country.

If Europe’s political leaders fail to stamp out the rise of populist political parties within the bloc, “the dream of a united Europe could become the nightmare of the 21st century,” Soros wrote in closing. Sadly, Soros doesn’t elaborate on why he believes the democratic will of Europeans poses such a fearsome threat to his grand vision for a “united” Europe.

  • Published in World

West fears recreation of Soviet Union, despite nobody planning one – Putin

The West’s actions in post-Soviet space can be explained by a fear of the recreation of the USSR, despite nobody in the region even considering this, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a documentary, premiered on the Rossiya 1 channel on Sunday.

“Even the hypothetical possibility of joining efforts” by former Soviet states within the modern integration processes “deprives [many in the West] of good and deep sleep,” Putin told Vladimir Soloviev, prominent Russian TV journalist and author of the ‘Miroporyadok’ (World Order) film.

“It’s no secret that everything was done in order to prevent the creation of a common economic space between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus – the Customs Union. Until recently, they didn’t want to talk to the Eurasian Economic Union (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) as a full-fledged participant in international affairs,” he said.

However, the West has now begun to realize the “destructiveness” of this approach, the president stressed.

The meddling of the US and its allies in Ukraine can be explained by a fear of the USSR’s resurrection, rather than care for the Ukrainian people, as is being stated, he added.

We easily work with Assad, US & others as we don’t change our position – Putin in new docu

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For the West, “it was easy to take advantage” of the corruption, weak law enforcement, and bureaucratic “swagger” that arose in Ukraine after it became an independent state in 1991, Putin said.

However, according to the president, one can hardly say that the situation in Ukraine has improved since the Western-backed Maidan coup of 2013-2014.

“The power remains in the hands of the oligarchs. The country has been put under external administration, with all key managers brought from neighboring countries or overseas. The living standards are drastically falling. The country’s GDP has decreased by an order. The deindustrialization of Ukraine is in full swing,” he said.

According to Putin, “it’s a very bad sign” that the West refused to give financial guarantees for Kiev’s $3 billion debt to Moscow, as it means that the US and EU have no faith in the solvency and stability of the Ukrainian economy.

Ukraine defaults on $3bn Eurobond to Russia

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In return for their troubles, the Ukrainians may be getting visa-free travel to Europe, but “is this a worthy fate and future for this beautiful country and its wonderful people?” he wondered.

The president stressed that despite the fall of Soviet Union more than two decades ago, Western international policies are still dominated by a Cold War mentality.

“The bipolar system collapsed. And our partners should have thought about how to become moral leaders of the newly emerging global relations. But they continued to act and think in the old ways, using Cold War clichés,” he said.

‘Europe fails to implement independent foreign policy’

Europe has given up on independent foreign policy, handing a large part of its sovereignty over to the US-led NATO block, Putin said in the film.

“The problem of Europe is that it doesn’t carry out any independent foreign policy at all,” he stressed.

“In principle, it’s a usual practice when part of the sovereignty of the members of a military-political bloc is transferred to supranational bodies,” the president said.

However, he stressed that, in Europe’s case, the sovereignty has been transferred not to NATO as a whole, but to the block’s leader – the US.

“We don’t expect our partners in Europe to abandon their Euro-Atlantic orientation. But I think it would be right if our partners in Europe – without abandoning this orientation – would nonetheless take part in decision making, and not just nod in agreement every time instructions are given from somewhere on the other side of the Atlantic,” Putin said.

The head of state said that, in his opinion, the true interests of the European nations currently lie in uniting efforts in the economic and political spheres, and in fighting terrorism and solving ecological problems.

“Join up with Russia right now,” he urged Russia’s European partners. “We’re ready for cooperation; we’re open and we’re not going to pout over the sanctions.”

‘New generations of Germans shouldn’t answer for what Hitler did’

Putin again stressed that no major international decision should be made without a full consensus in the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, UN, the US), calling it “the key thing in the whole system of international law.”

However, he stressed that the current world order was established after World Word II, but since then “the balance of power has visibly shifted and, of course, we must take that into account.”

For example, the role that modern Germany “can and should play on the international arena” should be acknowledged, the president said.

“All generations of Germans can’t feel limited in their rights because of what the Nazis did,” as there were many in the country who fought against Hitler, he stressed.

“I believe that I have the right to say so. Not only as president – the head of the Russian state – but also as a member of a family in which many died and suffered [during World War II],” Putin added.

As a whole, international relations should be steered “in a direction making them more stable,” he said.

‘Russia doesn’t want to curb relations with Turkish people’

Putin also commented on the recent cooling in relations with Turkey following Ankara’s shooting down of a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian border on November 24.

“We consider the Turkish people a friendly people and don’t want our relations with the Turkish people curtailed,” he stressed.

As for the current Turkish government under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “the morning sun never lasts a day,” Putin noted.

The ‘Miroporyadok’ documentary was filmed over several months, as the crew visited many countries to conduct dozens of interviews.

Serbian film director Emir Kusturica, former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange all appear in the film.

However, according to author, Vladimir Soloviev, it is the interviews with Putin that are “a crucially important” part of the documentary.

The president talked to the crew of the ‘Miroporyadok’ documentary just after his annual press conference on Thursday.

The ‘Miroporyadok’ documentary focuses on “the new world order, where the world is heading, what awaits us all, and in what future our children will find themselves in,” Soloviev said.

READ MORE: Putin wraps up 2015: Three hours of questions, 1,400 journalists & one star of the show

The ‘Miroporyadok’ documentary focuses on “the new world order, where the world is heading, what awaits us all, and in what future our children will find themselves in,” Soloviev said.

  • Published in World
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