Coups are Peace, Censorship is Trust, Intolerance is Love: 3 Orwellian slogans Western leaders adore

Exactly 70 years after George Orwell’s 1984 came out, most fancy themselves smart to totalitarian doublespeak. But perverse lies need no torchlight or mass rallies, just a tailored suit, complacent media and a docile populace.

We know this, yet hear them so often that they become background noise, and even if they come from the mouths of politicians we do not believe, we let the distortions wash over us, unwilling to expend the mental effort to challenge them every time. But when we stop and think, they barely make any sense.

‘Peace-loving nations’

“Peace-loving nations” desire a “peaceful transition” in Venezuela where “peaceful protesters” are being “threatened with violence” by “dictator” Nicolas Maduro, Donald Trump declared recently.

Protesters clash with police in Caracas in January. ©  REUTERS/STRINGER

In fact, the US president is openly urging what he must know will be an armed and bloody uprising perhaps magnitudes more devastating than the violence that has already taken place. A month after the same dove-releasing Western powers barely bothered to conceal how they coordinated efforts to endorse out of nowhere a little known self-proclaimed president, furnishing him with every financial tool and foreign-aid incentive to topple the elected government.

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One doesn’t have to be a fan of Chavismo or hate America to appreciate the sheer gall. Unless we think of this peace as some cast-iron Western guarantee for post-revolutionary idyll (hello, Libya and Iraq) the only way these nations could be less peaceful is if they actually invaded Venezuela themselves. And it’s not like they haven’t considered that option.

Close relative: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg telling the Munich Security Conference at the weekend that Russia’s missiles in Europe are a threat to stability, but that the alliance must invest more in weapons “to keep our people secure” – all while insisting that “we remain determined to avoid a new arms race.”

‘Internet of Trust’

“We need to build this new space – a free, open and safe internet – which I believe in profoundly, enabling the access of all but also enabling us to ensure our values and our ideals are respected there,” argued Emmanuel Macron in a speech to the UN last November.

So which is it – “free” or “respectful” ? Because, as he has now discovered with the Yellow Vests, in a truly free internet not everyone might share his “values and ideals.”

Further in his speech Macron did little to hide that censorship was his solution to the quandary: proposing an “Internet of Trust” that offered “regulation” that would keep out “enemies” that “enter all our systems, giving the impression they had the same rights as the others.”

Also on ‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report...

From Ruptly Facebook bans, to German social media laws, to the 1984-ish Newsguard, the Internet of Trust is already here.

Close relatives: Fake news. IntegrityInitiative – who, if not these people, should be the inquisitors of online truths? Almost anyone.

‘Don’t let hate win’

Variations of the “Don’t let hate win” refrain are particularly popular among the liberal luminaries even as they spread their love by condemning their political opponents as black-hating or children-caging bigots, denying that they could experience such human feelings as kindness or empathy. All while congratulating themselves on being much nobler people, while occasionally physically assaulting them, if they are Antifa. What a way to defeat hate.

Intolerance for supposed intolerance is an established tactic at this point, and the sympathetic media will clap along as Hillary Clinton talks about “deplorables” or Michelle Obama boasts about how “When they go low, we go high.” The moral high ground was occupied a long time ago.

Close relative: Celebration of diversity. Who could argue with Justin Trudeau or Barack Obama’s assertion that it is indeed our strength? Perhaps those who disagree with them, thus espousing the wrong kind of diversity – of thought. Being the bad kind of diverse is particularly inadvisable for those holding political office or incapable of tear-filled public apologies.

Igor Ogorodnev

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Reasons for a YES for Cuba

Ana Sánchez Collazo, Elier Ramírez Cañedo and René González Barrio explain the reasons for voting YES for Cuba, in the coming elections on February 24th.

Cuban academics and intellectuals who line up with the principles of the Revolution, spoke to CubaSí about the essences and reasons that will take them to vote YES for Cuba in the coming elections on February 24th.

All patriots: The head of the Study Center of Martí, Ana Sánchez Collazo; the young historian Elier Ramírez Cañedo, and the president of the Institute of Cuban History, René González Barrio.

For my Present and my Future

“My vote will be Yes for my Homeland, my family, my present and my future”, affirmed Ana Sánchez Collazo, a woman who has found in Martí’s ideas a philosophy of life.

Very excited around these days, after participating in the 4th International Conference for World Balance, Ana Sánchez is convinced about the validity of Martí’s ideas and the need to study his work.

“As Cuban I am proud that this Constitution reflects the Cuba of today and that in addition guarantees the fundamental rights of human beings, for those the Revolution has fought for over 60 years.

“This new Constitution expresses something that our José Martí always said about the dignity of people, that it must be respected. It’s a text shaped to our times nowadays, to the needs we have today of defending what’s ours, but also open ourselves to the future and to the world.”

The professor added that this is a very advanced document that shows “our achievements” and, above all, it opens paths to keep the work of the Revolution. “For that reason I invite everybody who feels Cuban to vote for the Homeland!”, she emphasized.

A new Constitution, as Revolutionary as that of Guáimaro!

Academic, a PhD in Historical Sciences, member of the Drafting board of the Constitution, Elier Ramírez Cañedo considers that the process scheduled to finish on February 24th with a popular referendum has been historical and unparallel.

“We can’t deny that in the history of the Revolution other similar processes have occurred —for example, in 1976 another referendum took place—. However, that happened during these months is unparallel keeping in mind the level of participation and the role of new technologies as well as the social networks.

“That is, the fact that people have been able to participate two or three times in the consultation and give opinions in each space, even the opportunity to revise materials in the social networks, something that improved the presented project.”

The young historian qualified this Constitution as advanced, modern, adapted to the conditions of our country and, at the same time, thought for the future, in defense of our socialist system, the leadership of the Party, the unity, the praise to man’s dignity that “is present in the entire document.”

He added that the new Constitution increases dearly the number of Rights in comparison with that of 1976. These are some of the strong points.

“The process was a democratic exercise, plenty of debate that demonstrated us the popular knowledge and also that capacity attained by the Revolution, that’s why at present we have specialists of multiple subjects.

“It’s a Constitution that sets a landmark, not just in Latin America but also in the world, for the rights that incorporates and the guarantees of those rights.”

He pointed out that with this constitution begins a new stage with an extraordinary symbolism “because it takes place, in fact, on the 60th anniversary of the Revolution and with the presence of the Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, the number follower of Fidel of all Cubans, directing the Drafting Board of the constitution.

“Besides that is proclaimed in the 150th anniversary of our first Constitution of Guáimaro to be commemorated next April 10th. Nevertheless, I consider that the new text is still as revolutionary as the one approved by our freedom fighters in 1869 and that pays homage to our history, where the ideas of Martí and Fidel are also present.”

Consequent with the Homeland History

For René González Barrio, to vote YES next February 24th implies to be consequent with the history of our nation, with the project began by Carlos Manuel de Cespedes and that Fidel was able to make real with the victory of the Revolution.

“It means to be consequent with all the fallen revolutionaries all those years of making the Revolution before and after 1959 in the fight against bandits, in the Literacy Campaign, in the internationalist missions. The entire effort, the sweat and blood of our people rests in that Constitution which is the result of popular knowledge.

“Because it’s been a democratic process it has allowed us to enrich the initial project feeding on the comments, additions, and teachings of the people. To vote YES for this new Constitution is to say YES for the project of Homeland that we Cubans have chosen.”

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Pompeo Uses 'Democracy' Guise to Attack Foes in Eurotrip

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will conduct a trip to Central Europe with the objective of promoting 'democracy' while peddling anti-Russia and China discourse.

The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo started a tour of five nations in Europe on Sunday where he will promote the White House’s anti-China and Russia agenda under the banner of 'democracy.'

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The Secretary of State is expected to look for ways to rekindle weak partnerships with Hungary, Slovakia, and Budapest during the trip. These are countries where the U.S. is worried about losing its hegemony to China and Russia which have strengthened ties.

However, countries like Hungary have strong economic ties with Washington DC’s foes which seem difficult to undermine. Hungary, for example, receives most of its gas from its Russian neighbors and is one the countries from the EU to benefit the most from Chinese investment, according to VOAnews.

Donald Trump’s administration suggested it is seeking a closer relationship with Hungary’s Victor Orban who is known for his repression of media, labor unions, and who won a third consecutive term last year in a campaign based on anti-immigration policies. The anti-immigrant policy is certainly an area where Trump and Orban share common ground.

Orban has recently stated that he believed there should be “anti-immigration” forces in all European institutions. While Trump has been active in trying to create the notion that migrant caravans full of women and children are trying to invade the U.S. and therefore represent a threat to national security, which are claims that have been completely discredited.

Remarks made by top cabinet officials in Orban’s government indicate a desire to strengthen ties with the U.S., particularly the call to encourage ExxonMobil to develop a gas field in the Black Sea as a means to reduce dependence on Russia.

The U.S. government has also been active in generating accords to strengthen the military capabilities of Hungary and Slovakia to sell them F-16 fighter jets.

The U.S. Secretary of State will also take part in a conference in Poland where he aims to continue to demonize Iran, entitled “Future of Peace Security in the Middle East.”

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Cuba Continues Preparations for Constitutional Referendum

Preparations for a referendum continue on Monday in Cuba, where its inhabitants are convened to vote on February 24 to ratify the new Constitution.

The Constitution -approved in December by the People's Power National Assembly (Parliament)- is already in printed, digital formats and as a mobile application.

The options that each Cuban citizen has to know, read and study in a conscious way the future law of laws are opened.

Different sources state that as a example of the extraordinary interest the Draft Constitutional process arouses in the population, about 1,531,149 copies of the document have already been sold.

The 'Federico Engels' Graphic Arts Company printed a total of 3,100,000 copies of the Constitution's tabloids, and they were distributed in the country's all municipalities by Correos de Cuba company.

Raul Palmero, president of the Federation of University Student (FEU), posted on Twitter that nearly 9,000 university students were committed themselves as voluntary collaborators to guarantee the quality and transparency of the consultation.

Meanwhile, the Identification, Immigration and Foreign Affairs Direction of the Ministry of the Interior continues works related to the electoral registration.

Colonel Mario Mendez explained that the State accepts responsibility and guarantees that all citizens over 16 years of age can have the right to vote.

Our mission is that no Cuban eligible to vote is outside the list, the colonel said.

More than eight million Cubans are called to ratify on February 24 the new Constitution of the Republic approved on December 22 by the People's Power National Assembly.

The Constitution ratifies Cuba's socialist nature and the leading role of the Communist Party in its society.

It also reflects changes in the structure of the State, extends guarantees and human rights, promotes foreign investment, and recognizes several forms of property, including private property.

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Cuba to Publish Electoral List for Referendum

The list of voters who will participate the February 24 referendum on Cuba's new Constitution will be released as of January 16, local radio reported on Monday.

It is important that each person verifies registration and data, and if necessary, proceed to correct, modify or update them with the corresponding constituency authorities.

The list of voters is the public document that includes identification and residence data of the citizens eligible to active vote, registered in the Electoral Registration.

Legally protected by Decree Law 248/2007, the Electoral Registration is public and permanent, and all citizens with legal capacity to vote are registered on it, Radio Rebelde station recalls.

Correos de Cuba company put the Constitution of the Republic at the Cuban inhabitants' disposal.

The Parliament recalled during a press release that the Constitution that will replace the one in force since 1976 was approved on December 22 in the Assembly, during the second ordinary period of the 9th Legislature.

The 16-page tabloid is already available in all provinces, and its price is one Cuban peso, the document said.

Cubans have already accessed the document through media and the Internet, for a referendum in which more than eight million citizens are convened.

The new Constitution is the result of a broad popular consultation, held from August 13 to November 15, with the participation of almost nine million people in 133,000 meetings held in neighborhoods and workplaces and schools.

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Main Changes in Cuba's Draft Constitution

The popular referendum held in Cuba from August 13 to November 15 generated more than 700 changes in the Draft Constitution, which is being analyzed in detail by the lawmakers of the People''s Power National Assembly (Parliament).

The document, enriched with the opinions submitted in neighborhoods and work places and educational centers, as well as by Cubans on missions or who reside abroad, contains 229 articles (five more than the previous version) grouped in 11 chapters.

The preface to the proposed Magna Carta, which in order to come into force and replace the Constitution in force since 1976 must be approved by the Assembly and in a popular referendum, extends recognition of Cubans who for centuries have fought for 'a free, independent, sovereign, democratic motherland with social justice and human solidarity.'

Regarding the Fundamental Principles of the Nation, it reflects in Article 9 that 'Strictly complying with socialist legality is an obligation of all,' while Article 11 adds to the elements on which the State exercises its sovereignty and jurisdiction, the continental platform and the adjoining zone.

In the chapter related to the Economic Foundations, articles were added from the contribution of citizens, such as Article 20 on the recognition of workers' participation in the processes of planning, regulation, management and control of the economy.

Likewise, it establishes in Article 21 that the State promotes the promotes science, technology and innovation as essential elements for socioeconomic development.

In the case of the several forms of property, including the socialist property of the entire people, the mixed property, cooperatives and private property, it defines that those exercised over the means of production interact under similar conditions, and the State regulates and controls the way they contribute to the country's development.

The Draft Constitution extends the rights, duties and guarantees, and in this regard it adds Article 40, which states, 'Human dignity is the supreme value that underpins the recognition and exercise of the rights and duties enshrined (...).'

Similarly, it states that the expropriation of property is authorized only for reasons of public use or social interest, with due compensation.

Families have a particular recognition in the document, which endorses the right of every person to found a family.

'The State recognizes and protects families, whatever their form of organization (...),' it adds.

Regarding marriage, it defines it as 'a social and legal institution. It is one of the forms of organization of families,' so Article 68 of the previous version of the Draft Constitution was eliminated, which described marriage as 'the union voluntarily arranged between two persons with legal capacity to do so.'

It also emphasizes the protection of children and adolescents against all types of violence and guarantees the active participation of young people in society.

Another aspect with new articles in the Draft Constitution is the one related to the guarantees of rights, highlighting that people can access the judicial bodies in order to obtain effective protection of their rights and legitimate interests.

In addition, Article 93 recognizes the right to resolve disputes using alternative methods of dispute resolution.

With regard to legal security, Article 94 provides for the enjoyment of equal opportunities in all processes involving persons as parties, and the right to provide the relevant evidence and to request the exclusion of those obtained by violating what was established.

The article itself also reflects the right to a process without undue delay and to compensation for material and moral damages.

With respect to the President of the Republic, a leading figure that would be created if the Constitution is approved in the referendum, it adds to its faculties: to propose to the delegates of the municipal assemblies the election or revocation of the governors and vice governors.

With regard to the governor, Article 175 indicates that the governor is elected by the delegates to the municipal assemblies, a modification from the previous Draft Constitution, which established his/her appointment.

  • Published in Cuba

The New Constitution to Represents All Cubans, MP Says

The new Constitution will represent all Cubans, because it stems from the criteria compiled in the country's neighborhoods and houses, MP Nelson Dominguez said Thursday.

The renowned plastic artist told Prensa Latina at the Convention Palace in Havana on the second day of the National Assembly dedicated to debate changes to the initial draft constitution. It has been enriched by opinions and proposals made by the people during the consultations held from August 13 to November 15.

We are now seeing a different document (compared to the one approved by Parliament in July), with transformations, which has to do with Cuban culture and freedom, he said.

The 133,000 meetings held in neighborhoods and centers of work and study generated some 780,000 proposals, which during the processing of these criteria were classified into nearly 9,600 sample opinions, half of which were incorporated in one way or another into the draft to add 760 changes. The Cuban parliamentarians began Wednesday the new draft analysis, which will be submitted for the National Assembly members' approval during the second ordinary period of its 9th Legislature, scheduled for Friday.

If MPs pass it, the decision on whether or not to implement the constitution will be taken by Cuban residents in a referendum scheduled for February.

The New Constitution to Represents All Cubans, MP Says

The new Constitution will represent all Cubans, because it stems from the criteria compiled in the country''s neighborhoods and houses, MP Nelson Dominguez said Thursday.

The renowned plastic artist told Prensa Latina at the Convention Palace in Havana on the second day of the National Assembly dedicated to debate changes to the initial draft constitution. It has been enriched by opinions and proposals made by the people during the consultations held from August 13 to November 15.

We are now seeing a different document (compared to the one approved by Parliament in July), with transformations, which has to do with Cuban culture and freedom, he said.

The 133,000 meetings held in neighborhoods and centers of work and study generated some 780,000 proposals, which during the processing of these criteria were classified into nearly 9,600 sample opinions, half of which were incorporated in one way or another into the draft to add 760 changes. The Cuban parliamentarians began Wednesday the new draft analysis, which will be submitted for the National Assembly members' approval during the second ordinary period of its 9th Legislature, scheduled for Friday.

If MPs pass it, the decision on whether or not to implement the constitution will be taken by Cuban residents in a referendum scheduled for February.

  • Published in Cuba

As Brazil shifts right, its leftists search for a way forward

After defining Brazilian politics for much of the past two decades, the party is still ruled by its imprisoned 73-year-old founder, threatened by internal divisions and concentrated in a region far from the center of economic power.

The damage goes beyond the drubbing voters delivered to the party’s presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, who lost by a 10-percentage-point margin in Sunday’s election.

For millions of Brazilians, the PT, as the Workers Party is known, has become synonymous with corruption and mismanagement. PT governments in recent years presided over the biggest bribery scandal in the nation’s history and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Street crime has also exploded.

The backlash has been severe. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva - whom Barack Obama once dubbed “the most popular politician on Earth” - sits in a prison cell, serving a 12-year sentence for graft and money laundering. Lula’s hand-picked successor, former President Dilma Rousseff, was impeached for fudging public accounts.

Angry voters responded by throwing their support to Bolsonaro, including sizeable numbers of low-income workers, Afro-Brazilians and university students who were long the PT’s core supporters. The bombastic former Army captain tapped into their fury, vowing to crack down on criminals, be they in the streets or in the halls of Congress.

Even some voters nervous about Bolsonaro - who has urged police to shoot to kill and vowed to jail or drive his political foes out of the country - chose him as an insurance policy to keep the PT from returning to power.

Brazilian hip-hop icon Mano Brown chastised party leadership as being out of touch with voters at a star-studded concert and PT rally in Rio de Janeiro just days before Sunday’s wipeout.

“There is no reason for us to celebrate,” Brown told the crowd as stunned dignitaries, including Haddad and famed singer-songwriters Caetano Veloso and Chico Buarque, looked on. “If you can’t speak the people’s language, you’re going to lose big.”


Corruption in Brazilian politics existed long before the PT was formed in 1980 to unite union workers, artists and intellectuals to help end Brazil’s 1964-1985 dictatorship.

All of the country’s major political parties, not just the PT, are implicated in the so-called Operation Car Wash investigation that ensnared Lula. PT loyalists say he and Rousseff were the victims of a right-wing “coup” that sought to discredit their leadership and undo social programs that lifted millions from poverty and gave minorities a seat at the table.

But even some PT stalwarts admit its rise from an opposition party to a governing one caused it to lose touch with its roots. Horse trading in the capital Brasilia became paramount for the party to stay on top, said Carlos Alberto Libanio Christo, a Roman Catholic priest and founding member of the PT who is known in Brazil as Frei Betto.

“Gradually, the PT traded its project for Brazil in favor of a project for power,” said Frei Betto, who spent four years imprisoned during the dictatorship. “The party disappeared from the countryside and the poor urban outskirts.”

Another major challenge is that the PT is dwarfed by the towering presence of Lula, who still runs the show from jail.

Barred from running for another term due to his felony convictions, Lula tapped Haddad, the former mayor of Sao Paulo, as his stand-in, a gambit that failed miserably.

Lula loyalists, including Washington Quaquá, the head of the PT in Rio de Janeiro state, are sticking with Haddad despite his resounding defeat.

“Haddad came out of this election a great leader,” Quaquá said. “He emerged with the stature needed to be our national leader.”

But a militant faction of the PT is pushing for more aggressive leadership. Some grouse that Haddad, a mild-mannered political science professor at the elite University of Sao Paulo, is not tough enough to take on Bolsonaro.

Gleisi Hoffman, currently the president of the party, had resisted putting Haddad at the top of the ticket until Lula told her to fall in line, according to party members familiar with the internal debate.


The news for the PT is not entirely dismal.

The party won the most seats in the lower house on Sunday. It also took four governorships, more than any other party, although all were concentrated in Brazil’s poor northeast, a traditional PT stronghold.

After the shock of Bolsonaro’s big win dissipates, the PT will unify and embrace its role as the resistance, with Haddad at the helm, predicted Alberto Almeida, the founder of Brasilis, a political and social analysis firm in Sao Paulo.

“After all, he did win 45 million votes,” Almeida said.

He said the PT’s mission will be to confront a challenge not seen since Brazil’s return to democracy three decades ago: combating an “extreme-right leader.”

“In that way, the PT’s role is similar to what the Democrats in the U.S. are facing with Trump,” Almeida said.

Haddad signaled as much in his concession speech in Sao Paulo, issuing a rallying cry to a movement in disarray.

“All of us here, who helped build one of the world’s largest democracies, must maintain it in the face of provocations and threats,” Haddad said. “Have courage. The key to life is courage.”


  • Published in World
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