Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tutu Makes Hay Appeal for Zimbabwe

Tutu in Hay appeal for Zimbabwe

Archbishop Desmond Tutu has pleaded for increased support for Zimbabwe's fragile national unity government.

The anti-apartheid icon, a key-note speaker at Hay's literary festival, said Zimbabwe had become a "hell on earth".

He was questioned by a Zimbabwean activist on the lack of unity among the leaders of southern African countries in dealing robustly with Robert Mugabe's regime.

He said the new unity government was the best option and that change could only really come at the next election.

Archbishop Tutu told the woman that he "felt very deeply" with her anguish.

Tutu, now the emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town, said some leaders had taken a tougher line with President Mugabe.

He said he hoped other leaders would follow suit.

Tutu also said he understood too that countries were reluctant to give aid to a country with so many problems.

But he said this was the best way forward and that would help to strengthen the political process and give Morgan Tsvangirai a decisive mandate at the next election.

In a wide-ranging and witty conversation with festival director Peter Florence, the Nobel laureate praised the human spirit in adversity.

He said if apartheid could be abolished in South Africa then surely most of the world's problems could be solved.

There was no situation that was "totally intractable" he said.

Tutu also said his roving brief as a "global elder" had involved him in helping to resolve the problems in Gaza.

He criticised the conditions Palestinians were living under and said the only answer was the two-state solution.

But he warned that if the Palestinian question was not resolved, the world could "give up on everything else".

"This is the problem and it is in our hands," he said.

Tutu said he felt that religious faith had played a large part in the process of rebuilding post-apartheid South Africa.

Archbishop of Canterbury

He said they had had "an enormous advantage that trumped everything - we had Nelson Mandela".

Modestly playing down his own role, he said he was a good captain of a winning team.

Earlier, Archbishop Tutu attended a church service in Hay, where the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the address.

Rowan Williams called for lifestyles to be more human and to avoid the excesses of individualism and collectivism.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/05/28 21:40:39 GMT

Union Voices GM Deal Job Concerns

Union voices GM deal job concerns

Union leaders say they fear for UK jobs after a deal was announced to save the European arm of General Motors.

Germany has agreed a deal with Canadian car parts maker Magna International to take over most of GM Europe, which owns Vauxhall and Germany-based Opel.

The UK government says it is optimistic Vauxhall, which employs 5,500 people in Luton and Ellesmere Port, can be saved.

But Derek Simpson, general secretary of the Unite union, fears German plants will be saved rather than UK factories.

Under the deal struck late on Friday night, the German government will provide an emergency loan of £1.3bn while the European arm of GM is sold to Magna, with investment backing from Russia.

Bankruptcy expected

GM in the US is expected to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday.

Speaking after the deal was announced, UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said Magna had made it clear it was committed to continued production in the UK. He added that he would be seeking a meeting to "reinforce that commitment".

But he added: "Of course it will involve change, there is excess capacity."

Mr Simpson told BBC News: "I'm not entirely certain where it leaves Vauxhall. If there is overcapacity in Europe and Magna and the people associated appear to be making very strong commitments not just to Opel but particularly to the German plants, doubtlessly based on the support of the German government, it makes you wonder where the cut in capacity will come.

"That's the great worry - that the German plants will be saved and that just puts more pressure on everywhere else, obviously including the UK."

While there was no reason why Vauxhall could not be saved, he said it was "easier, cheaper and quicker to dismiss UK workers than elsewhere in Western developed Europe".

Mr Simpson said the British government could have been more involved in the negotiations, which took place in Berlin and were attended by German chancellor Angela Merkel and other ministers as well as car firm representatives but not Lord Mandelson.

He added: "I want to know, clearly quite frankly what the UK government's doing to try and ensure that the Vauxhall plants here are indeed as safe."

However he said it was "understandable" the German government had been at the forefront of negotiations, with about half of GM Europe's 50,000 workers employed in Germany.

'No lame duck'

Ellesmere Port MP Andrew Miller said the UK should "hold" Magna to its commitment to continue production in the UK "not because of them supporting some desperate lame duck but because they'll be supporting a business that's got a real future and that's what this is all about".

He said the 2,200 workers employed directly at the Ellesmere Port plant supported another 15,000 or so jobs in the supply chain, meaning any cutbacks would have a profound effect on the wider region.

But he said the factory had some leverage for negotiation with the new owners because of its high productivity and highly trained workforce, plus the fact it was ideally placed to produced the "next generation" electric vehicles.

Speaking before the deal was struck on Friday, Tony Woodley, joint Unite general secretary with Mr Simpson, said any deal would be better than the company going into administration.

He said he hoped the UK government would "get really into negotiations and try to make sure that both of our plants have a long-term future in this really important manufacturing industry".

He added: "If the negotiations that finally settle down see any of our two car plants close then quite frankly questions will have to be asked as to how competent and how capable and how energetic we have been in securing jobs for our country."

Immediate loan

Magna, backed by a Russian bank and Russian truckmaker GAZ, says it will invest more than 500m euros into Opel.

The German government is expected to provide an immediate loan facility of 1.5bn euros ($2.1bn).

The other potential bidder had been Fiat, which did not attend Friday's talks with the German government, saying Berlin's request for additional funds was "unreasonable".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/05/30 15:45:19 GMT

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Chinese Engagement in Nigeria Would Aid the Industrialization of the Country

Saturday, May 30, 2009

'Chinese Engagement In Nigeria Would Aid The Industrialisation Of The Country'

Deborah A. Brutigam, an associate professor of the School of International Service, was in Nigeria for two weeks as part of a research work on the impacts of Chinese engagement in Africa. Brutigam, who will tour not less than 12 African countries in the course of the project spoke to ONYEDIKA AGBEDO on her findings concerning Nigeria, with a verdict that it stands a chance to benefit from the relationship in the long run if well harnessed.

What informed your current visit to Nigeria?

I have been here for two weeks as part of a research project on Chinese engagement in Africa. I chose to come to Nigeria because I have been here three times before now.

However, my mission this time is to see how Chinese engagement is doing in the country and what impacts it is having on the country's economy. The intention is to approve or disprove what I read in the newspapers about China and Africa.

The study is part of a book project I am writing a called the Dragons Gift, which will tell the real story of China in Africa. I have visited some countries in Africa in for this purpose. I have been to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Mauritius and South Africa and I expect to go to Zimbabwe and Mozambique soon. I have an assistant that is also going to Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya and Uganda. He will equally go back to Zambia.

What are your findings so far from these expeditions?

Well, I would say it is a mixed impact here in Nigeria. On the one hand, a lot of Nigerian manufacturing companies have been battered by competition. I went to Nnewi in Anambra State where I first visited in 1991 and then in 1994 and found that a lot of the industries I visited then have folded up because they could not face the competition from China. People said Nigerian industries don't really have a fair chance to compete because of the problems of power, poor road networks, unpredictable taxes, poor water supply and poor security, among others. These problems combine to make their products and services cost higher, which results in unfair competition.

On the other hand, one can also see some very interesting signs in the Nigerian engagement with the Chinese companies. In Nnewi I found out that there are some robust factories in the town, which had Chinese partners. There are other factories that had only Chinese technical partners where they don't put in any money but put in the expertise. This was interesting to me because such partnerships are helping some new industries take off again in Nnewi. So, on the one hand is the Chinese competition and on the other hand you have the Chinese stimulating industrial development in Nigeria.

The competition might seem harmful to the Nigerian economy at present but in the future, I think it is quite possible that the technical cooperation could aid in the industrialisation of Nigeria. It is possible.

Of what benefit is this study to you and the American academic community as a whole?

Actually, I was commissioned to write the book by the Oxford University Press in England. They asked me to do that because 10 years ago, I published a book on Chinese aid to Africa. Initially, not many people were interested about China and Africa and I was one of the few experts that really undertook to look at that. So, when the Oxford University Press learnt that I had worked on in the past, they asked me to write a fresh book on the topic for further explanation and understanding.

I think the United States and Europe are very concerned about China. In fact, I find the United States and Europe more concerned about China coming to Africa than Africans themselves. It makes me think that a lot of people are afraid of China in my country and see China as a threat to American interest. May be, they also think that China is a threat to Africa. So, that is what I am trying to work out, to find out whether China is really a threat to Africa or it is merely being misconceived. I would also be looking at what the good things about this relationship are and then the demerits. So, I am trying to sieve facts from fiction, realities from myths. I may not be able to get to the bottom of if here but I think by being here, I would be in a better position to forge ahead than if I had not come at all.

I visited the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and they gave me some statistics. I understood that they have invested about $6 billion so far in Nigeria. So they are growing in putting industries here. I don't know how Nigerians regard them; what the impression is, but I think it is interesting that they have been here. Some of the companies have been working in Nigeria since 1979. That makes it 30 years. So, it has been a long time and a long relationship.

What material benefit do you hope to gain after this study or you are just doing it for academic fulfilment?

As a scholar, I think there is a benefit to understand what is really happening between China and Africa. As I earlier said, there are a lot of people that are interested in the topic. But I think they have some mistaken ideas already that have become widely accepted.

There is this believe that Chinese aid is so big on Africa, but it is not. There is also the belief that China is only interested in oil but it is interested in business. The trading between China and Nigeria is mostly Chinese export to Nigeria. Last year Nigeria exported almost no oil to China but they exported a lot of goods to the country. For America, I think China is competing really with us. They are penetrating our markets. So, they are just competitors like Japan is today and they are not as threatening as some people in America seem to think. I don't think they are very different actors in Africa.

How would you react to the view in some quarters that Nigeria has become a dumping ground for Chinese products, which are allegedly sub-standard mostly?

I guess this is the way to look at it. China produces some of the best products in the world now. But they are also producing very poor quality products that are very cheap. So, when Nigerian traders go to China to import goods to the country, they have a choice. They can buy the best quality or go for the cheap goods. The Chinese would sell to them. So, what they bring back is a lot of what you have in the market. If you go to a shopping mall in Lagos, you can get very good quality things from China and you will pay more. But if you go for the cheap ones, which are of poor quality and it breaks down the next day, then you got what you bargained for. So, I would not say that they are actually dumping their goods in Nigerian markets. The technical definition of dumping is selling something below cost, which I believe is not what is going on. It is only a question of ensuring proper regulation by the authorities to safeguard the health of the citizenry.

We have had the same issue in America and even China in the past. So, these things are problems elsewhere and it is probably as a result of an early stage of capitalism without good regulatory systems in place. So beefing up your own standards, health inspectors and borders would help to protect Nigerians. But at the end of the day, you get what you paid for in terms of the quality of goods.

Let me take you back to your trip to Nnewi. What exactly were your findings about some of the companies you visited in the past that have folded?

Let me say that it is natural for companies to fold. It is unnatural for companies to succeed. If you look over a 10-year period and the businesses that were started then, most of them have gone out of business. That is the natural way that it happens. It is competition.

An Australian economist that visited the United States sometime ago gave us this idea of creative destruction. He said capitalism is not about destruction but about creative destruction because new products and new competition will make things better. So, that is one thing that is going on in Nnewi. Another thing that has happened over the course of industrialisation is that some of the smaller companies will go into a business and after sometime become bigger and diversified. This has also happened in Nnewi.

There is the Ibeto group, which was before now a very small business until it grew and diversified. There is also Chikason, which started off an agro industry in a very small scale but it has now become very large. There is Innoson, which started with a motorcycle assembly. Now he has built a factory in Enugu where he would be producing tyres and assembling vehicles. There are many more companies like that which have taken the place of the other ones which are using simpler technologies and not able to compete.

It is probably the result of Nigeria liberalising trade over the past decade over the past decade or so and making competition greater for Nigerian manufacturers. But again if the Nigerian government could guarantee infrastructure, a lot of businesses in Nnewi would bounce back because they are very entrepreneurial. Inadequate infrastructure constitutes extra costs for manufacturers and they don't have these kinds of problems in China by and large.

Which other parts of the country do you intend to visit apart from Nnewi and Enugu?

I have been to Abuja, the Federal Capital. I am now in Lagos where I will be visiting some of the companies.

When do you hope to complete the study?

Well, I have gone very far now and hope to get the work out soon.

With what you have seen so far, to what extent do you think China could assist in the industrialisation of Africa?

The Chinese are interested in investing outside their country now. They have a policy called the New Centre Back 2001, otherwise known as going global. For over a period of 20 to 30 years, the Chinese government has invited foreign investments into China. They have invited foreign industries and technologies and learnt about how to do things. Now the government is try to push Chinese companies to go out and become multinational corporations and invest overseas. So they have been doing that since 2001 and are interested in coming to Africa.

You may not know it but there are two special economic zones that the Chinese are setting up in Nigeria. The Chinese found that the special economic zones were very useful for their own development in the past and now they want to do such overseas. Right now they have seven in Africa with two situated in Nigeria. These zones would have their own power supply and infrastructure and would be close to the port and I think they would be doing manufacturing and exports from there. They are doing it in Zambia, Egypt, Algeria, Ethiopia and Mauritius with the support of their government. And so, I see their interest in the industrialisation of Africa as very real. I think you would be seeing more Chinese companies coming here when the zones are finished.

There will be benefits in the form of employment. You can also benefit through technology transfer. I don't know what the system is but it is possible that Nigerians could also invest in those special economic zones. I don't know for sure if it is possible but I know in some countries it is possible for local industries to invest in those zones. And if your government is smart it would ensure that Nigerians could also invest there.

This is your fourth visit to Nigeria. What is your impression about the country?

Well, when I first came here there was no Abuja so that is a big change. But I think a lot of things are still the same. A lot of the challenges are still here especially in infrastructure. When I came here in 1987, people said NEPA meant 'Never Ever Power Again.' And they are still saying that today. I am wondering when it would become over.

I think the country should at appoint figure out something other than NEPA to provide power. In Abah there is an interesting experiment going on by Geometrics. I didn't visit the place but I understood the man is trying to do an independent power production. If more of this could happen around the country, may be the people could take care of the power problems themselves.

I keep coming back to Nigeria because I really like it; I enjoy the country. And Nigerians are the most amazing people. They are so intelligent, so full of ideas and creativity that I think if channelled to how the country could be developed, it would just take off. Nigeria is a country with so much potential but being held back. I wish it good luck.

The Shameful History of the OAS

The shameful history of the OAS

Emergence and development of the Organization of American States • Its role in the region • Inter-American complicity in U.S. aggression against the Cuban people • Raul Roa’s battle for dignity • The OAS must be dismantled as the only liberating option for today • Cuba will never rejoin

Oscar Sánchez Serra

SINCE its take-off as a nation, the United States of America has always countered the ideology of Latin American unity and integration with its pretensions for continental domination, an ambition expressed on December 2, 1823 in the famous Monroe Doctrine and synthesized in the phrase: "America for the Americans." It was not until the final quarter of the 19th century that that philosophy could be put into practice, when the unprecedented growth of its national industry transformed the United States into a rapidly rising power, with which it proposed not only domination of the continent but to launch itself into the battle for a new division of the world.

Thus, at the end of 1889, the U.S. government convened the 1st Pan-American Conference, which was the starting point of "Panamericanism," perceived as the economic and political domination of the Americas under a supposed "continental unity." That implied an updating of the Monroe Doctrine at the point when U.S. capitalism arrived at its imperialist phase. José Martí, an exceptional witness to the emergence of the imperialist monster, posed the question in relation to that conference: "Why go as allies, in the finest years of one’s youth, to the battle that the United States is preparing to wage with the rest of the world?" and he was right. From 1899 to 1945, in eight similar conferences, three consultation meetings and a number of conferences on special issues, the advance of U.S. economic, political and military penetration in Latin America was established.


The end of World War II, from which the U.S. emerged fortified, saw the initiation of a period of ascent for Panamericanism and the Inter-American System, which began with the Chapultepec Conference in 1945, progressed to the creation of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1948, and the invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965, consolidating the subordination of the continent’s governments to U.S. foreign policy.

Thus, the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace in Chapultepec in March 1945 had a defined political objective: to align the countries of the region to confront the process that would arrive with the creation of the United Nations.

As a result, at the San Francisco Conference in April 1945, during which the UN was founded, U.S. diplomacy, supported by the Latin American countries, defended the "autonomy" of the Inter-American System and secured the inclusion in Article 51 of the UN Charter of the solution of differences via "American" methods and systems. The interpretation given by the Executive Council of the Pan-American Union is that the UN Charter was born compatible with the Inter-American System and the Act of Chapultepec.

In August 1947, the Pan-American Conference of Rio de Janeiro passed a resolution that gave origin to the instrument that would give life to the permissive clause dragged out of the UN: the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR in Spanish), which reaffirmed the principle of continental "solidarity" put forward by Washington in the function of confronting any situation that might endanger "its peace" in America, and to adopt necessary measures, including the use of force. The Rio Treaty imposed the yanki will on the continent, constituting a constant threat to the sovereignty of the Latin American nations.

The crowning moment came when the International Conference of American States in Bogotá – from March 30 to May 2 – gave life to the Organization of American States (OAS). In the middle of that meeting the Colombian liberal leader, Jorge E. Gaitán, a man rooted in the people, was assassinated, prompting a huge insurrection known as the Bogatazo, which was brutally repressed. His murder served to manipulate the course and results of the Conference, given that the U.S. promoted the threat to democracy signified by the rise of the Soviet Union and communism, on which it blamed the deaths in Bogotá.

However, both the TIAR and the Bogotá Conference coincided with a intensification of economic problems in Latin America, whose countries – enthused by the Marshall Plan for Europe – began to demand an aid plan for the region. But Secretary of State George Marshall personally took charge of defrauding them.

From the debate on and adoption of the OAS Charter emerged an extensive document of 120 articles, signed unreservedly by the 21 countries meeting in Bogotá. The Charter made its own some of the cardinal and just principles of international law; however, at Washington’s urging, provisions were introduced that transferred to the OAS the principal postulates of the TIAR, and so, from its creation, the OAS has been the ideal juridical instrument for U.S. domination on the continent.

Its diplomatic rhetoric in relation to provisions on the independence and sovereignty of nations and human and civil rights has remained a dead letter.


In 1954, Guatemala was invaded by mercenary troops organized by the CIA, who brought down the government of Jacobo Arbenz. The OAS had previously lent itself to the passing of a resolution which introduced the variant of collective regional intervention, in express violation of its own Charter and that of the United Nations. In the face of a consummated act, the organization confined itself to giving laissez faire to the United States and delayed any review of the situation, ignoring the interests of the country that had been attacked.

The OAS conduct toward Cuba starting with the triumph of the Revolution; its support of the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961; the actions it unleashed in the political-diplomatic order to isolate us, which concluded with the expulsion of our country in January 1962 and the rupture of diplomatic relations with the island on the part of countries in the region, signified a degree of barbarity that placed the organization all the more in doubt.

In April 1965, yanki marines disembarked in Santo Domingo to prevent the imminent victory of the constitutional popular movement over the military forces of reaction. The OAS dispatched its secretary general, Uruguayan José A. Mora, to the Dominican capital with the ostensible proposition of obtaining a truce between the warring factions, while its Consultative Body postponed making any decision in order to allow the military forces to take control of the situation. After many moves, the United States secured – by the narrow margin of one vote – the passing of a resolution approving the creation of an Inter-American Peace Force, thus producing, for the first time under OAS auspices, a collective intervention in one country in the region.

The OAS, whose basic tenets included the principle of non-intervention on the part of any state in the internal affairs of another, continued in crisis.

March 1982 brought the British intervention that gave rise to the Malvinas War and the first aggression of an extra-continental power in a country belonging to the Inter-American System. That act, according to the TIAR, should have convened continental solidarity with the country under attack.

And…? The United States gave political and military backing to Britain and imposed economic sanctions on Argentina. And, what did the OAS do? It delayed any reaction, adopted a tepid resolution calling for an end to the conflict and, only one month later, condemned the military attack and urged the U.S. to immediately lift the sanctions brought against Argentina.

There is more. In October 1983 a military coup brought down Prime Minister Maurice Bishop of Grenada, who was assassinated by the coup leaders. The United States likewise dispatched an invasion force of 1,900 Marines to Grenada, which took control of the island. The principle of non-intervention was once more invalidated. Within the OAS, the majority approved of that action as a "preventive measure," while other member countries rejected it. The invasion was finally condemned on the basis of being in violation of the Bogotá Charter.


The end of the so-called Cold War and the disintegration of the USSR changed world geopolitics and the OAS, as demanded by the United States, attempted to re-accommodate itself with the objective of being more loyal to the oligarchies. Thus, in 1991, it began to promote the precepts of bourgeois representative democracy and neoliberalism. At the initiative of the U.S., the Summits of the Americas, which granted renewed mandates to the organization, were organized under those banners. At this juncture, in 1992, came the significant creation of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, which raised to the level of a treaty the imposition of unipolarity in the region; in other words, the OAS never changed its face, exhibiting the same degree of incapacity and putrefaction in the face of the military coup in Haiti that deposed President Jean Bertrand Aristide. It delegated the issue to the UN Security Council, which approved a multinational military force headed by… the United States.

At this point, well into the 21st century, nobody can be left in any doubt as to the irrelevance, obsolescence and discredit of an organization that has been the accomplice of the principal crimes of state that occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean in the second half of the 20th century. Despite the fact that the United States has relegated the OAS on occasions, it has never discarded it. The OAS is an instrument of the empire in its essential need to influence and divide the region and to halt the consecration of its unique, inevitable and veritable historic destiny: the integration of its peoples as advocated by José Martí and Simón Bolívar.

On March 18, 1959, just two and a half months after the popular victory of January 1st, Raúl Roa García, the new Cuban ambassador to the Organization of American States, was setting out the position that would define the relationship between the triumphant Revolution and the hemispheric organization from then on: "…For long years, Cuba’s genuine voice had not been raised or heard in the OAS Council…. It is worth recalling, because of its historical novelty and obvious encouragement for those peoples who are still oppressed. The overthrow of dictatorships through armed action is not an unusual event in our America; the one that overthrew Fulgencio Batista’s in Cuba, however, is."

This position taken by Cuba was based on its revolutionary leadership’s knowledge of what was then the brief and sad history of the OAS in the service of the United States which, since 1959, had drawn up a plan to utilize the organization against the Revolution and our people. Up until then, no multilateral or regional mechanism had inflicted or had attempted to inflict more damage on a country than the OAS in relation to Cuba.

The so-called "Cuban question" was a priority on the OAS agenda, and, in line with U.S. interests, it began to lay the foundations for Cuba’s political/diplomatic isolation and the activation of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR) in order to "legitimize" direct military aggression against Cuba.

In August 1959, the governments of Brazil, Chile, the United States and Peru asked for a Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs to address the situation in the Caribbean. The Revolution had passed the first Agrarian Reform Act, which eliminated large landholdings, including that owned by United Fruit; those who held interests in this company included the Dulles brother: Allan Dulles, who was U.S. secretary of state, and Foster Dulles, director of the CIA.

The 5th Foreign Ministers Consultation Meeting in Santiago de Chile did not adopt any document condemning our country, but created a "conceptual framework" that would serve the purposes of yanki policy toward our nation; it established the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, while the Inter-American Peace Commission was given new powers, as part of a strategy for creating or perfecting the tools that would be key to applying yanki directives against Cuba within the OAS.

The meetings took place one after the other, and Roa, forewarned of the objectives of those meetings in terms of the Caribbean, stated, first in Washington: The Cuban government is convinced that all of those accusations are an attempt…to creation a hostile international environment for Cuba, and to organize in Cuba an international interventionist-type conspiracy, with the aim of interfering in, blocking, or wrecking the development of the Cuban Revolution. He later rounded off his remarks in San José with a revealing charge: If this is about doing justice, then Trujillo and the United States government, jointly, should be punished.


The 7th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs took place in San José, Costa Rica from August 22-29, 1960. One of the points on the agenda was the strengthening of continental solidarity and the Inter-American System, particularly in response to threats of extra-continental aggression and taking into account international tensions in the Caribbean region, so as to ensure the harmony, unity and peace of the Americas, among others.

The meeting adopted a declaration whose operative paragraphs 4 and 5 stated, "…The Inter-American System is incompatible with all forms of totalitarianism and democracy will only achieve the height of its objectives on the continent when all of the American republics adjust their conduct to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Santiago de Chile and all member states of the regional Organization have the obligation of submitting to the discipline of the Inter-American System, voluntarily and freely agreed upon and that the firmest guarantee of its political independence comes from obedience to the stipulations of the Charter of the Organization of American States."

In San José, the necessary conditions were established, on yanki terms, to impose the exclusion of the Cuban government. In protest, on announcing his decision to withdraw from that shameful cabal, Foreign Minister Roa declared, in a memorable and resounding statement, Cuba’s definitive break with the OAS: "…The Latin American governments have left Cuba on its one. I am going with my people, and with my people, the peoples of our America are likewise leaving here."

In response to the outcome of the San José meeting, more than one million Cubans came together in the Plaza de la Revolución in a historic General Assembly of the People of Cuba and adopted the First Declaration of Havana, in which they rejected the hegemonic intentions of the United States toward Cuba, its policy of isolating our nation and the servility of the OAS in the face of those lies.


In December 1961, at Colombia’s request, the OAS Permanent Council decided to call the 8th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for January 1962 (from the 22nd to the 31st), in Punta del Este, where new resolutions were passed, four of them against Cuba. The fourth however, was an OAS "jewel", titled Exclusion of the Present Government of Cuba from Participation in the Inter-American System, the maximum yanki aspiration for de-legitimizing our Revolution politically and diplomatically. The resolution passed with 14 for (the United States had to buy Haiti’s vote to get a minimum majority), one against — Cuba — and six abstentions: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Mexico. The latter two nations stated that expelling a member state could not proceed, because the organization’s Charter had not been previously modified.

The Cuban president at the time, Osvaldo Dorticós, raised the same banner that Foreign Minister Roa had raised before in that same scenario: "…If what is being attempted here is for Cuba to submit to the decisions of a powerful country; if what is being sought is for Cuba to capitulate, renounce the aspirations of well-being, progress and peace that motivate its socialist revolution and give up its sovereignty; if what is being attempted is for Cuba to turn its back on countries that have demonstrated sincere friendship and total respect to it; if, in a word, the idea is to enslave a country that has achieved its full freedom after a century and a half of sacrifices, then let it be known once and for all: ‘Cuba will not capitulate.’… We came convinced that a decision would be made against Cuba, but that will not affect the development of our Revolution. We came to move from being the accused to being the accuser, to accuse the guilty one here, which is none other than the imperialist government of the United States…. The OAS is becoming incompatible with the elimination of the latifundia, with the nationalization of imperialist monopolies, with social equality, with the right to education, with the elimination of illiteracy… and in that case, Cuba should not be in the OAS…. We might not be in the OAS, but Socialist Cuba will be in America; we might not be in the OAS, but the imperialist government of the United States will continue to have, 90 miles from its coast, a revolutionary and socialist Cuba…."

With the Bay of Pigs defeat of 1961, with the failure of Operation Mongoose plans that led to the October (Missile) Crisis of 1962, with the economic, commercial and financial blockade proclaimed, and with terrorist gangs fighting in the Escambray Mountains, all that was left for the United States was to internationalize its despicable policies. For that, it used the 9th Meeting of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, in Washington, in July of 1964, via a resolution based on the TIAR, which had replaced the OAS Charter, stipulating that the governments of the American States should break off their diplomatic and consular relations with the Cuban government.

Only Mexico maintained a dignified position and did not bow down to the empire’s plans.


September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers were collapsing in New York, was the very date for approving the Inter-American Democratic Charter, the most recent and underhanded yanki maneuver against Cuba in the OAS, and which established the rules that countries are obliged to follow in order to belong to the hemispheric bloc. Previously, member countries could not be Marxist-Leninist; now, they are required to adopt bourgeois representative democracy and the "Market as God." In the background, Cuba’s exclusion was being promoted in a similar manner.

But the Revolution entered the 21st century as the victor in the longest and cruelest siege that any nation has known in the history of humanity. It is a symbol that the imperialist powers are not absolute or eternal. The nobility and determination of our people is recognized all over the planet. The OAS had resoundingly failed.

Cuba has fluid diplomatic relations with every nation in the hemisphere and was acclaimed in the Rio Group, because no nation on the continent ever excluded us. Our country was not frightened, did not give in, did not change its sovereign decision one iota, and did not negotiate its freedom, independence or self-determination. It is not a fanatical position but a principle, one established by the "Foreign Minister of Dignity," Raúl Roa, in August of 1959, when he said, "…The Cuban Revolution is not to the right or to the left of anybody: it is in front of everyone, with its own and unmistakable position. It is not third, or fourth, or fifth position. It is our own position."

On September 2, 1960, after the OAS conspiracy against Cuba was established in San José, Commander in Chief Fidel Castro convened the Cuban people in a Great General Assembly in the José Martí Plaza de la Revolución, and read out the historical proclamation known as the First Declaration of Havana, whose eighth and final paragraph defined:

"…The National General Assembly of the People of Cuba reaffirms its faith in that Latin America will soon be marching, united and triumphant, free from the bindings that are turning its economies into wealth relinquished to U.S. imperialism and preventing its true voice from being heard at the meetings where domesticated foreign ministers form an infamous chorus led by their despotic masters.

Therefore, it ratifies its decision of working for that common Latin American destiny that will enable our countries to build a genuine solidarity, based upon the free will of each of them and the joint aspirations of all.

In the struggle for such a Latin America, facing the obedient voices of those who usurp its official representation, there now arises, with invincible power, the genuine voice of the people, a voice that forges ahead from the heart of its tin and coal mines, from its factories and sugar mills, from its feudalized lands, where "rotos," "Cholos,"
"Gauchos," "Jibaros," the heirs of Zapata and20Sandino, grip the weapons for their freedom, a voice that resounds in its poets and novelists, in its students, in its wives and children, in its vigilant elderly people.

To that friendly voice, the Assembly of the People of Cuba responds: Present! Cuba will not fail. Cuba is here today to ratify, before Latin America and before the world, as a historical commitment, its irrevocable dilemma: Homeland or Death!"

In the midst of the applause and approval of more than one million hands, Fidel stated, "…Now, one thing is missing. And with the Declaration of San José, what do we do?" The people chanted, "We rip it up! We rip it up!" He took picked up that shameful declaration and ripped it up in front of the multitude. Things between Cuba and the OAS were clear. The final words of the declaration were the premonition of what was to happen almost half a century later, when the Cuban Revolution witnessed the death throes of the organization that lent itself to the dirty work of the imperialist gravedigger.


Discredited and devalued, in the midst of the fall of the empire, the OAS found its salvation in an initiative of President William Clinton who, in 1994, proposed summit meetings with all the heads of state and government in the hemisphere, whose organization, management and follow-up was entrusted to the Organization of American States, with the goal of rescuing it from the state of destitution into which it had fallen.

After the 4th Sum mit of the Americas (Mar del Plata-2004), where the Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement was buried, the OAS was dealt another resounding blow to add to its disastrous legacy. Its silence following Colombia's raid into Ecuador on March 1, 2008, was a further blow while, like on so many other occasions, the yanki government protected the deed, while the Rio Group responded in place of the debilitated old body, leaving it forever without a voice.

During the 5th Summit in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad &Tobago, last April, the OAS equally failed to rise to the height of the circumstances surrounding events that led to the massacre of campesinos in Pando, Bolivia, in September 2008. It was the young Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) that made itself heard as the new vigorous voice defending the rights of the perpetually ignored. Once again, there was silence on the part of the bloc that the "Foreign Minister of Dignity" Raúl Roa described as the U.S. Ministry of Colonies.

Facing a reality already removed from it, the OAS found itself facing the solid position taken by countries in the region against Cuba's exclusion from the Summit. Neither the OAS nor its general secretary Chilean José Miguel Insulza were able to prevent the questioning of U.S. policy on Cuba from being the central issue. As Fidel had predicted, Insulza had no awareness of the fact that "…the train passed a while back, and he still doesn't know it…."

What happened there demonstrated to the yankis (accustomed to learn nothing from their failures) that the reality of Latin America and the Caribbean today is a very different one from that of 1960 and 1962, when the region functioned as a docile scenario. The OAS and its mouthpiece, Insulza, had not grasped that, and repeated the old practice of speaking on behalf of their master: The United States is willing to talk to them (Venezuela and Bolivia). However, it must be an unconditional dialogue.

Many of the problems emerged because the conditions were heightened. And that is as true in the case of Cuba as of the others. And thus, it backtracked to what has been at the heart of the troubled relationship between the United States and the region, Cuba included: a dialogue with conditions, imposed by Washington.

The OAS imposed double standards and political and administrative corruption; it made democracies ungovernable, turned them into dictatorships, and when they were no longer useful, reconverted them into even more diminished and servile democracies, because in the new, neoliberal era, with transnationalized oligarchical capital, they were part of a much more sophisticated power structure, whose bases were not necessarily located in the presidential palaces or parliaments, but in continental corporations.


Washington and the OAS were consistent with their sinister past when they perceived the initial threats.

The organization that backed the 1952 coup d'état in Cuba; that was so inert in the f ace of the military action against the constitutionally-elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala; that backed the satrap Anastasio Somoza, and in 1961 failed to condemn the mercenary invasion of Cuba, just as it avoided any criticism of the coup d'état against Velazco Ibarra, the elected president of Ecuador, remained the same as the one that had indulgently sponsored the military invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965, the shipment of Green Berets and weapons to Guatemala in 1966, and to Bolivia in 1967, while it applauded the graduation of hundreds of torturers and repressors from the Panama Canal School of the Americas.

It contemplated U.S. government-sponsored coups in Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. It was silent in the face of the death of Salvador Allende, in the face of the murder and forced disappearance of tens of thousands of South Americans during the sinister Operation Condor. It failed to promote peace in Central America during the 1980s, in a conflict that cost nearly 100,000 human lives. It did not back any investigation into the suspicious death of General Torrijos in Panama, nor did its ambassadors stop drinking their coffee during the inglorious invasions of Grenada in 1983, and of Panama itself in 1989.

It gave support to Pedro "El Breve" during the difficult days of April 2002 in Venezuela after the attempted coup, defeated by the exemplary response of the people who rescued their president. That attitude demonstrated how far the OAS could go in its hypocri sy and alignment with the imperialist power, by not accepting the genuine nature of Venezuela's Bolivarian process, which had given it a just lesson right where it hurt the most, submitting itself like no other government to the scrutiny of its voters and emerging victorious.

When the OAS set out to question the democratic legitimacy of those elections in the interest of the U.S. policy of overthrowing the Bolivarian revolution, it exposed all of the immorality of its famous Democratic Charter.

All that was missing from this rotten record was the particular case of Bolivia, with abundant and clear evidence of U.S. involvement in a dirty war to overthrow Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of the Americas. The OAS and Mr. Insulza had (more than) sufficient prudery in terms of not calling things by their name (coup d'état, for example) but preferred to note, with ridiculous language, that…in Bolivia, things have reached the point where either an agreement is reached on immediately halting hostilities and moving to negotiations, or the situation will become very difficult…. In its complicity by omission, the OAS ignored the sufficient evidence that the DEA and CIA were behind plots to assassinate the president of Bolivia.


Throughout this long history, there is too much involvement with death, genocide and lies for the OAS to survive these times. It is a political corpse and should be buried as soon as possible. However, there is no lack of those who, in their zeal to bring back the dead, are seeking to rectify matters by "allowing Cuba to live," restoring to it the place that never should have been taken from it within the OAS.

All sorts of technicalities have been brought into play, such as the argument that it was the Cuban government, not the country, which was excluded, as if the legal entity of the state were separable from its very existence. The reality is, without the OAS, the United States would lose one of its principle political/legal instruments of hegemonic control over the Western Hemisphere.

Dismantling it and founding a new organization of Latin American and Caribbean countries, without the United States, would be the only way for Latin America and the Caribbean to decide their destiny without endangering their identity and making real progress toward a great united homeland, which Martí and Bolívar indicated as a historic goal.

As for Cuba, it does not need the OAS. It does not want it, reformed or not. Blood and infamy ooze out of every one of its pores. We will never return to that old run-down old house of Washington, witness to so much selling-out and so many humiliations. Raúl expressed it with the words of Martí: Before we enter the OAS, the North Sea would have to unite with the South Sea and a snake will be born from an eagle's egg.

Translated by Granma International

Comesa Committed to Gender Mainstreaming

Comesa committed to gender mainstreaming

By Dr Sindiso Ngwenya
Reprinted From the Zimbabwe Herald

IN line with Articles 154 and 155 of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Treaty, and in recognition of the fact that sustainable economic and social development of the region requires the effective participation of women, men and youth, the 7th Comesa Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2002 adopted the Comesa Gender Policy and the Addis Ababa Declaration on Gender.

The Comesa Gender Policy advocates equal and full participation of women in all aspects of Comesa activities and other operations taking place in the region.

The Gender Policy emphasises the principle of affirmative action across all spheres of Comesa policies, systems, structures, programmes and activities in order to redress existing gender imbalances.

Affirmative action will be employed to ensure that barriers that prevent women’s participation in core Comesa activities such as trade, the private sector, infrastructure development and science and technology, are addressed and removed.

Affirmative action will also be applied to ensure that policies, programmes, projects, administrative procedures and practices of the Comesa Secretariat, Comesa institutions, Comesa structures and their budgets are gender sensitive.

The Comesa Gender Policy will also facilitate the engendering of legislation in Member States in order to promote women’s access to and control over productive resources such as land, credit, technology and information.

Comesa will, through multifaceted campaigns, promote awareness of the need to change harmful and negative cultural practices that hinder women’s effective participation in regional programmes and activities.

In line with Article 143 of the Comesa Treaty, it will also endeavour to mainstream cross-cutting issues such as HIV and Aids, poverty, governance, environment, information, communication and technology, drug abuse and others into all its policies, programmes, structures and operations.

The full implementation of the Comesa Gender Policy will significantly contribute to the overall attainment of Comesa’s vision and strategy for the 21st Century, which is: integrating gender into the mainstream of the work of Comesa.

Other institutional frameworks that Comesa has put in place to promote equal participation of men and women and the youth are the Comesa Gender Mainstreaming Strategy and the Five-Year Comesa Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Action Plan.

These frameworks aim to institutionalise the integration of gender perspectives into the mainstream of all aspects of the work of Comesa in order to achieve its Vision for the 21st Century, where both sexes, male and female, have equal opportunities to fulfil their potential.

The Comesa Strategic Action Plan outlines six key strategic interventions.

These are:

--Strengthening the gender management systems at national and regional levels;

--promoting economic empowerment through trade and private sector participation;

--Strengthening FEMCOM for market access;

--Promoting gender equity and social development;

--Establishing monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; and

--Resource mobilisation.

The Comesa Secretariat has already started implementing these strategic interventions.

For instance, work is in progress to develop a gender mainstreaming toolkit.

The toolkit will serve as a guiding framework for gender mainstreaming in Comesa programmes.

Work is in progress to set up the FEMCOM Secretariat in Malawi, beginning with the appointment of an acting director.

Gender responsive monitoring and evaluation systems have been developed and sent out to national women/gender machineries in Comesa Member States to promote accountability with a gender perspective.

It is also Comesa’s initiative to harmonise national gender strategies with the Comesa Gender Mainstreaming Strategy and Policy to ensure that interventions on the economic empowerment and capacity building of women are adequately implemented at national level.

Notwithstanding these positive developments, a satisfactory implementation of the Comesa Gender Mainstreaming Strategic Action Plan requires adequate human and financial resources.

Currently, the division of gender and social affairs has two members of staff.

Its annual budget is the least endowed in the Comesa Secretariat.

Therefore, there was urgent need to for resource mobilisation, human and financial, for the Comesa Gender Agenda to realise its vision and strategy for the 21st Century.

--Dr Sindiso Ngwenya is the Secretary-General of Comesa

Friday, May 29, 2009

DPRK News Update: End Double Standards; US War Maneuvers; WW Editorial; Short Range Missile Tested

End to Unreasonable Double Standards Policy Called for

Pyongyang, May 28 (KCNA) -- The double standards policy of the imperialists which was denied by history should be terminated as early as possible, urges Rodong Sinmun Thursday in a signed article.

The UN Security Council took issue with the DPRK's legitimate satellite launch for peaceful purposes and adopted even the "presidential statement" after playing into the hands of hostile forces in disregard of international justice and impartiality, thereby tarnishing the image of the UN and leaving such an indelible blot on its history as bringing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to collapse, the article notes, and goes on:

The application of the double standards is an expression of extremely arbitrary practice and is nothing helpful to the development of international relations and the world situation.

If the double standards policy is allowed, it will not only make the international relations unfair and complicated but will divide the world into the countries dominating other countries and the countries being dominated and make it impossible to fairly settle international issues.

The imperialists are putting pressure on the anti-imperialist independent countries standing in the way of realizing their ambition for domination while handling international issues and those countries of strategic importance and isolating them internationally, whereas they are conniving at and patronizing their allies or those countries meekly obeying them though they pose some problems.

A particular mention should be made of the fact that the U.S. is interpreting and handling issues in its favor by applying double standards in the international arena and pressurizing other countries to meet its demands.

It is putting pressure upon those countries acting contrary to its interests in a bid to attain its sinister aim by way of applying this standard when it deems favorable to it and that standard when it thinks unfavorable to it.

Citing the facts to prove that the U.S. double standards policy finds a vivid manifestation in various international issues including the nuclear issue, human rights issue and issue of terrorism, the article continues:

Only when a new fair international order is established, is it possible to destroy the old international order of domination and subjugation and an order for world domination based on the jungle law, create free and peaceful environment, soundly develop the international relations and realize democratization of the international community and global independence. Only by doing so is it possible to remove the double standards and strictly adhere to the principle of equality and impartiality in the international relations and put an end to interference in the internal affairs of other countries and nations and highhanded and arbitrary practices.

Impartiality is the life and soul of the world body and a basic principle governing its activities. If the world body allows the double standards policy in disregard of impartiality, it will mean losing the life and soul as the world body.

U.S. and S. Korean War Maneuvers Targeted against DPRK Flayed

Pyongyang, May 28 (KCNA) -- The U.S. military was reported recently to have declared that it would deploy two squadrons of "F-22A Raptor" in Okinawa and Guam for four month-long operations. The warmongers staged even an escape drill of non-combatants allegedly to cope with "contingency" by mobilizing the U.S. air force present in south Korea and Japan and the puppet air force.

Papers Thursday observe in their signed commentaries that this is an undisguised military threat and premeditated preparations for a war against the DPRK.

Rodong Sinmun says: The U.S. military is contemplating bringing the above-said fighters to those areas again less than a month since they flew back to the mainland after being deployed in the Asia-Pacific region early this year. This is a revelation of its dangerous scenario to kick off an attack on the DPRK any moment by keeping means for preemptive nuclear attack in the areas close to the Korean Peninsula under the pretext of "unstable situation".

The above-said drill of non-combatants is a dangerous development that can be seen only on the eve of a war. It bears a close resemblance to the situation in the 1950s of the last century when the U.S. evacuated families of its servicemen in south Korea to Japan in secret before its start of the Korean war.

The danger of a war on the Korean Peninsula is further increasing than ever before due to the Lee Myung Bak group of south Korea zealously following the U.S. scenario for a war of aggression against the DPRK.

It is the fixed will of the army and the people of the DPRK to wipe out the warmongers with a barrage of fire of the Songun army. The Songun army of the DPRK shows no mercy to the peace wreckers and the war provocateurs.

Minju Joson warns the U.S. and the south Korean warmongers to behave themselves, clearly understanding the will of the powerful revolutionary forces of Mt. Paektu to wipe out the enemies as they never make an empty talk.


Korea’s defense & U.S. belligerence

Anyone in the United States who pays attention to the corporate news media must think that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea just violated the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Right?

Except that no such treaty exists.

Some 180 countries have signed it, but only 148 have ratified it. According to the Web site of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, “All 44 States specifically listed in the Treaty—those with nuclear technology capabilities at the time of the final Treaty negotiations in 1996—must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force.” (

Nine out of those 44 nuclear states have not ratified the treaty, despite having signed it some 13 years ago. Therefore, the treaty is not and has never been in force.

The government that seems to protest the most when a country like the DPRK conducts tests sits in Washington. But guess what? The U.S. Senate has not ratified the treaty. In fact, it is Washington’s refusal that is the main obstacle to the CTBT treaty taking effect.

The U.S. tested the world’s first atomic bombs in 1945 and almost immediately dropped two of them on Japanese cities, killing 220,000 people on the spot and leaving another 200,000 so poisoned by radiation that they died soon after. From that time until it signed the treaty in 1996, the U.S. had tested 1,032 nuclear weapons.

That is more nuke tests than have been carried out by all the rest of the countries in the world combined, right up to the present.

So how can the world have any confidence in a nuclear test ban treaty if the country that has tested such a hugely disproportionate number of weapons won’t ratify it?

The DPRK has successfully conducted two underground tests of nuclear devices, one in 2006 and another on May 25. It has not dropped any bombs on anyone. In fact, its troops have never fought anywhere except in Korea, and then it was to expel foreign invaders.

The DPRK’s determination to devote substantial resources to building a nuclear deterrent reflects Korea’s tragic history. First invaded and annexed by colonial Japan, then occupied by U.S. troops at the end of World War II, Korea suffered enormously from the rise of imperialism in the 20th century.

The U.S. created a puppet military dictatorship in the south, which in 1948 declared itself the Republic of Korea. It was only then that the revolutionary forces, who had liberated the northern part of Korea from Japan’s iron grip, responded by declaring the establishment of the DPRK, not as a permanent state that would ratify the division of Korea, but as a recognition of reality. The goal of the DPRK, and of the Korean people as a whole, has always been to reunite the country. Within two years, however, the DPRK was fighting a new war against imperialist invaders—this time hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops.

Several million Koreans, civilians and soldiers, were killed in the 1950-53 war. Some 53,000 U.S. soldiers died. Though the war ended in a ceasefire with the two sides roughly where they had been at the start, the U.S. occupiers of southern Korea refused to sign a peace treaty with the DPRK. And that’s where things have stood ever since, with between 30,000 and 40,000 U.S. troops occupying the south at any one time.

Many countries—first among them the United States—have declared they had to have nuclear weapons for self-defense. None has a stronger claim to a nuclear deterrent than the DPRK, which for more than half a century has faced the constant threat of new aggression from the world’s most heavily armed imperialist superpower.

If Washington were sincere about wanting to move toward a nuclear-free world, it would start by signing a peace treaty with the DPRK, ratifying the CTBT and removing its occupation troops from Korea.
Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Kim Jong Il's Feats Lauded

Pyongyang, May 28 (KCNA) -- A joint seminar took place in Mexico on May 20 on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the start of General Secretary Kim Jong Il's work at the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the 14th anniversary of the publication of his work "Giving Priority to Ideological Work Is Essential for Accomplishing Socialism".

Ramon Jimenez Lopez, president of the Mexican Committee for the Study of Kimilsungism, said at the seminar that over the past 45 years Kim Jong Il has developed the WPK into the party of President Kim Il Sung, its founder, the invincible party always emerging victorious and the strong mass party in which the single-minded unity is achieved, thus performing the immortal exploits to be recorded in history forever.

He stressed that Kim Jong Il's works serve as the powerful ideological and theoretical weapon in the building of the WPK and its activities and as the precious guidelines indicating the ways of struggle of the world progressive political parties and people aspiring after socialism.

Kim Jong Il is a great statesman and a prominent leader and a peerlessly brilliant commander as he has firmly defended the sovereignty of the country and the dignity of the nation, foiling challenges and offensive of the U.S. and its followers under the banner of the Juche idea, founded by Kim Il Sung, and Songun, he said.

Noting that the WPK under the veteran and experienced leadership of Kim Jong Il is leading the global socialist cause to victory, he expressed belief that the WPK and the Korean people would surely open the gate to a great prosperous and powerful nation in 2012 marking the centenary of the birth of Kim Il Sung under the wise guidance of Kim Jong Il.

Juan Campos Vega, chairman of the Mexican Institute for the Study of the Juche Idea, and other speakers explained in depth the originality and vitality of the Juche idea and the Songun politics and the advantages of the Korean-style socialist system in which the Juche idea has been successfully applied and expressed full support and solidarity with the WPK and the Korean people in the struggle to build a thriving nation and achieve national reunification.

North Korea fires short-range missile; may take more action

Fri May 29, 2009 9:35am EDT
By Lee Jin-woo

YEONPYEONG, South Korea (Reuters) - North Korea test-fired another short-range missile off its east coast on Friday and said it would take more "self-defense measures" if the U.N. Security Council punished it for this week's nuclear test.

South Korea said an increasingly aggressive North may be preparing fresh moves after Chinese fishing boats were spotted leaving a disputed sea border on the west coast.

South Korea and the United States have raised the military alert level in the region after the isolated state followed Monday's nuclear test with missile launches and a threat of war.

Regional powers are waiting to see what the North might do next. Many speculate it may opt for a naval skirmish in disputed waters off the west coast, which should be getting crowded as the lucrative crab fishing season starts.

In New York, the United States and Japan circulated a draft U.N. Security Council resolution to key members, condemning Pyongyang's second nuclear test and demanding strict enforcement of sanctions after the North's first atomic test in October 2006.

North Korea, in its first response to threatened sanctions, said it would take "self-defense measures" if it was punished.

It gave no details other than to say such a move would nullify the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War. It has previously said that truce was already dead.

Yonhap quoted an unnamed government source as saying the North fired the short-range rocket from its Musudan-ri missile base around dusk, making it the fifth to be launched since the nuclear test. Most of the missiles are believed to have a range of around 130 km (80 miles).

The escalating tension had little further impact on financial markets in Seoul, hit earlier in the week by the nuclear test. Traders said while North Korea's belligerent tone was unsettling, it was, without military confrontation, not enough yet to significantly frighten off investors.

The two Koreas have fought two deadly naval skirmishes on their disputed maritime border in the past 10 years and the North has warned another could happen soon.

"Our forces are watching these movements (by Chinese fishing boats) with the view that they could be signs that indicate the possibility of North Korea's aggression," Defense Ministry spokesman Won tae-jae said.

The 1999 and 2002 clashes were in June, the peak of the three-month crab season when fishing fleets jockey for the best spots near the contested maritime border.

"Now that there's talk of ... an all-out war, we fishermen are worried," said 48-year-old Yeonpyeong island fisherman Kim Jae-sik. "Nowadays when we go out, we know we are facing dangers."

The island is off the west coast in waters the North claims but the South has occupied since the Korean War.


The joint command for the 28,500 U.S. troops supporting South Korea's 670,000 soldiers has raised its alert a notch to signify a serious threat from North Korea. That is the highest threat level since the North's other nuclear test in 2006.

It calls for stepped up surveillance but not an increase in maneuvers by troops who face a million-strong North Korean military, most massed near the heavily fortified border.

North Korea's increasingly angry provocations unnerve other countries, but many analysts said a major aim is domestic -- strengthening leader Kim Jong-il's steely grip on power.

They say that after a reported stroke last year, the 67-year-old may well feel a need to use his powers more extravagantly to help prepare for a successor -- possibly one of his sons -- to take over the world's first communist dynasty.

Some also point out Kim has long used the threat of invasion by a hostile United States to justify spending the impoverished state's meager resources on a military that keeps him in power, rather than on the rest of the population of 23 million.

That situation means his government will not give up the goal of owning nuclear weapons, analysts say.

"The more North Korea resembles a third-rate South Korea on the economic front, the more the Kim Jong-il regime must justify its existence through a combination of radical nationalist rhetoric and victories on the military and nuclear front," Brian Myers, an expert on the North's ideology at the South's Dongseo University, wrote in an International Herald Tribune article.

In a draft resolution obtained by Reuters, the Security Council "condemns in the strongest terms" the North's test.

It calls for enforcement of sanctions imposed after Pyongyang's 2006 nuclear test, which included a limited trade and arms embargo that had been widely ignored. A vote could come as early as next week, diplomats said.

A U.S. State Department delegation, including special envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth, was planning to visit Japan, China, Russia and South Korea. All are members of now frozen six-party negotiations to persuade the North to give up efforts to build a nuclear arsenal.

But it may be difficult to win support from China, North Korea's dominant trading partner and the nearest it has to a major ally, for much tougher sanctions.

(Additional reporting by Rhee So-eui, Jack Kim and Jung Heejung in Seoul; Chris Buckley in Beijing; Arshad Mohammed in Washington and Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations; Writing by Jonathan Thatcher; Editing by Dean Yates)

Bomb Blasts Rock Pakistan Cities

Friday, May 29, 2009
05:04 Mecca time, 02:04 GMT

Bomb blasts rock Pakistan cities

At least 13 people have been killed and more than 100 others injured in a series of blasts in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province, and in another city in the same region.

While the explosions in Peshawar are believed to have caused 10 of the deaths, the attack in Dera Ismail Khan, a city 300km south of Peshawar, accounted for the other three.

Thursday's attacks began with two explosions in a market in Peshawar, in which eight died and scores were injured.

Armed men on rooftops fired at policemen as they arrived in the narrow lanes below.

Shortly after, a suicide bomber attacked a checkpoint on the outskirts of the city, killing a police officer and a civilian and injuring 15 others.

In addition to the fatalities, the suicide attack in Dera Ismail Khan left 13 people wounded.

Police later said that two assailants from the Peshawar market bombings had been killed and two suspects detained.

"Two terrorists have been killed but the operation is continuing. We are carrying out searches as others could be hiding," Sifwat Ghayyur, the city police chief, said.

Al Jazeera's Mike Hanna, reporting from Islamabad, said it appeared the series of bomb blasts were "inextricably linked".

"Certainly that is the way Pakistan's intelligence services are seeing it - investigating this wave of bombings that is happening in recent days," he said.

Cash rewards

The attacks happened on a day Islamabad offered a cash reward for the arrest of Maulana Fazlullah, a religious leader said to be behind the Pakistani Taliban's campaign in another part of NWFP - Swat valley.

While a bounty of $62,000 was announced for Fazullah's capture, the government also pledged varying rewards to all those who help in tracking down 20 other Taliban leaders.

The government list included Muslim Khan, the Swat Taliban spokesman.

"People providing authentic information leading to the capture - dead or alive - of these individuals will receive a cash reward," said an announcement published in leading newspapers, along with mugshots of those wanted.

Pakistan's military has intensified its campaign against the Taliban in Swat in recent weeks.

But the fighters have hit back elsewhere.

Lahore bombing

A suicide attack in Lahore, in the eastern province of Punjab, killed at least 30 people and injured over 200 others on Wednesday.

The bombing flattened a police building and damaged offices belonging to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility on Thursday for the attack.

Hakimullah Mehsud, a deputy to Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban chief, told the Associated Press news agency in a telephone call that the suicide attack "was in response to the Swat operation where innocent people have been killed".

A group calling itself Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab had earlier claimed responsibility for the bombing in a Turkish-language message posted on a Turkish website.

The group said the attack was related to the fight in Swat, according to the SITE group, which monitors such websites.

The attack was the third in recent months on Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city, which sits well away from the Afghan border region where the Taliban has established strongholds.

Ayaz Amir, a columnist at The News, a Pakistani newspaper, told Al Jazeera: "I think most people realise this is not going to be a short war. Pakistan and the army are in it for the long haul.

"Even ordinary people on the street realise it as well and if they needed any more evidence, they could look to the large number of refugees who have come from different areas. People also realise how bad the situation is. I mean, what is the alternative? There are none."

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Gender Machinery, Protocols and Women's Reality

Women empowerment by Jessie Duarte

Gender machinery, gender protocols and women's reality

In November 2005 the African Union's Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa came into force. Not only does the declaration support the spirit and letter of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), it endorses the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women. The AU has undertaken to work towards parity between men and women in the socio political and economic reality of each country.

In June each year Heads of State of the member states of the AU are required to report on progress made in terms of the solemn declaration, CEDAW and the protocol. Each year the AU commissioner for social affairs reports progress made in which the collective efforts of the continent are noted with dignity and solemn respect.

Underneath the protocols, conventions and resolutions the reality for women in many countries on our continent has not seen great progress. There is a written commitment but we have yet to see real concrete action.

South Africa stands out as a country with a very progressive stance on the representation of women in decision-making structures. The ANC has taken decisions to have parity between men and women in structures where the ANC is represented. At its Durban conference in 1990 when the topic of a quota of at least 30% representation by women in the structures of the ANC was introduced, the debate did not find itself without robust opposition. The notion that arguing and debating the rights of women is a Western feminist idea that had no place in African social and political life was very much at the core of those who did not agree.

Thankfully, the tradition of the ANC is that once a decision is reached through debate and consensus disciplined cadres will implement it. We still face the daunting prospect of managing the reality that the emancipation of women goes beyond a right to vote in an election. The emancipation of women is the continuation of a struggle to have the rights of women actively recognised as human rights.

Our country has achieved a great deal in terms of representation in government, and the ANC led government did better than the original 30% quota with the average representation in Parliament being 32.7%, women in cabinet representing 42.8% of the ministers and 47.6% women who are deputy ministers. At local government level the ANC, while having more women than any other political party, reached an average of 23% women. It is at this level that women find it difficult to break the glass ceiling and yet it is at this level that the service delivery is the most critical.

At its Polokwane Conference the ANC adopted a policy of 50% parity in all ANC structures and where the ANC is represented. This will change the demography of all spheres of government. For some in our society this is seen as a battle for women to take "control" of decision-making structures. Human rights and the equality clause in our constitution fall away when the places of power have to be shared and the historical role that a patriarchal society has designated to men is threatened.

We have a constitution that entrenches equality, and yet we still have attitudes, beliefs, myths and traditional practices that inhibit the freedom of women. The AU and SADC have adopted declarations and protocols that "works toward parity of women with men in all member states". The SADC Declaration on Gender and Development adopted in 1997 calls for 30% of women in political and decision-making in the region structures by 2005. South Africa, Botswana and Namibia have to a large degree surpassed the SADC target. However the promotion of women's full access to and control over productive resources to reduce poverty among women is still elusive.

The reason for this is the lingering patriarchal structure and nature of our economies. The need to procure loans leaves women without property to offer as guarantees. There are no special instruments supported by government to provide loans to women.

Where the future of the continent is discussed, male civil servants are in the majority.

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programmes envisaged by the Heads of State seldom heard the voices of women in their initial development. The voices of women were only truly sought when the African peer review process was conducted to test the efficiency of the continent's commitment to development. Women understand the problems, but are seldom in the position to change and redirect resources towards solving the problem. When it comes to how services are delivered our voices are sought, but seldom on how to deliver services. This shows a patriarchal mindset that needs to be challenged.

When the atrocities of war are discussed, be it in the UN or at the AU, the voices of women are barely audible. Rape in conflict situations has become a part of the armoury. Africa is not alone in this. Bosnian and Croatian women suffered similar violent crimes, as did women in Darfur, Rwanda, Congo and Zimbabwe. Rape has yet to be declared a crime against humanity and it is the one violent crime that is not fully recognised as a war crime.

Where the right to equal pay for equal work is discussed in the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the voices of women are again less than audible. Protocols do not change attitudes. Mobilisation of people in favour of recognition of the rights of women do make a difference.

The South African Gender Commission has the best chance of success that it has had in the two decades of its existence to bring the issues that impact on the lives of women into the day light with constructive criticism which examines the structures of government and goes beyond the technical examination of compliance with the Equity Act.

Relying on patronage and the goodwill of the male dominated financial establishments needs to be challenged. Micro lenders brag that women are the best payers, but micro lenders are the best exploiters in terms of interest rates. So to give effect to meaningful participation of women in the economy we need one courageous formal bank to have one courageous loan product for women entrepreneurs.

Going beyond the right to vote and going beyond the ANC decision to have 50% parity in ANC representation in government structures is the next struggle to be fought.

We applaud the ANC's decision to give effect to the equality clause in our constitution and to recognise the energy that women bring to development. We also have to ensure that women who take on decision-making positions do not close the door behind themselves, and instead create an atmosphere that develops women who may wish to follow in their footsteps. While taking a girl child to work once a year is a good symbolic action, women policy makers must be women activists who go to the communities and encourage younger women to become future leaders.

The protocols, conventions and declarations open space for debate but mobilisation of women on particular issues will make a difference. We need to bring the social needs of women to the table wherever we can. We need to trespass where we are not invited and push the need for substantive change.

We need to get commitments that are timelined and guaranteed in as far as providing financial resources to women's programmes. We need a woman's machinery with the instruments, power and resources to make changes happen faster. The women's movement in our country has to find common cause across ideological lines. Domestic violence, rape, femicide and poverty can become common rallying points.

Jessie Duarte is a member of the ANC National Executive Committee.


Ethics and public service

An approach to defining the ethics of our movement

Last weekend, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele was presented with a car and cattle by contractors participating in the Vukuzakhe programme. This was in appreciation of his work in creating opportunities for small contractors to be involved in road construction projects in KwaZulu Natal. This prompted a heated debate on whether he should accept the gifts.

The ANC noted that there were specific rules in government guiding the receipt of gifts by members of the executive. These rules are intended to ensure transparency and guard against abuse of office. It advised Ndebele to follow these rules, and to exercise his personal judgment on whether to keep the car and cattle.

Ndebele decided to return the gifts. This provided a lead to other public representatives who may find themselves in a similar situation. It has also helped to stimulate debate in society about ethics and public service.

The topic of ethics in politics is one that has occupied philosophers for thousands of years. Some of the most famous writings of Plato and Aristotle deal with ethics and politics. Plato argued that ethics is advanced by knowledge. He wrote, "all men seek good but go wrong through ignorance, not through evil will".

He interpreted knowledge as much more than education. Knowledge is a key tool for making objective, rational decisions. He dealt with information and transparency, as key tools in defining ethics in politics. Aristotle adopts a slightly different perspective:

"The end of all action, individual or collective, is the greatest happiness of the greatest number. There is no difference of kind between the good of one and the good of many or all. It is natural to regard the state as a community that exists for the sake of a good life for all. It is in the state that that common seeking after the good, which is the profoundest truth about men and nature, becomes explicit and knows itself."

Aristotle's perspective should sound familiar to most ANC Cadres and leaders. Max Weber, the eminent German sociologist and political economist, in a lecture delivered in 1918 entitled 'Politics as a Vocation', wrote extensively on the issue of clarity or objectivity as an antidote to conflicts of interests in politics.

He argued that: "Part of being able to see clearly is avoiding being caught by distractions, desires, emotions and ambitions. It is learning to find the stillness in the midst of the noise and activity all around us, and in that stillness, listening to our own intuition, our own cultivated judgment, our own inner ethical sense. It also requires sufficient independence and integrity to avoid being overly beholden to supporters and patrons."

Weber's second issue is the lack of responsibility. As noted at the ANC's Mafikeng Conference, the 1994 elections place a renewed responsibility on the shoulders of the ANC. A system of ethics must, at its core, be based on the need for politicians to take responsibility for their actions and events both individually and collectively.

Without responsibility, there can be no accountability. The system of accountability that the ANC has put in place, both in statute and in practice, is based on the need for those in power to take responsibility.

The ANC has done more than most political parties when it comes to combating unethical behaviour through ideological debates and direction, regulations, legislation and public watchdog bodies. The framework we have created should continue to be the bedrock of ANC policy and regulations on this matter.

The real question is what sanctions we could impose as a movement if regulations or even guidelines that we bring into effect are violated by our members. Such sanctions will need to be punitive, be applied timeously and firmly, and thus become a deterrent to deviant behaviour.

Codes, sanctions, disciplinary action and other measures deal with individuals or groups in a reactive manner. The challenge is how to instil the values of the ANC in our cadres such that they become a way of life in the way that the 2000 ANC National General Council (NGC) intended.

There is only one way. Continuous political education underlined by clear guidelines and effective potential sanctions. The guidelines for ethical behaviour must not seek to criminalise cadres. Instead we must seek to embed these guidelines in our political culture so that they become second nature. The trouble with political culture is that it takes a long time to develop and requires great leadership to popularise.

The challenge has been enforcement. We have relied on various mechanisms for enforcing our ethical rules. For instance, the executive has got its own methods and sanctions that are located in Cabinet and the public service. Parliament has its own processes. All these enforcement instruments are not in the hands of the ANC, even though the movement may have significant influence in them.

That means that there is no ANC mechanism for dealing with breaches. Often the ANC becomes a spectator in processes that involve its members and is unable to act timeously and in a manner that reflects its own political morality.

Things drift, problems are exacerbated rather than contained. The name of the organisation is dragged through the mud. Cadres learn ways of dragging issues and make use of the country's legal processes to delay, if not frustrate, the movement's own processes.

We rely exclusively on the disciplinary committee of the movement. The committee is not able to be proactive, timeous and decisive. The consequence is that whatever codes we develop will not make a difference if we do not create a new and effective way to enforce them timeously and decisively. It is important to cultivate an environment in which public representatives do not expect any special treatment for work well done.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Create Two, Three, Many Vietnams: Che Guevara's Message to the Tricontinental Conference, January 1966

"Create Two, Three, Many Vietnams: Message to the Tricontinental"

Ernesto Che Guevara

"Now is the time of the furnaces, and only light should be seen."

Jose Marti

Twenty-one years have already elapsed since the end of the last world conflagration; numerous publications, in every possible language, celebrate this event, symbolized by the defeat of Japan. There is a climate of apparent optimism in many areas of the different camps into which the world is divided.

Twenty-one years without a world war, in these times of maximum confrontations, of violent clashes and sudden changes, appears to be a very high figure. However, without analyzing the practical results of this peace (poverty, degradation, increasingly larger exploitation of enormous sectors of humanity) for which all of us have stated that we are willing to fight, we would do well to inquire if this peace is real.

It is not the purpose of these notes to detail the different conflicts of a local character that have been occurring since the surrender of Japan, neither do we intend to recount the numerous and increasing instances of civilian strife which have taken place during these years of apparent peace. It will be enough just to name, as an example against undue optimism, the wars of Korea and Vietnam.

In the first one, after years of savage warfare, the Northern part of the country was submerged in the most terrible devastation known in the annals of modern warfare: riddled with bombs; without factories, schools or hospitals; with absolutely no shelter for housing ten million inhabitants.

Under the discredited flag of the United Nations, dozens of countries under the military leadership of the United States participated in this war with the massive intervention of U.S. soldiers and the use, as cannon fodder, of the South Korean population that was enrolled. On the other side, the army and the people of Korea and the volunteers from the Peoples' Republic of China were furnished with supplies and advise by the Soviet military apparatus. The U.S. tested all sort of weapons of destruction, excluding the thermo-nuclear type, but including, on a limited scale bacteriological and chemical warfare.

In Vietnam, the patriotic forces of that country have carried on an almost uninterrupted war against three imperialist powers: Japan, whose might suffered an almost vertical collapse after the bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; France, who recovered from that defeated country its Indo-China colonies and ignored the promises it had made in harder times; and the United States, in this last phase of the struggle.

There were limited confrontations in every continent although in our America, for a long time, there were only incipient liberation struggles and military coups d'etat until the Cuban revolution resounded the alert, signaling the importance of this region. This action attracted the wrath of the imperialists and Cuba was finally obliged to defend its coasts, first in Playa Giron, and again during the Missile Crisis.

This last incident could have unleashed a war of incalculable proportions if a US-Soviet clash had occurred over the Cuban question.

But, evidently, the focal point of all contradictions is at present the territory of the peninsula of Indo-China and the adjacent areas. Laos and Vietnam are torn by a civil war which has ceased being such by the entry into the conflict of U.S. imperialism with all its might, thus transforming the whole zone into a dangerous detonator ready at any moment to explode.

In Vietnam the confrontation has assumed extremely acute character istics. It is not out intention, either, to chronicle this war. We shall simply remember and point out some milestones.

In 1954, after the annihilating defeat of Dien-Bien-Phu, an agreement was signed at Geneva dividing the country into two separate zones; elections were to be held within a term of 18 months to determine who should govern Vietnam and how the country should be reunified. The U.S. did not sign this document and started maneuvering to substitute the emperor Bao-Dai, who was a French puppet, for a man more amiable to its purposes. This happened to be Ngo-Din-Diem, whose tragic end - that of an orange squeezed dry by imperialism — is well known by all.

During the months following the agreement, optimism reigned supreme in the camp of the popular forces. The last pockets of the anti-French resistance were dismantled in the South of the country and they awaited the fulfillment of the Geneva agreements. But the patriots soon realized there would be no elections -unless the United States felt itself capable of imposing its will in the polls, which was practically impossible even resorting to all its fraudulent methods. Once again the fighting broke out in the South and gradually acquired full intensity. At present the U.S. army has increased to over half a million invaders while the puppet forces decrease in number and, above all, have totally lost their combativeness.

Almost two years ago the United States started bombing systematically the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, in yet another attempt to overcome the resistance of the South and impose, from a position of strength, a meeting at the conference table. At first, the bombardments were more or less isolated occurrences and were adorned with the mask of reprisals for alleged provocations from the North. Later on, as they increased in intensity and regularity, they became one gigantic attack carried out by the air force of the United States, day after day, for the purpose of destroying all vestiges of civilization in the Northern zone of the country. This is an episode of the infamously notorious "escalation".

The material aspirations of the Yankee world have been fulfilled to a great extent, regardless of the unflinching defense of the Vietnamese anti-aircraft artillery, of the numerous planes shot down (over 1,700) and of the socialist countries aid in war supplies.

There is a sad reality: Vietnam — a nation representing the aspirations, the hopes of a whole world of forgotten peoples — is tragically alone. This nation must endure the furious attacks of U.S. technology, with practically no possibility of reprisals in the South and only some of defense in the North — but always alone.

The solidarity of all progressive forces of the world towards the people of Vietnam today is similar to the bitter irony of the plebeians coaxing on the gladiators in the Roman arena. It is not a matter of wishing success to the victim of aggression, but of sharing his fate; one must accompany him to his death or to victory.

When we analyze the lonely situation of the Vietnamese people, we are overcome by anguish at this illogical moment of humanity.

U.S. imperialism is guilty of aggression — its crimes are enormous and cover the whole world. We already know all that, gentlemen! But this guilt also applies to those who, when the time came for a definition, hesitated to make Vietnam an inviolable part of the socialist world; running, of course, the risks of a war on a global scale-but also forcing a decision upon imperialism. And the guilt also applies to those who maintain a war of abuse and snares — started quite some time ago by the representatives of the two greatest powers of the socialist camp.

We must ask ourselves, seeking an honest answer: is Vietnam isolated, or is it not? Is it not maintaining a dangerous equilibrium between the two quarrelling powers?

And what great people these are! What stoicism and courage! And what a lesson for the world is contained in this struggle! Not for a long time shall we be able to know if President Johnson ever seriously thought of bringing about some of the reforms needed by his people - to iron out the barbed class contradictions that grow each day with explosive power. The truth is that the improvements announced under the pompous title of the "Great Society" have dropped into the cesspool of Vietnam.

The largest of all imperialist powers feels in its own guts the bleeding inflicted by a poor and underdeveloped country; its fabulous economy feels the strain of the war effort. Murder is ceasing to be the most convenient business for its monopolies. Defensive weapons, and never in adequate number, is all these extraordinary soldiers have - besides love for their homeland, their society, and unsurpassed courage. But imperialism is bogging down in Vietnam, is unable to find a way out and desperately seeks one that will overcome with dignity this dangerous situation in which it now finds itself. Furthermore, the Four Points put forward by the North and the Five Points of the South now corner imperialism, making the confrontation even more decisive.

Everything indicates that peace, this unstable peace which bears that name for the sole reason that no worldwide conflagration has taken place, is again in danger of being destroyed by some irrevocable and unacceptable step taken by the United States.

What role shall we, the exploited people of the world, play? The peoples of the three continents focus their attention on Vietnam and learn theIr lesson. Since imperialists blackmail humanity by threatening it with war, the wise reaction is not to fear war. The general tactics of the people should be to launch a constant and a firm attack in all fronts where the confrontation is taking place.

In those places where this meager peace we have has been violated which is our duty? To liberate ourselves at any price.

The world panorama is of great complexity. The struggle for liberation has not yet been undertaken by some countries of ancient Europe, sufficiently developed to realize the contradictions of capitalism, but weak to such a degree that they are unable either to follow imperialism or even to start on its own road. Their contradictions will reach an explosive stage during the forthcoming years-but their problems and, consequently, their own solutions are different from those of our dependent and economically underdeveloped countries.

The fundamental field of imperialist exploitation comprises the three underdeveloped continents: America, Asia, and Africa. Every country has also its own characteristics, but each continent, as a whole, also presents a certain unity.

Our Arnerica is integrated by a group of more or less homogeneous countries and in most parts of its territory U.S. monopolist capitals maintain an absolute supremacy. Puppet governments or, in the best of cases, weak and fearful local rulers, are incapable of contradicting orders from their Yankee master. The United States has nearly reached the climax of its political and economic domination; it could hardly advance much more; any change in the situation could bring about a setback. Their policy is to maintain that which has already been conquered. The line of action, at the present time, is limited to the brutal use of force with the purpose of thwarting the liberation movements, no matter of what type they might happen to be.

The slogan "we will not allow another Cuba" hides the possibility of perpetrating aggressions without fear of reprisal, such as the one carried out against the Dominican Republic or before that the massacre in Panama — and the clear warning stating that Yankee troops are ready to intervene anywhere in America where the ruling regime may be altered, thus endangering their interests. This policy enjoys an almost absolute impunity: the OAS is a suitable mask, in spite of its unpopularity; the inefficiency of the UN is ridiculous as well as tragic; the armies of all American countries are ready to intervene in order to smash their peoples. The International of Crime and Treason has in fact been organized. On the other hand, the autochthonous bourgeoisies have lost all their capacity to oppose imperialism — if they ever had it — and they have become the last card in the pack. There are no other alternatives; either a socialist revolution or a make-believe revolution.

Asia is a continent with many different characteristics. The struggle for liberation waged against a series of European colonial powers resulted in the establishment of more or less progressive governments, whose ulterior evolution have brought about, in some cases, the deepening of the primary objectives of national liberation and in others, a setback towards the adoption of pro-imperialist positions.

From the economic point of view, the United States had very little to lose and much to gain from Asia. These changes benefited its interests; the struggle for the overthrow of other neocolonial powers and the penetration of new spheres of action in the economic field is carried out sometimes directly, occasionally through Japan.

But there are special political conditions, particularly in Indo-China, which create in Asia certain characteristics of capital importance and play a decisive role in the entire U.S. military strategy.

The imperialists encircle China through South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, South Vietnam and Thailand at least.

This dual situation, a strategic interest as important as the military encirclement of the Peoples' Republic of China and the penetration of these great markets — which they do not dominate yet — turns Asia into one of the most explosive points of the world today, in spite of its apparent stability outside of the Vietnamese war zone.

The Middle East, though it geographically belongs to this continent, has its own contradictions and is actively in ferment; it is impossible to foretell how far this cold war between Israel, backed by the imperialists, and the progressive countries of that zone will go. This is just another one of the volcanoes threatening eruption in the world today.

Africa offers an almost virgin territory to the neocolonial invasion There have been changes which, to some extent, forced neocolonial powers to give up their former absolute prerogatives. But when these changes are carried out uninterruptedly, colonialism continues in the form of neocolonialism with similar effects as far as the economic situation is concerned.

The United States had no colonies in this region but is now struggling to penetrate its partners' fiefs. It can be said that following the strategic plans of U.S. imperialism, Africa constitutes its long range reservoir; its present investments, though, are only important in the Union of South Africa and its penetration is beginning to be felt in the Congo, Nigeria and other countries where a violent rivalry with other imperialist powers is beginning to take place (in a pacific manner up to the present time).

So far it does not have there great interests to defend except its pretended right to intervene in every spot of the world where its monopolies detect huge profits or the existence of large reserves of raw materials.

All this past history justifies our concern regarding the possibilities of liberating the peoples within a long or a short period of time.

If we stop to analyze Africa we shall observe that in the Portuguese colonies of Guinea, Mozambique and Angola the struggle is waged with relative intensity, with a concrete success in the first one and with variable success in the other two. We still witness in the Congo the dispute between Lumumba's successors and the old accomplices of Tshombe, a dispute which at the present time seems to favor the latter: those who have "pacified" a large area of the country for their own benefit — though the war is still latent.

In Rhodesia we have a different problem: British imperialism used every means within its reach to place power in the hands of the white minority, who, at the present time, unlawfully holds it. The conflict, from the British point of view, is absolutely unofficial; this Western power, with its habitual diplomatic cleverness — also called hypocrisy in the strict sense of the word — presents a facade of displeasure before the measures adopted by the government of Ian Smith. Its crafty attitude is supported by some Commonwealth countries that follow it, but is attacked by a large group of countries belonging to Black Africa, whether they are or not servile economic lackeys of British imperialism.

Should the rebellious efforts of these patriots succeed and this movement receive the effective support of neighboring African nations, the situation in Rhodesia may become extremely explosive. But for the moment all these problems are being discussed in harmless organizations such as the UN, the Commonwealth and the OAU.

The social and political evolution of Africa does not lead us to expect a continental revolution. The liberation struggle against the Portuguese should end victoriously, but Portugal does not mean anything in the imperialist field. The confrontations of revolutionary importance are those which place at bay all the imperialist apparatus; this does not mean, however, that we should stop fighting for the liberation of the three Portuguese colonies and for the deepening of their revolutions.

When the black masses of South Africa or Rhodesia start their authentic revolutionary struggle, a new era will dawn in Africa. Or when the impoverished masses of a nation rise up to rescue their right to a decent life from the hands of the ruling oligarchies.

Up to now, army putsches follow one another; a group of officers succeeds another or substitute a ruler who no longer serves their caste interests or those of the powers who covertly manage him — but there are no great popular upheavals. In the Congo these characteristics appeared briefly, generated by the memory of Lumumba, but they have been losing strength in the last few months.

In Asia, as we have seen, the situation is explosive. The points of friction are not only Vietnam and Laos, where there is fighting; such a point is also Cambodia, where at any time a direct U.S. aggression may start, Thailand, Malaya, and, of course, Indonesia, where we can not assume that the last word has been said, regardless of the annihilation of the Communist Party in that country when the reactionaries took over. And also, naturally, the Middle East.

In Latin America the armed struggle is going on in Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and Bolivia; the first uprisings are cropping up in Brazil. There are also some resistance focuses [foci] which appear and then are extinguished. But almost all the countries of this continent are ripe for a type of struggle that, in order to achieve victory, can not be content with anything less than establishing a government of socialist tendencies.

In this continent practically only one tongue is spoken (with the exception of Brazil, with whose people, those who speak Spanish can easily make themselves understood, owing to the great similarity of both languages). There is also such a great similarity between the classes in these countries, that they have attained identification among themselves of an international americano type, much more complete than in the other continents. Language, habits, religion, a common foreign master, unite them. The degree and the form of exploitation are similar for both the exploiters and the men they exploit in the majority of the countries of Our America. And rebellion is ripening swiftly in it.

We may ask ourselves: how shall this rebellion flourish? What type will it be? We have maintained for quite some time now that, owing to the similarity of their characteristics, the struggle in Our America will achieve in due course, continental proportions. It shall be the scene of many great battles fought for the liberation of humanity.

Within the frame of this struggle of continental scale, the battles which are now taking place are only episodes — but they have already furnished their martyrs, they shall figure in the history of Our America as having given their necessary blood in this last stage of the fight for the total freedom of man. These names will include Comandante Turcios Lima, padre Camilo Torres, Comandante Fabricio Ojeda, Comandantes Lobaton and Luis de la Puente Uceda, all outstanding figures in the revolutionary movements of Guatemala, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.

But the active movement of the people creates its new leaders; Cesar Montes and Yon Sosa raise up their flag in Guatemala; Fabio Vazquez and Marulanda in Colombia; Douglas Bravo in the Western part of the country and Americo Martin in El Bachiller, both directing their respective Venezuelan fronts.

New uprisings shall take place in these and other countries of Our America, as it has already happened in Bolivia, and they shall continue to grow in the midst of all the hardships inherent to this dangerous profession of being modern revolutionaries. Many shall perish, victims of their errors, others shall fall in the touch battle that approaches; new fighters and new leaders shall appear in the warmth of the revolutionary struggle. The people shall create their warriors and leaders in the selective framework of the war itself - and Yankee agents of repression shall increase. Today there are military aids in all the countries where armed struggle is growing; the Peruvian army apparently carried out a successful action against the revolutionaries in that country, an army also trained and advised by the Yankees. But if the focuses of war grow with sufficient political and military insight, they shall become practically invincible and shall force the Yankees to send reinforcements. In Peru itself many new figures, practically unknown, are now reorganizing the guerrilla. Little by little, the obsolete weapons, which are sufficient for the repression of small armed bands, will be exchanged for modern armaments and the U.S. military aids will be substituted by actual fighters until, at a given moment, they are forced to send increasingly greater number of regular troops to ensure the relative stability of a government whose national puppet army is desintegrating before the impetuous attacks of the guerrillas. It is the road of Vietnam it is the road that should be followed by the people; it is the road that will be followed in Our America, with the advantage that the armed groups could create Coordinating Councils to embarrass the repressive forces of Yankee imperialism and accelerate the revolutionary triumph.

America, a forgotten continent in the last liberation struggles, is now beginning to make itself heard through the Tricontinental and, in the voice of the vanguard of its peoples, the Cuban Revolution, will today have a task of much greater relevance: creating a Second or a Third Vietnam, or the Second and Third Vietnam of the world.

We must bear in mind that imperialism is a world system, the last stage of capitalism — and it must be defeated in a world confrontation. The strategic end of this struggle should be the destruction of imperialism. Our share, the responsibility of the exploited and underdeveloped of the world is to eliminate the foundations of imperialism: our oppressed nations, from where they extract capitals, raw materials, technicians and cheap labor, and to which they export new capitals — instruments of domination — arms and all kinds of articles; thus submerging us in an absolute dependence.

The fundamental element of this strategic end shall be the real liberation of all people, a liberation that will be brought about through armed struggle in most cases and which shall be, in Our America, almost indefectibly, a Socialist Revolution.

While envisaging the destruction of imperialism, it is necessary to identify its head, which is no other than the United States of America.

We must carry out a general task with the tactical purpose of getting the enemy out of its natural environment, forcing him to fight in regions where his own life and habits will clash with the existing reality. We must not underrate our adversary; the U.S. soldier has technical capacity and is backed by weapons and resources of such magnitude that render him frightful. He lacks the essential ideologic motivation which his bitterest enemies of today — the Vietnamese soldiers — have in the highest degree. We will only be able to overcome that army by undermining their morale — and this is accomplished by defeating it and causing it repeated sufferings.

But this brief outline of victories carries within itself the immense sacrifice of the people, sacrifices that should be demanded beginning today, in plain daylight, and which perhaps may be less painful than those we would have to endure if we constantly avoided battle in an attempt to have others pull our chestnuts out of the fire.

It is probable, of course, that the last liberated country shall accomplish this without an armed struggle and the sufferings of a long and cruel war against the imperialists — this they might avoid. But perhaps it will be impossible to avoid this struggle or its effects in a global conflagration; the suffering would be the same, or perhaps even greater. We cannot foresee the future, but we should never give in to the defeatist temptation of being the vanguard of a nation which yearns for freedom, but abhors the struggle it entails and awaits its freedom as a crumb of victory.

It is absolutely just to avoid all useless sacrifices. Therefore, it is so important to clear up the real possibilities that dependent America may have of liberating itself through pacific means. For us, the solution to this question is quite clear: the present moment may or may not be the proper one for starting the struggle, but we cannot harbor any illusions, and we have no right to do so, that freedom can be obtained without fighting. And these battles shall not be mere street fights with stones against tear-gas bombs, or of pacific general strikes; neither shall it be the battle of a furious people destroying in two or three days the repressive scaffolds of the ruling oligarchies; the struggle shall be long, harsh, and its front shall be in the guerrilla's refuge, in the cities, in the homes of the fighters - where the repressive forces shall go seeking easy victims among their families — in the massacred rural population, in the villages or cities destroyed by the bombardments of the enemy.

They are pushing us into this struggle; there is no alternative: we must prepare it and we must decide to undertake it.

The beginnings will not be easy; they shall be extremely difficult. All the oligarchies' powers of repression, all their capacity for brutality and demagoguery will be placed at the service of their cause. Our mission, in the first hour, shall be to survive; later, we shall follow the perennial example of the guerrilla, carrying out armed propaganda (in the Vietnamese sense, that is, the bullets of propaganda, of the battles won or lost — but fought — against the enemy). The great lesson of the invincibility of the guerrillas taking root in the dispossessed masses. The galvanizing of the national spirit, the preparation for harder tasks, for resisting even more violent repressions. Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.

We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it: to his home, to his centers of entertainment; a total war. It is necessary to prevent him from having a moment of peace, a quiet moment outside his barracks or even inside; we must attack him wherever he may be; make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move. Then his moral fiber shall begin to decline. He will even become more beastly, but we shall notice how the signs of decadence begin to appear.

And let us develop a true proletarian internationalism; with international proletarian armies; the flag under which we fight would be the sacred cause of redeeming humanity. To die under the flag of Vietnam, of Venezuela, of Guatemala, of Laos, of Guinea, of Colombia, of Bolivia, of Brazil — to name only a few scenes of today's armed struggle — would be equally glorious and desirable for an American, an Asian, an African, even a European.

Each spilt drop of blood, in any country under whose flag one has not been born, is an experience passed on to those who survive, to be added later to the liberation struggle of his own country. And each nation liberated is a phase won in the battle for the liberation of one's own country.

The time has come to settle our discrepancies and place everything at the service of our struggle.

We all know great controversies rend the world now fighting for freedom; no one can hide it. We also know that they have reached such intensity and such bitterness that the possibility of dialogue and reconciliation seems extremely difficult, if not impossible. It is a useless task to search for means and ways to propitiate a dialogue which the hostile parties avoid. However, the enemy is there; it strikes every day, and threatens us with new blows and these blows will unite us, today, tomorrow, or the day after. Whoever understands this first, and prepares for this necessary union, shall have the people's gratitude.

Owing to the virulence and the intransigence with which each cause is defended, we, the dispossessed, cannot take sides for one form or the other of these discrepancies, even though sometimes we coincide with the conten- tions of one party or the other, or in a greater measure with those of one part more than with those of the other. In time of war, the expression of current differences constitutes a weakness; but at this stage it is an illusion to attempt to settle them by means of words. History shall erode them or shall give them their true meaning.

In our struggling world every discrepancy regarding tactics, the methods of action for the attainment of limited objectives should be analyzed with due respect to another man's opinions. Regarding our great strategic objective, the total destruction of imperialism by armed struggle, we should be uncompromising.

Let us sum up our hopes for victory: total destruction of imperialism by eliminating its firmest bulwark: the oppression exercized by the United States of America. To carry out, as a tactical method, the peoples gradual liberation, one by one or in groups: driving the enemy into a difficult fight away from its own territory; dismantling all its sustenance bases, that is, its dependent territories.

This means a long war. And, once more we repeat it, a cruel war. Let no one fool himself at the outstart and let no one hesitate to start out for fear of the consequences it may bring to his people. It is almost our sole hope for victory. We cannot elude the call of this hour. Vietnam is pointing it out with its endless lesson of heroism, its tragic and everyday lesson of struggle and death for the attainment of final victory.

There, the imperialist soldiers endure the discomforts of those who, accustomed to the vaunted U.S. standard of living, have to live in a hostile land with the insecurity of being unable to move without being aware of walking on enemy territory: death to those who dare take a step out of their fortified encampment. The permanent hostility of the entire population. All this has internal repercussion in the United States; propitiates the resurgence of an element which is being minimized in spite of its vigor by all imperialist forces: class struggle even within its own territory.

How close we could look into a bright future should two, three or many Vietnams flourish throughout the world with their share of deaths and their immense tragedies, their everyday heroism and their repeated blows against imperialism, impelled to disperse its forces under the sudden attack and the increasing hatred of all peoples of the world!

And if we were all capable of uniting to make our blows stronger and infallible and so increase the effectiveness of all kinds of support given to the struggling people — how great and close would that future be!

If we, in a small point of the world map, are able to fulfill our duty and place at the disposal of this struggle whatever little of ourselves we are permitted to give: our lives, our sacrifice, and if some day we have to breathe our last breath on any land, already ours, sprinkled with our blood let it be known that we have measured the scope of our actions and that we only consider ourselves elements in the great army of the proletariat but that we are proud of having learned from the Cuban Revolution, and from its maximum leader, the great lesson emanating from his attitude in this part of the world: "What do the dangers or the sacrifices of a man or of a nation matter, when the destiny of humanity is at stake."

Our every action is a battle cry against imperialism, and a battle hymn for the people's unity against the great enemy of mankind: the United States of America. Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome, provided that this, our battle cry, may have reached some receptive ear and another hand may be extended to wield our weapons and other men be ready to intone the funeral dirge with the staccato singing of the machine-guns and new battle cries of war and victory.