Friday, February 15, 2019

Jimi Hendrix: How Much Was the Guitar Legend Worth at the Time of His Death?
Eric Schaal
Cheat Sheets
February 12, 2019

Of the many great rock musicians who died too young, fans may miss Jimi Hendrix the most. The Seattle-born guitar virtuoso was just getting started when he passed away in 1970. Many guitar greats have hit the scene since, but none has taken Hendrix’s spot atop the rankings on his instrument.

Looking at the greatest rock bands to emerge in the ’60s, Hendrix’s recording history proved the shortest. At the time of his death at 27, he’d only produced four albums (one a live record).

Compared to Led Zeppelin’s output prior to John Bonham passing (or The Doors before Jim Morrison died), it’s less than half. Nonetheless, every Hendrix album was a huge success in his lifetime.

Here’s a look at Hendrix’s album sales and his estimated net worth when he died — plus what his estate is worth today.

The platinum records and sold-out shows

Hendrix’s three albums with the Experience (with Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums) all sold well. However, the band’s debut Are You Experienced? (1967) has proved to be his best-seller.

With classics like “Purple Haze,” “Foxey Lady,” “Hey Joe,” and “Fire,” it’s definitely the quintessential Hendrix album as far as radio tracks go. Since it went on sale, that record has sold more than 5 million copies. It spent more than two years on the Billboard charts and peaked at No. 5.

Though his later albums peaked at higher spots on the charts, none has reached the first Hendrix album in sales. (Electric Ladyland spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1968 and charted for a total of 40 weeks.) Overall, Hendrix albums have surpassed 30 million sales.

While the record sales kept mounting and Hendrix’s live shows attracted capacity crowds, Hendrix’s songwriting credits offered another revenue stream (not that he needed it). In 1970, he was worth millions in today’s money.

Hendrix’s net worth was $5 million when he died — and $175 million in 2019.

When Hendrix passed away, his fortune was worth more than $800,000 in 1970 dollars, or the equivalent of $5 million in 2019. Obviously, the guitar legend would have been able to sell records for as long as he lived, and his net worth would have grown accordingly.

Since he passed away, Hendrix album sales have never stopped. In 2004, when family members were squabbling over his estate, Court TV estimated its value at $80 million. New recordings released in this decade have only kept the cash rolling in, regardless of who’s managing it.

At this point, Hendrix’s estate could be worth as much as $175 million. It may not be the eye-popping sum Paul McCartney sees when he checks his bank account, but it dwarfs the fortune of most rockers by a mile.

Unfortunately, trying to duplicate or surpass what Hendrix did isn’t an option.
How Did Jimi Hendrix Never Win Any Grammy Awards?
Eric Schaal
Cheat Sheet
February 12, 2019

Since rock ‘n’ roll took the world by storm in the 1950s, there have always been lively debates about who’s the best on their instruments. If you’re talking drummers, there isn’t much of an argument — Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham usually takes the top spot.

While the list of guitar players runs a bit longer — and Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page ranks near the top — there’s also a consensus pick among rock fans. That honor typically belongs to Jimi Hendrix, who blew away every audience that heard him play.

Between the day Hendrix landed in England (1967) and when he played “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock (1969), everyone from The Beatles to the last man in the concert hall considered him God’s gift to the guitar. Some 50 years later, that reputation holds.

However, Grammy voters didn’t get the memo when Hendrix was alive and releasing albums in the 1960s. He never won a single award from his peers before he passed away in 1970. Here’s how that happened.

Hendrix only got 1 Grammy nomination in his lifetime.

You have to be in the running and actually receive nominations in order to get awards at the Grammys. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance. That’s exactly how Hendrix ended up without a single Grammy when he died.

In fact, he only got one nomination in his lifetime. Between his arrival on the scene in ’67 and his sudden death in 1970, his sole nod came for his revolutionary performance of the national anthem at Woodstock.

His rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” from ’69 landed among the nominees for Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance the following year. When Hendrix’s turn came, Henry Mancini walked away with the award.

In case you’re wondering, Mancini won for Theme From Z And Other Film Music, an album that included the theme from Patton and other jams Grammy voters considered more deserving.

All 3 of Hendrix studio albums got snubbed by Grammy voters.

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If you go album-by-album, the snubs look even worse. The Jimi Hendrix Experience released Are You Experienced? in ’67. That disc included “Hey Joe,” “Foxy Lady,” “Purple Haze,” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” Nothing came of it.

The same went for Axis: Bold as Love (’67) and the groundbreaking Electric Ladyland (’68). Not even Hendrix’s cover of “All Along the Watchtower” from the latter album caught voters’ attention.

To be clear, Hendrix wasn’t alone in getting snubbed at the Grammys. Led Zeppelin, a band that dominated the music scene in the 1970s, also never won an award for any of its nine studio albums. (Lifetime achievement awards and other honors came later.)

Even the Beatles, who won over most of the country by the mid-’60s, watched their classic Revolver (1966) lose to an album by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass in ’67.

Looking back, you might say Grammy voters didn’t really get “acid rock.” As for the thunder that Jimi and Zeppelin brought later, we’re guessing it completely terrified Grammy voters.
'Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church': Film Review
6:27 AM PST 1/31/2019
by Frank Scheck

Courtesy of Abramorama
A must for Hendrix fans.  TWITTER
1/31/2019

Jimi Hendrix's last major concert appearance in America is the centerpiece of this documentary featuring footage that went undeveloped for decades.

Considering that he's been dead for nearly 50 years, Jimi Hendrix is certainly prolific. Case in point: Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, the concert film documenting his performance at 1970's Atlanta Pop Festival, shot only two months before his untimely death. Receiving a limited theatrical release, this unearthed cinematic nugget provides further evidence, not that any was necessary, of the legendary performer's magnetism and musical virtuosity.

The event, breathlessly described in the film's opening graphics as "the last great U.S. pop festival," took place over July Fourth weekend. Despite its moniker, it wasn't located in Atlanta but rather in Byron, Georgia, a small town 100 miles away that was woefully ill-equipped for the sudden influx of young people, whose ranks (according to the film) swelled to 500,000 for Hendrix's set, his largest-ever U.S. audience. The other performers on the bill included Bob Seger, the Allman Brothers Band and Grand Funk Railroad, among many others, but Hendrix was clearly the marquee attraction.

The footage of his performance amazingly sat undeveloped in cameraman Steve Rash's barn for many years. Captured on 16mm color film, Hendrix's set comprises a little more than half the running time of the documentary, which also provides contextual info about the festival via archival footage and contemporary interviews. (Rash went on to direct such Hollywood films as The Buddy Holly Story and Can't Buy Me Love.)

You can sometimes feel the padding in the film, which includes comments by such musicians as Rich Robinson, Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Steve Winwood and others, all of whom, not surprisingly, attest to Hendrix's brilliance. Paul McCartney recalls, "We all played guitar, we all knew a bit. But he seemed to know more than us." We also hear from Hendrix's bandmates Billy Cox and the late Mitch Mitchell, who offer more personal, but not necessarily more scintillating, observations. "He had the whole ball of wax," Cox says admirably. He does offer the interesting tidbit that Hendrix began playing "All Along the Watchtower" in the wrong key before realizing his mistake.

Georgia's then-governor Lester Maddox, a staunch segregationist, wasn't exactly enthused about the event taking place in his state. "I like festivals, and I like to have fun," he claims, unconvincingly, in a vintage news clip, before expressing his trepidation about the festival. Several townspeople recall marveling at the sight of the young "hippies" getting naked and taking drugs in full view. The undressing was as much tactical as philosophical, as the temperature hit 104 degrees over the weekend.   

The concert footage, shot at night (Hendrix didn't take the stage until 12:30 a.m.), proves dark and grainy. But it successfully captures his typically incendiary renditions of such classics as "Purple Haze," "Voodoo Chile," "Hey Joe," "Foxy Lady" and the closer, "The Star-Spangled Banner," the last accompanied by fireworks in the distance. It was to be Hendrix's last major show before his death, and we should be grateful that it's come to light, and for the opportunity to see it on the big screen.

Production company: Experience Hendrix LLC
Distributor: Abramorama, Sony Legacy Recordings, Experience Hendrix LLC
Director: John McDermott
Producers: Janie Hendrix, John McDermott
Director of photography: Steve Rash
Editor: Paul Rachman
Jimi Hendrix ‘Electric Church’ Concert Film Headed to Theaters
Film captures guitarist’s 1970 set at Atlanta International Pop Festival

By JON BLISTEIN
Rolling Stone

Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church, which documents the legendary guitarist’s July 4th, 1970 performance at the Atlanta International Pop Festival, will be screened in select movie theaters around the world starting January 31st.

The film premiered on Showtime in 2015, and was accompanied by a live album, Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival, which contained Hendrix’s 16-song set. John McDermott directed Electric Church, which features color 16mm footage shot by Steve Rash, who later directed The Buddy Holly Story and Can’t Buy Me Love.

The limited theatrical run for Electric Church will kick off January 31st at the Arc Light Hollywood in Los Angeles and IFC in New York City. Following the screening in Los Angeles, there will be a discussion with McDermott, Rash, record producer and engineer Eddie Kramer and Hendrix’s sister, Janie Hendrix, who serves as C.E.O. of Experience Hendrix. Janie Hendrix is also set to appear at a February 13th screening in Seattle, Washington, while Hendrix’s old bandmate, Billy Cox, will appear at a February 25th showing in Nashville, Tennessee.

A complete list of participating theaters, as well as ticket information, is available on Hendrix’s website.

Along with footage of Hendrix’s Atlanta International Pop Festival set, Electric Church also boasts interviews with Paul McCartney, Billy Cox, the late Mitch Mitchell, Steve Winwood, Kirk Hammett, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Rich Robinson and more.
Black History Month: National Museum of African American Music Adds Jimi Hendrix Artifact
by PRIDE
Newsdesk
February 1, 2019

Memphis, TN–The National Museum of African American Music has added to its growing artifact collection a guitar smashed on stage by Jimi Hendrix.

The guitar was gifted to the museum by Memphis resident and photojournalist George Tillman, who was given the guitar by guitarist Larry Lee, famous for his work with Hendrix and Al Green. Lee remembers picking up the destroyed guitar during a performance with Hendrix, who was known for destroying guitars and sound equipment on stage. Only half of the guitar’s body remains, the neck and fret board still intact, with a few broken strings still connected to the headstock.

“Years ago, Larry Lee gifted me this guitar out of the blue, and it’s become one of my most prized possessions,” Tillman said. “But now I’m honored that something that has meant so much to me personally now has the opportunity to inspire others in the National Museum of African American Music.”

“Jimi Hendrix is one of the most important figures in American pop culture, not just American music,” said Dr. Steven Lewis, curator at NMAAM. “This guitar provides a physical reminder of the power of his music, his personality and his brand of self-expression that was as influential in the 1960s as it is today.”

The museum has already collected multiple Hendrix-related artifacts among the 1,200 already collected, including vintage concert materials. Hendrix will be prominently featured in NMAAM’s Crossroads gallery as one of the blues-based guitar masters of the 1960s. NMAAM also plans to feature Hendrix via photographic images prominently placed in gallery and lobby spaces.

The National Museum of African American Music, set to open in late 2019, will be the only museum dedicated solely to preserving African American music traditions and celebrating the influence African Americans have had on music. Based in Nashville, Tenn., the museum will share the story of the American soundtrack by integrating history and interactive technology to bring musical heroes of the past into the present. For more information, visit www.nmaam.org.
Renton Post Office Renamed to honor Jimi Hendrix, While New Exhibition Looks at Icon’s Early Years
December 30, 2018 at 10:03 am

The James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix Post Office is less than a mile from where the legendary guitarist is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery.

Michael Rietmulder By Michael Rietmulder
Seattle Times music writer

No amount of public memorials may ever match the cultural impact Jimi Hendrix had during his all-too-short life, but that hasn’t stopped local officials from further cementing his legacy around our region. Once a leading figure of the counterculture viewed warily by the federal government, the music icon will now have a post office near his hometown named after him.

Last week a bill was signed into law re-christening the Renton Highlands Post Office the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office in the legendary guitarist’s honor. The bill, which passed unanimously, was sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, and supported by both of Washington’s U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

“I am honored to join in paying tribute to rock and roll icon and Seattle native Jimi Hendrix with the renaming of the Renton Highlands Post Office as the James Marshall ‘Jimi’ Hendrix Post Office Building,” Smith said in a statement. “This designation will further celebrate Hendrix’s deep connection to the Puget Sound region and help ensure that his creative legacy will be remembered by our community and inspire future generations.”

Before rising to international fame in the late 1960s, Hendrix grew up in Seattle, spending much of his youth in the Central District and attending Garfield High School. There’s no shortage of Hendrix tributes scattered around his hometown — from the statue on Broadway to his namesake park adjacent to the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) — etching “Seattle’s most recognizable son,” as the museum’s director LaNesha DeBardelaben described him, into the city’s history. The Renton post office is less than a mile from the Jimi Hendrix Memorial in the Greenwood Memorial Park cemetery, where the guitar hero is buried.

“His legendary artistic genius chartered new territory within world music,” said DeBardelaben in a statement supporting the bill. “While his reach was international in scope, his roots trace back to Seattle and we are proud to richly celebrate his legacy as part of his hometown community.”

Earlier this fall, NAAM unveiled its own tribute to Hendrix’s legacy. In partnership with Hendrix’s estate, the “Bold as Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home” exhibition, which runs through May 5, 2019, offers an intimate look into the star’s upbringing. While the exhibit touches on Hendrix’s well-documented London stint — including a replica of his signature British cavalry jacket — that helped launch him into the stratosphere, the real draw is the half focusing on his early years in Seattle.

Though some of the hardships of Hendrix’s “transient childhood” are glossed over, a rosy portrayal of his early days in and around the Central District comes alive through family artifacts and photos, including a shot of a young Hendrix in uniform with his football coach (and future Washington governor) Booth Gardner. Numerous paintings and drawings of nature scenes and Seafair hydroplanes showed Hendrix’s creativity wasn’t limited to one medium while highlighting his hometown connection. “Bold as Love” also traces Hendrix’s flamboyant fashion sense to his infatuation with his grandmother’s collection of vaudeville attire she wore while singing with the Dixieland Spectacle — an all-black vaudeville troupe that led the Hendrix family to the Northwest.

Sure to please Hendrix buffs are handwritten letters and postcards he sent home while touring as a sideman, some of which have informed the documentaries and biographies since his death in 1970. Still, “Bold as Love” provides enough of an abbreviated overview of Hendrix’s career — from recording sessions with the Isley Brothers to some of his major hometown concerts — to serve the uninitiated, with an eye toward his Seattle roots.
_____

The James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office is located at 4301 N.E. Fourth St., Renton.

“Bold as Love: Jimi Hendrix at Home,” through May 5, 2019; Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle; Wednesdays-Sundays 11 a.m.-5 p.m., open until 7 p.m. Thursdays; $5-$7, free for members and children 3 and younger; 206-518-6000, naamnw.org


Michael Rietmulder: mrietmulder@seattletimes.com; on Twitter: @mrietmulder. Michael Rietmulder is the Seattle Times music writer.
Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland Is a Wonderland of Peculiar Production
The Opus revisits the parties, kazoos, and jam sessions behind the legendary album

BY COS STAFFON
JANUARY 17, 2019, 1:30PM

Our podcast series, The Opus, continues its journey into The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Electric Ladyland.

A hodge-podge of jam sessions and extended blues homages could have easily transformed into a bloated mess. Instead, the ambling attempt to make the “Earth Space Music” of Electric Ladyland became the stuff of legend. Host Ernest Wilkins is joined by music writer Dan Epstein to discuss Hendrix’s production style and the sometimes quite peculiar techniques the maestro used in the studio.

And what a studio it was! The Record Plant was founded to ensure Hendrix’s complete control over the record, allowing for parties that became immortalized on wax and painstaking perfectionism. This episode highlights early takes and demos from those sessions and inspiring insights into the fluid and fascinating ways that Jimi Hendrix let his creativity soar.

The Opus is a co-production of the Consequence Podcast Network and Sony.

For more Hendrix, check out Electric Ladyland – 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, a new box set featuring previously unreleased demos, alternate takes, and a live bootleg. Pick up a copy here or stream the original album in full below.
THE SOURCE BLACK HISTORY ICON OF THE DAY: JIMI HENDRIX
RASHAD GROVE 
FEBRUARY 14, 2019

When the greatest guitarists of all-time are ranked, often, the name at the top of the list is James Marshall Hendrix, more famously known as Jimi Hendrix. he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most renowned musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music.” Hendrix’s guitar stylings have influenced Carlos Santana, Ernie Isley, Eric Clapton, Eddie Hazel, George Clinton, and Prince.

Jimi Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington and he began playing guitar at the age of 15. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1961. Soon afterward, he moved to Clarksville, Tennessee, and began playing gigs on the Chitlin’ Circuit. He earned a reputation as phenom on the guitar and he began playing with Isley Brothers’ and then with Little Richard. As a sideman backing the Isley Brothers and Little Richard, Hendrix began mastering the elements of rock n roll and blues that would come to define his own musical motif.

Hendrix set sail for Great Britain in 1966 where he would create the Jimi Hendrix Experience. They write and produce classics such as “Hey Joe”, “Purple Haze”, and “The Wind Cries Mary”. He made an iconic appearance the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 that would solidify him as the biggest superstar in music at the time. Then in 1968 his third and final studio album, Electric Ladyland, reached the number one spot on the U.S album charts. The LP would be Hendrix’s most commercially successful album during his lifetime. In 1969 he headlined the Woodstock Festival and the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.

After these legendary performances, the music world would be rocked by the news of Hendrix’s passing on September 18. 1970, at the age of 27. His death was ruled an accident by barbiturate-related asphyxia.

Posthumously, Jimi Hendrix remains a legendary figure in the realm of music. He is the standard of what lead guitarists are measured by. In his brief but brilliant career, Hendrix transformed from being a sideman into one of the most influential musicians in recorded music history.
Aurora Mass Shooting: 6 Dead, Including Gunman, And 6 Officers Injured
February 15, 2019 at 8:40 pm

CHICAGO (CBS) — A gunman opened fire inside an Aurora manufacturing plant on Friday, killing five people and wounding six police officers. None of the victims have been identified yet. Authorities are providing an update at a 9 p.m. news conference.

The suspect, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, exchanged gunfire with police as soon as officers entered the 29,000 square-foot building around 1:30 p.m. Feb. 15. He was killed by officers.

Martin was employed at the company, a subsidiary of Mueller Water Products. The Atlanta-based company manufactures water measurement products, according to its website.

In a statement released Friday night, the company said it was left “shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy.”

“Our hearts are with the victims and their loved ones, the first responders, the Aurora community and the entire Mueller family during this extremely difficult time,” the statement reads. “Our entire focus is on the health and well-being of our colleagues, and we are committed to providing any and all support to them and their families.”

Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said police were notified about the shooting at 1:24 p.m. They arrived on the scene at 1:28 p.m. and were immediately fired upon.

Five officers were shot. A sixth suffered a knee injury.

Five civilians were killed. The names of the victims have not been released.

No motive for the shooting has been given.
Trump's Disgraceful 'National Emergency' Was Inevitable
BY MARIA CARDONA
The Hill
OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
02/15/19 09:45 AM EST
 
The president of the United States declared a national emergency. He did so because he could not get the money he wanted from Congress to build the unnecessary border wall he promised to his base during two years of campaigning and two years of governing.

In doing so, Donald Trump is crossing an egregious line of presidential overreach unprecedented in history that could have dire repercussions for years to come.

In allowing it to happen, Republicans are demonstrating their collective lack of spine, their loss of any moral compass and their willingness to sacrifice what is best for the country at the altar of political expediency and avoidance of wrathful backlash from Trump and his base. As history immortalizes this moment in time, it will not be kind to the GOP.

It is left to the Democrats to try to do what they can to prevent this atrocious power grab. It was inevitable that Trump would take this route. He had no other choice — for several reasons.

First, for so long, it was obvious that his wall would be an impossibility because it was so ill-fated, badly thought out, and based on outright lies and untruths.

A majority of Americans know that Trump's wall is not necessary, that the very people who live on the border do not want it, and they know the reasoning behind the wall is a farce.   

Second, Trump was never going to outmaneuver new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). She and Democrats had a new national mandate after they took over control of the House of Representatives. They were going to fight for what they knew was right and what the American people actually wanted.

Third, the "Trump Shutdown," which Trump himself said he would be proud to instigate, was disastrous for the country to be sure, but politically, it eviscerated the president and his party. But his base seemed to still support it. So Trump needed a way out pronto.

He needed a way out that would put roughly 800,000 federal workers back to work so the media coverage of their suffering would go away. He needed a way out that would demonstrate to his base that he was committed to building the wall more than ever. And he needed a way out that would not give Democrats the last word.

The only way out was always to declare a national emergency. That way, Trump would demonstrate he was willing to build the wall by any means necessary.

As has been widely reported, with the current deal, Trump is worse off than he was with the deal he was offered before Christmas, before the government shutdown and much worse off than he was with the deal a year ago that would have given him $25 billion to secure the border.

He is about to sign a deal that is anathema to those very voices who convinced him not to take the prior deals — Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, etc.,  — who believe anything less than full funding for the wall would be unacceptable.

Again, the only way out for him politically is to declare a national emergency.

But make no mistake, it is an ill-fated move that will only demonstrate the president’s unfitness to lead, his lack of ability to govern, his dangerous disinterest in the good of the majority of the country, his petulant nature and his penchant to put his own self interests ahead of his party or the country.

Declaring a national emergency for what is clearly not an emergency is most likely illegal, will weaken him and ultimately weaken the Republicans and the office of the presidency.

It is obvious that the need for the wall is actually no national emergency at all.

It is already established that his reasoning for the wall in the first place is all based lies and his own (and his base’s) anti-immigrant tendencies. If the situation on the border was a real emergency, why is it more so now than before the 35 days he kept the government closed because he didn’t get the funding for the wall?

If it is an emergency now, why wasn’t it when he took office and his party had control of the both houses of Congress?

As most things with Trump, the move reeks of desperation and hypocrisy. Desperation because he has nowhere left to go to placate his base. Hypocrisy because when President Obama used an executive order to implement protections for Dreamers, after the GOP Congress refused to put the issue to a vote, Trump tweeted that the GOP should be up in arms for such presidential overreach.

Now here we are experiencing one of the most disgusting displays of presidential abuse of power perhaps in our lifetimes. Republicans, many of whom said they would be against this move, are now silently, predictably and disgustingly falling in line.

Democrats will do what they can to hold the president accountable as was the mandate they were given.

But in the end, this move will ensure Americans hold the president accountable for the way he has mismanaged, and deceived the country and abused his power. Here’s to 2020.

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Death Toll Rises in Haiti Protest Crackdown
At least nine people are killed and dozens of others injured in a week of anti-government protests in Haiti.

Anti-government protests in Haiti have brought thousands to streets and left nine dead and dozens injured this week.

Demonstrators, angry over rising prices and corruption, have demanded that President Jovenel Moise set down.

Protesters have attacked the presidential palace and attempted to block road access to the airport, and, despite calls from the international community for a dialogue, the violence and crisis seem to be escalating.

Al Jazeera’s Manuel Rapalo is in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Canada Closes Haiti Embassy as Violence Traps Tourists
14/02/2019 - 21:10
France24

Clashes between police and protesters left at least one dead on February 13, 2019, in Port-au-Prince, bringing to at least seven the number of people killed in the week of protests

Canada on Thursday temporarily closed its embassy in Haiti as violent protests against President Jovenel Moise's government trapped hundreds of Canadian tourists in the Caribbean island nation.

"Due to the current volatility, the Port-au-Prince embassy is closed today and we will continue to assess the situation in the coming days to ensure that our diplomats and their families are safe," Canada's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Clashes between police and protesters left at least one dead on Wednesday in Port-au-Prince, bringing to at least seven the number of people killed since protests began a week earlier.

The protesters, angry about skyrocketing inflation and the alleged theft of nearly $2 billion in Venezuelan oil relief to the island, are demanding Moise's resignation.

Gun violence and blocked roads prevented about 100 Canadian tourists staying at the all-inclusive Royal Decameron Indigo Beach resort to get to the airport on Sunday.

"At present, it is not safe to organize a trip to the airport, so for the moment our customers are at the hotel, they are perfectly safe," said Christophe Hennebelle, vice president of tour operator Transat.

"We are in constant contact with the Canadian embassy in Haiti and with the government authorities to assess the situation," he said, adding that he hoped that "in the coming days" the Canadians would be repatriated. An airplane remains on standby in Canada to go pick them up.

Ottawa, meanwhile, is urging Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel to Haiti.
The Power of ‘Everyday’ Lives
Though mostly anonymous, the more than 300 African-American faces featured in a new “Everyday People” exhibition at UVA tell powerful stories of strength, resilience and progress. Take a look.

Caroline Newman, cfn8m@virginia.edu
UVA
February 12, 2019

One photograph in the new exhibition he co-curated reminds Ervin Jordan of his own wedding photo. Like him, the groom was at least 6 feet tall, and had to sit down to fit in the same frame as his petite, 5-foot wife.

The two photographs – one of an unknown 19th-century couple, one framed in Jordan’s office in the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library – are from different places and different times, but they illustrate a connection Jordan hopes every visitor will find in the exhibition, called “Everyday People: Images of Blackness, 1700s-2000s.”

“I want people to see or feel how these individuals could reflect their own families,” said Jordan, an associate professor and research archivist who co-curated the exhibition with library reference specialist Regina Rush and librarian Sony Prosper. “I hope that when people look at this exhibit, they will ponder what kind of lives these people led, how they impacted their families and their country.”

Opened in honor of Black History Month, the exhibition is now on display in the Special Collections Library and will remain there through April 20. It features more than 300 faces, contained in 26 photographs, paintings and other images of African-Americans.

There are a few famous faces – the Obama family makes an appearance, for example – but for the most part, the faces in the photos are, and likely will remain, unknown, like this one of an anonymous man in an ox-drawn cart on Charlottesville’s West Main Street. The photo was taken by Rufus Holsinger, who moved to Charlottesville in the 1880s and took more than 10,000 photographs of local residents, including approximately 600 African-Americans.

There are also stories of women like Ella, a former slave cited in the exhibition description posted near the display cases. Ella began life in slavery in Virginia and later worked as a midwife and laundress, eventually saving enough money to buy five acres of land during the 1890s.

Ella is also curator Regina Rush’s great-grandmother.

Though no photo of Ella remains, other images in the exhibition feature men and women like her.

They include a laundress referred to as “Ms. Hattie,” a chauffeur, the anonymous man in the ox-drawn cart, brides and bridegrooms captured on their wedding day. Soldiers returning from the front. Men and women, going about their everyday lives.

There is even a photo of two unknown UVA alumni, coming together for a reunion years after graduation.

“Many Black History Month exhibits feature famous African-Americans. There is nothing wrong with that, but I wanted this exhibit to be different, to feature everyday people,” Jordan said.

He was inspired by a 1969 song, “Everyday People,” by soul music group Sly and the Family Stone, with lyrics including:

“The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then/Makes no difference what group I’m in/I am everyday people,” and “I am no better and neither are you/We are the same whatever we do/You love me, you hate me, you know me and then/You can’t figure out the bag I’m in.”

“Some of these people did extraordinary things, but most of them, we don’t know their names and probably never will,” Ervin said. “Still, these faces are poignant, they are powerful, they are strong. They tell a story.”

The "Everyday People: Images of Blackness, 1700s - 2000s" exhibition will be on display on the first floor of UVA's Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library through April 20. The exhibition is free and open to the public. 
Tulsa Works to Restore Entrepreneurial Spirit of 'Black Wall Street'
Sabrina Ford
Special to USA TODAY
6:35 p.m. ET Feb. 14, 2019

Kathryn Finney created a pipeline into the tech world to help Black and Latinx women founders become successful.

Long before the Great Migration — the 20th-century exodus of millions of African Americans from the Deep South to the North — the opportunity to own land attracted many blacks to Oklahoma. But it was specifically the oil boom at the turn of the 20th century that lured two entrepreneurs, O.W. Gurley and J.B. Stradford, to the city of Tulsa and set in motion one of the most remarkable, tragic and often forgotten stories in American history — the creation, destruction and rebirth of “Black Wall Street.”

Now, nearly 100 years after white mobs burned down Tulsa’s Greenwood district and murdered many of its residents, local leaders are working to teach the community about Greenwood’s prosperous past and recapture its entrepreneurial spirit.

Gurley and Stradford literally laid the groundwork for what would become known as Black Wall Street by purchasing undeveloped land in Tulsa and building commercial spaces and housing. Boosted by the petroleum business in what would soon be known as “the oil capital of the world,” Greenwood residents worked as doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. Many made a solid middle-class living as domestic workers in the homes of rich white Tulsans.

“Black folks came to Oklahoma and they called it the ‘promised land’ because it was supposed to be a place where you could get away from what was happening in the Deep South with the lynchings, the low wages and the sharecropping. You were supposed to be able to go to Tulsa and have a good life,” says Shomari Wills, author of "Black Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires."

Whites in Tulsa, however, seethed at Greenwood’s economic success.

“There was a very large white supremacist contingent in Tulsa,” Wills says. He adds that, “like everybody else in the West,” Tulsans of all stripes were “gunslingers.” He says, “So you have a heavily armed and self-determined black population that is economically independent. They also had an extremely high literacy rate and were well-educated. Then, on the other side of the tracks, you have a white supremacist contingent who’s irritated by that.”

On May 31, 1921, white mobs seized on rumors that a black man had sexually assaulted a white girl in an elevator, and they went on a rampage in Greenwood, killing an estimated 100 to 300 black residents, destroying homes and businesses and leaving thousands homeless.

(A 2001 Oklahoma state commission report on the case concluded that the elevator incident was probably minor and essentially innocent. The young man, Dick Rowland, 19, most likely tripped and stepped on the foot of elevator operator Sarah Page, 17, the report said. She may have shouted in surprise, prompting him to run from the elevator. A clerk at a nearby store heard the shout, saw Rowland hurrying away — and inferred that Rowland had tried to rape Page.)

For years, the horrific events that followed have been referred to as the Tulsa Race Riots, but thanks in large part to survivors and their descendants, another, more accurate term is gaining favor: the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Today, the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission works to ensure that the story continues to be told. It is also working to empower and assist Greenwood’s community of black entrepreneurs.

“Right now in the Greenwood district, there are a few black-owned businesses, but nothing like it was back in that day,” says commission project manager Jamaal Dyer, a Tulsa native. Dyer says one of the main goals of the commission is to “not only talk about African-American entrepreneurship, but actively seek programs and funding to bring these entrepreneurs to the Greenwood district,” by working alongside people in the community doing similar work.

The group operates a pop-up space that rotates among an array of small businesses. “We have some very gifted entrepreneurs here in Tulsa,” Dyer says. “One young lady who occupied the space makes hand-poured candles. Before that, we had an 11-year-old boy who makes homemade cookies. We have so many people in our community who still embody the spirit of our Greenwood ancestors.”

Last summer, the commission hosted 40 Oklahoma teachers for a four-day intensive course on the massacre. They’ve also created lesson plans and other resources for educators.

“Sadly enough, I didn’t learn about it” in school, says Dyer, who attended high school in Greenwood. “I don’t remember talking about this in school. But we’ve have made significant strides to try and make sure that’s not the case going forward, and we applaud the teachers who have been teaching this for years. We want to build on what they’ve already done.”

Dyer attributes the collapse of Tulsa’s African-American business community not only to the massacre, but also to mid-century urban renewal and the construction of a highway through the area.

He argues passionately that the real story of Greenwood is one of resilience.

“You can’t tell the story of Greenwood without talking about the massacre," Dyer says. "But what we want people to know about more than anything is that these African-American men and women, who were very brilliant and very innovative, built businesses from the ground up. Then, despite the devastation of the massacre, they rebuilt. We want people to know that this community in the Greenwood district was able to overcome and continue to survive and thrive.”
Meet Madam C.J. Walker, the First Self-made African-American Woman Millionaire
Sibile Marcellus
Yahoo Finance
February 14, 2019

Madam C.J. Walker. (Source: Madam Walker Family Archives/A'Lelia Bundles)

Madam C.J. Walker was born near Delta, La., to former slaves in 1867.

A contemporary of beauty icons Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, Madam C.J. Walker started her business in 1906 and managed to become the first self-made African-American woman millionaire – who didn’t inherit a fortune from either her father or husband – in an era when segregation was legal.

The value of her estates, jewelry, cars and other personal effects and real estate investments was between $700,000 and $800,000. If Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, had sold her business on the day she died in 1919, it would have been worth between $1 million and $2 million. (In today’s dollars that translates to over $14.5 million.)

And today the Madam C.J. Walker beauty products – including shampoos, conditioners, and other hair styling treatments – are sold exclusively at beauty retail giant Sephora.

Walker was born just two years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and witnessed her family who were sharecroppers in the South face economic exploitation.

“Like so many, she kind of saw the lack of opportunity in the South growing up and decided she wanted more for herself,” says Dominique Jean-Louis, a historian at the New-York Historical Society.

She moved out to Denver in 1906 where her brothers worked as barbers and began working in hair care. She traveled across the Midwest selling her products and growing her business, and established the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis in 1910.

Walker developed a shampoo and an ointment called Madam Walker’s wonderful hair grower. “There were few products on the market for black women. This was revolutionary at the time,” says A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter.

When Walker moved to Harlem and started her salon in 1916, it became a success.

“This is right as Harlem is becoming a neighborhood and a center of black life. [Her] timing couldn’t have been better. [Her] location couldn’t have been better,” says Jean-Louis.

Her salon also opened up opportunity to local African-American women to find a job in a new industry.

“As these women are coming into Harlem, looking to get their hair done, [they also found opportunity at Madam C.J. Walker’s salon] to break into new industries besides… domestic work and laundry where the majority of black women are working in this time period,” says Jean-Louis.

Helping the local job market

Madam C.J. Walker had a significant impact on women who worked for her – especially when it came to earning potential. Most women working as domestics were pulling in about $5 to $8 a month in Harlem in the early 20th century, whereas the earning potential for a beautician was $3 to $5 a week.

Bundles says Walker was a woman ahead of her time. “She was visionary about not only creating a product, but understanding how to market that product, how to motivate her sales agents. How to motivate women, how to empower women and help them support their families.”

Walker sought to improve the lives of women around her through her products.

“These were people who cared about their appearance and in many cases, it impacted their earning potential; if you looked more presentable you could get a job as a secretary instead of [as a] laundress,” Jean-Louis says.

Walker’s success can also be attributed to the fact that racial pride was a factor in how she marketed her products.

“She was really insistent upon this idea that African-American…hair was beautiful and should be cared for and it should be considered special and worth celebrating,” Jean-Louis says. “Some of that consciousness was part of her business model, of going up against these white conventional ideals of beauty. She really celebrated what African-American presentation can look like and taking pride in that.”

Her role as an activist

Walker’s products filled a need for women who didn’t have many choices. Bundles believes that they were a means to an end. Her real ambition was to help black women become financially independent.

“She was an orphan at 7, married at 14 to get a home away from an abusive brother-in-law, mother at 17, a widow at 20. A poor washer woman with little education, she knew there were thousands of women like her,” says Bundles. “She saw that by having your own income, you could change your life. And she used her money and influence as a philanthropist and a patron of the arts and a political activist in support of the anti-lynching movement.”

Walker gave money to institutions and leaders, including Booker T. Washington to help with his attempts to get black businesses underway, and the NAACP. She supported groups that were looking to counteract the economic limitations of segregation.

“Her role as as an activist really can’t be overstated in helping those early civil rights organizations get off the ground,” says Jean-Louis.

By the time Walker passed away in 1919, her assistants had trained thousands of black women who were then earning $20 to $100 a week. That was a big deal for these women who otherwise would have been maids and sharecroppers. Thanks to Walker, they had enough money to buy homes.

After her death, Walker’s family continued to run the business and it had its heyday in the 1950s. After the board of trustees sold the trademark in the 1980s, the brand was no longer a real player in the hair care market.

About six years ago, billionaire Richelieu Dennis, founder of Sundial Brands, which makes skin care and hair care products, bought the trademark and is now running the Madam C.J. Walker beauty brand as a division of Sundial, which was acquired by Unilever in 2017.

While the Walker family does not have a share in the profits from sales of the Madam C.J. Walker product line today, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter does get compensation as the brand historian. Its availability at Sephora has reinforced Walker’s enduring legacy as a business leader far ahead of her time.

Follow Sibile Marcellus on @SibileTV
Cuba’s Constitution is Discussed and Approved by Cubans
The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to follow the script provided by the United States, organizing a new spectacle he is calling a conference on Cuba’s constitution

Granma | internet@granma.cu
February 13, 2019 10:02:30


A recognition for more than 50 years of complicity against the Cuban people. Photo: Granma
“The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to follow the script provided by the United States, organizing a new spectacle attacking Cuba, which he has called a conference. On this occasion, in regards to the Cuban constitutional reform project,” stated Eugenio Martínez Enríquez, the Foreign Ministry’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, during a press conference yesterday.

Martínez noted that the OAS Secretary General continues his anti-Cuban obsession, repeating vulgar lies about our country, ignoring so many truly urgent issues facing the region. The Secretary General should know that neither he or this organization has any right to debate the constitution of a state which is not part of the OAS, nor wishes to be, and is thus not a party to its system of treaties.

"The OAS is an organization that, at the service of U.S. imperialism, supported attempts to isolate Cuba, military interventions in Latin America, cruel military dictatorships created, financed and protected for years by the United States, and refused to condemn the most abominable torturers in our region, trampling the rights of the peoples of Our America, "said Martinez Enríquez.

"We do not recognize, nor will we recognize any moral or legal authority on the part of the OAS, its officials or subsidiary bodies, attempting to single out Cuba," he emphasized.In conclusion, the Foreign Ministry’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean added that Cuba’s Constitution is the sovereign authority of its people, who democratically debated the document and will vote to approve it February 24.
A Constitution for and By the People
The new Carta Magna establishes the legal basis for the country’s development and embodies Fidel’s concept of Revolution

Elba Salazar Cuba | internet@granma.cu
February 11, 2019 11:02:57

The new Carta Magna reflects the country’s 150 years of struggle for sovereignty. Photo: Endrys Correa Vaillant

Isle of Youth.– With their presence at the polls this coming February 24, the Cuban people will reaffirm their commitment to the continuity of the Revolution and the determination to defend its conquests, and as the best way to honor José Martí, Fidel Castro, and the homeland’s heroes, stated Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, during a visit to the Special Municipality.

Lazo added that this is a Constitution for and by the people, and a product of agreements reached at Party congresses, as envisioned in the Guidelines for Social and Economic Policy and the Conceptualization of Cuba’s model.

The new Carta Magna establishes the legal basis for the country’s development and embodies Fidel´s concept of Revolution, he noted, defending social justice, solidarity, and the countrys independence, while reflecting 150 years of struggle that cannot be betrayed.

In his comments, during an extraordinary session of the Municipal Assembly of People's Power, he called for the improvement of government structures and delegates’ work; rational use of resources; maintaining close ties with the population and their problems, while avoiding bureaucratic practices; and further reducing imports while increasing exports.

He also congratulated Livan Fuentes Álvarez, elected as President of the Isle of Youth’s Assembly of People’s Power, and Mariolis Pérez Domínguez, as Vice President.
Cuba: US Planes Fly to Strategic Areas to Pressure Venezuela
The Cuban Government pointed out that the U.S. intends to eliminate the Bolivarian Revolution, which represents an obstacle for the appropriation of the world

14 February 2019
by teleSUR

The Government of Cuba denounced Wednesday, through a statement, the escalation of pressures and actions of the U.S. Government in preparation for military action under the guise of humanitarian intervention in Venezuela, and called on the international community to mobilize in order to prevent consummation.

"Between Feb. 6 and 10, several military transport aircraft have been flying to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico; the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean Islands that have a strategic location, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations," Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affair (Minrex), stated and added that "these flights took off from U.S. military facilities from where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate."

According to media circles, the U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and the Director of the National Security Council's Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs Mauricio Claver-Carone, counting on the connivance of the Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, designed the attempted coup d'etat in Venezuela by means of the illegal self-proclamation of an interim president.

The characters, personally or through the State Department, are pushing governments in order to force their support the arbitrary call to new Venezuelan presidential elections, while promoting the recognition of the illegal self-proclaimed interim president. However, due to the Bolivarian people's resistance to a coup, which has been demonstrated in massive marches supporting President Nicolas Maduro, the U.S. intensified its coercive economic measures against Venezuela.

Among them are, on one hand, the blockade in banks of billions of dollars, which belong to Venezuela; and, on the other hand, the theft of Venezuelan's oil revenues, which causes serious humanitarian damage and harsh deprivation to the Venezuelan people.

The U.S.-backed opposition lawmaker who declared himself president, Juan Guaido, declared his willingness to support a U.S. military intervention under the pretext of receiving "humanitarian aid," describing the sovereign and dignified rejection of that maneuver as "a crime against humanity."

In the process of fabricating pretexts against Venezuela, the United States presented a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council which expresses concern about "the humanitarian and human rights situation... the recent attempts to block the provision of humanitarian aid, the existence of millions of migrants and refugees... the excessive use of force against peaceful demonstrators, the situation of regional peace and security rupture."

"Venezuela needs negotiations, not a coup or military intervention. Don't let Abrams take us down a path of war."

According to Minrex, the United States is paving the way to establishing "a humanitarian corridor" under "international protection," invoking the "obligation to protect" civilians and applying "all necessary measures."

"The United States adopted similar behaviors and pretexts in the prelude to the wars it launched against Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya."

The Cuban Government also pointed out that the U.S. Government intends to eliminate the Bolivarian Revolution, which represents an obstacle for the appropriation of the world's largest oil reserves and other strategic natural resources located in Venezuelan territory.

"The aggression and the coup against Venezuela harm 'Our America' and only benefit the interests of those who are determined to divide us in order to exercise their control over our peoples," Raul Castro, Cuban Army General, warned on Jul. 14, 2017, and explained that the U.S. Government "does not mind generating conflicts of incalculable consequences in this region, like the ones we are witnessing in different places.”
U.S. Military Adventure Against Venezuela Must be Stopped
Cuba condemns the U.S. government’s escalating preparations for a military adventure in Venezuela and calls on the international community to mobilize to prevent its consummation

Author: MINREX | internet@granma.cu
February 14, 2019 09:02:38
Photo: Internet

The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Cuba condemns the escalation of pressures and actions by the U.S. government in preparation for a military adventure under the guise of a “humanitarian intervention” in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and calls on the international community to mobilize in order to prevent its consummation.

Between February 6 and 10 of 2019, several military transport aircraft have flown to the Rafael Miranda Airport in Puerto Rico, the San Isidro Air Base in the Dominican Republic, and other strategically located Caribbean Islands, most certainly without the knowledge of the governments of those nations. These flights took off from U.S. military facilities where Special Operation Troops and U.S. Marine Corps units operate. These units have been used for covert operations, even against leaders of other countries.

Media and political circles - including within the U.S. - have revealed that extremist figures of the government with a long history of actions and slander aimed at causing or instigating wars, such as John Bolton, U.S. National Security Advisor; and Mauricio Claver-Carone, Director of the National Security Council’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, counting on the connivance of Marco Rubio, Senator of the anti-Cuban mafia in Florida, designed, directly and thoroughly organized, and funded, from their posts in Washington, the attempted coup d’etat in Venezuela by means of the illegal self-proclamation of a President.

They are the same individuals who, either personally or through the State Department, have been exerting brutal pressures on numerous governments to force them to support the arbitrary call for new Presidential elections in Venezuela, while promoting recognition for the usurper who barely won 97,000 votes as a parliamentarian, against the more than 6 million Venezuelans who elected Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros last May.

After the resistance mounted by the Bolivarian and Chavista people against the coup, evidenced by the mass demonstrations in support of President Maduro, and the loyalty of the National Bolivarian Armed Forces, the U.S. government has intensified its international political and media campaign, and strengthened unilateral economic coercive measures against Venezuela, among them the freezing of Venezuelan funds in third countries banks, worth billions of dollars, and the theft of the this sister nation’s oil revenue, causing serious humanitarian damage and harsh deprivation to its people.

In addition to this cruel and unjustifiable plunder, the U.S. intends to fabricate a humanitarian pretext in order to launch a military attack on Venezuela and, by resorting to intimidation, pressure, and force, is seeking to introduce into this sovereign nation’s territory alleged humanitarian aid - which is one thousand times inferior as compared to the economic damages provoked by the siege imposed by Washington .

The usurper and self-proclaimed “President” shamelessly announced his disposition to call for a U.S. military intervention under the pretext of receiving the aforementioned humanitarian aid, and has described the sovereign and honorable rejection of that maneuver as a crime against humanity.

High-ranking U.S. officials have been arrogantly and blatantly reminding us all, day after day, that when it comes to Venezuela, “all options are on the table, including military action.”

In the process of fabricating pretexts, the U.S .government has resorted to deception and slanders, presenting a draft resolution at the UN Security Council which, cynically and hypocritically expresses deep concern for the human rights and humanitarian situation..., the recent attempts to block the delivery of humanitarian aid, the millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants, the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters, the breakdown of regional peace and security in Venezuela, and calls for taking the necessary steps.

It is obvious that the United States is paving the way to forcibly establish a humanitarian corridor under international supervision, invoke the obligation to protect civilians and take all necessary steps.

It is worth recalling that similar behaviors and pretexts were used to by the U.S. during the prelude to wars it launched against Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Libya, which resulted in tremendous human losses and caused enormous suffering.

The U.S. government attempts to remove the biggest obstacle - the Bolivarian and Chavista Revolution - to imperialist domination of Our America and deprive the Venezuelan people of the largest certified oil reserves on the planet and numerous strategic natural resources.

It is impossible to forget the sad and painful history of U.S. military interventions perpetrated more than once in Mexico, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Honduras, and most recently Grenada and Panama.

As was warned by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz on July 14, 2017, “The aggression and coup violence against Venezuela harm all of Our America and only benefit the interests of those set on dividing us in order to exercise their control over our peoples, unconcerned about causing conflicts of incalculable consequences in this region, like those we are seeing in different parts of the world.”
History will severely judge a new imperialist military intervention in the region and the complicity of those who might irresponsibly support it.

What is at stake today in Venezuela is the sovereignty and dignity of Latin America and the Caribbean and the peoples of the South. Equally at stake is the survival of the rule of International Law and the UN Charter. What is being defined today is whether the legitimacy of a government emanates from the express and sovereign will of its people, or from the recognition of foreign powers.

The Revolutionary Government calls for an international mobilization in defense of peace in Venezuela and the region, based on the principles established in the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace, which was adopted by heads of state and government of CELAC in 2014.

It likewise welcomes and supports the Montevideo Mechanism, an initiative promoted by Mexico, Uruguay, the Caribbean Commonwealth (CARICOM), and Bolivia, which seeks to preserve peace in Venezuela based on the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, legal equality of states, and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, as stated in its recent declaration.

It welcomes the positive consideration given to this initiative by President Maduro Moros and the international community, and expresses its concern given the U.S. government’s categorical rejection of the dialogue initiatives promoted by several countries, including this one.

The Revolutionary Government reiterates its firm and unwavering solidarity with Constitutional President Nicolás Maduro Moros, the Bolivarian Chavista Revolution and the civic and military unity of its people, and calls upon all peoples and governments of the world to defend peace and mount a joint opposition, over and above political or ideological differences, to a new imperialist military intervention in Latin America and the Caribbean, which will damage the independence, sovereignty and interests of all peoples from the Rio Bravo to Patagonia.

Havana, February 12, 2019.
A Potential Witness in Monica Witt’s Defection Case Grew Up in New Orleans: Now She Defends the Iranian Revolution
Marzieh Hashemi, an American-born television anchorwoman for Iran's state television, who was detained for 10 days as material witness in a grand jury investigation, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press on Jan. 24. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

By Antonia Noori Farzan
Washington Post
February 14 at 7:22 AM

On Jan. 23, protesters gathered outside the U.S. District Court in Washington to demand the release of Marzieh Hashemi, a longtime television anchor in Iran. The 59-year-old had been picked up by FBI agents at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and detained for 10 days without being charged with a crime. Outrage had mounted after unconfirmed reports from her employer, Press TV, alleged that she had been brutally shackled and had her hijab ripped off, and that she had been denied halal food in jail.

Later that day, Hashemi was released from federal custody. Upon her return to Iran, she was greeted by cheering crowds who handed her flowers and held up their phones to snap photographs. But the reason for her confinement remained a mystery. Court documents indicated only that Hashemi, who was born in the United States, had been held on a rare material-witness warrant, indicating prosecutors needed her testimony for a grand jury investigation and believed she was likely to flee.

One possible explanation emerged on Wednesday, when authorities revealed that a grand jury had brought espionage charges against Monica Elfriede Witt, a former Air Force counterintelligence specialist who defected to Iran in 2013. Witt, a native of Texas, had been trained in Farsi after joining the Air Force in 1997 and quickly rose to a position that gave her access to some of the military’s most tightly guarded secrets. At some point, her loyalties shifted. The newly unsealed indictment alleges that the 39-year-old shared highly classified information with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and helped Iranian hackers to carry out spear phishing attacks that targeted her former colleagues.

The indictment details Witt’s frequent communications with Individual A, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen who allegedly was assisting Iranian intelligence services. Prosecutors allege that in June 2012, Individual A hired Witt to work as her assistant on an anti-American propaganda film that later aired in Iran. As The Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky reported, Iran’s Press TV published an interview a few months later in which someone by the name of Monica Witt claims to be a former Defense Department consultant and is quoted talking about a “boy’s club atmosphere” and rampant sexual harassment in the U.S. military.

Officials declined to say whether Hashemi is the dual national described in the indictment as Individual A, but the two women’s stories have a strikingly similar trajectory: Both grew up in the United States, then later made the unusual choice to shift their allegiances to Iran’s repressive government.

Witt’s reasons for defecting are more opaque. Prosecutors say that she grew disillusioned with the United States over time, and Jay Tabb, the FBI’s executive assistant director for national security, told The Post that her motive appeared to be “ideological.” According to the indictment, she converted to Islam in a ceremony that was broadcast on Iranian television, and she publicly spoke out against the U.S. government while identifying herself as a veteran in a video.

Hashemi, who could not be reached for comment, has spoken at length over the years about her support for Iran’s theocratic government. Born Melanie Franklin in 1959, she grew up in an African American household in segregated New Orleans and was raised Protestant. In a talk that she gave at a Muslim students’ convention in Phoenix in December, she recalled that she attended an all-black school for first grade, before court-ordered desegregation prompted her mother to enroll her in a predominantly white elementary school where she was the only student of color. She later studied journalism and worked at the student-run radio station at Louisiana State University, where, once again, she was a minority on campus.

“I was told many things — that I didn’t belong there,” she said. “But I was able to excel.”

At LSU, where many of the buildings on campus were named after Confederate leaders and an overwhelming majority of students on campus were white, she stood out as a pioneer. “The time we were in school was less than 25 years from LSU being an all-white school,” Jim Engster, a public radio host in Baton Rouge who worked alongside her at the station, told the Associated Press. “So Melanie was a trailblazer too as a black female journalist. There were a few others but not many.”

Her time there coincided with the 1979 Islamic revolution, which reverberated on campus as Iranian students held rallies in support of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who supplanted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as the country’s authoritarian leader.

“Spurred by the overthrow of the Shah and his regime, Iranian students shed their ski masks and stage several demonstrations protesting what one editorial describes as ‘the painful reality of U.S. domination and exploitation of . . . Iran,’” a caption in the 1979 edition of the Gumbo, LSU’s yearbook, read. The following year, Louisiana’s legislature voted to bar Iranian students from attending state universities.

In a 2010 interview with Iran’s Mashregh News, Hashemi recalled that the pro-revolution protests had piqued her curiosity, and that she had felt herself drawn to Khomeini, a firebrand Shiite Muslim cleric. “I was a Protestant, and for years I was not satisfied with my religion,” she said in Farsi. “From the age of 13, I had some questions, and I felt I did not get the answer to my questions.” Her conversations with Iranian student-activists inspired her to convert to Islam at 22, and she began going by Marzieh, a traditional Persian name. After marrying an Iranian man who had come to the United States as a student, she took on his last name, Hashemi.

The couple moved to Iran together, and Hashemi acquired dual citizenship. In a 2016 interview with an Iranian website, she cited her support of the Islamic revolution as a reason for the move, but also noted she had struggled to find a job in television in the United States as a veiled Muslim woman. No potential employers had said outright that her choice to wear the hijab had influenced their decision, she said, but she was offered “various excuses” about why they couldn’t hire her.

In 1991, the Associated Press profiled Hashemi as part of a story about U.S.-born women who chose to live in Iran. By then 31 and fluent in Farsi, she was making a living by giving private English lessons to Iranians who hoped to attend American or British universities. Hashemi told the interviewer that Iranians reacted to her presence in the country with wonder and surprise.

“Twelve years after the revolution, many Iranians still have an image of the United States as being almost next to heaven,” she said. “Either they almost worship me for being here as an American or they think I’m insane for coming here.”

Several years after that interview, Hashemi started working for the country’s monopoly television conglomerate, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which is overseen by the government. In videos from Press TV, the IRIB’s English-language division, she delivers the news with the peppy intonation familiar to viewers of television stations in Omaha or Kansas City. But segments on the channel often take on a distinct tone of propaganda, as reporters and guests echo government hard-liners’ hostility to America and Israel.

Press TV has been condemned as “one of the world’s leading dispensers of conspiratorial anti-Semitism in English” by the Anti-Defamation League, which in 2012 released a report alleging that programming on the network had blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks, claimed that Zionists were controlling world events as part of a massive global conspiracy and accused Jews and the “Israeli lobby” of manipulating American presidential elections. Hashemi has evidently embraced these extreme views: In a 2015 interview with the Iranian website Estebsar, she claimed the U.S. media is controlled by Jews and that it’s “obvious for everyone” that Zionists were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

At a news conference in Tehran on Feb. 2, she said she could not divulge why she had needed to testify in an American court. But she didn’t hesitate to blame her arrest on what she described as the Trump administration’s push to “make America white again.”

“America and other countries in the West are systematically targeting Muslims and black people with institutionally racist politics and laws,” she said. “Fascism is at the door of these countries, and Muslims are at great risk.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Zimbabwe Ratifies Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty
14 FEB, 2019 - 00:02
Freeman Razemba and Fidelis Munyoro
Herald

President Mnangagwa yesterday met officials from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) and ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which outlaws nuclear test explosions. The President met with CTBTO executive secretary Dr Lassina Zerbo and his delegation at his Munhumutapa Offices in Harare.

CTBTO is an international organisation that will be established upon the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, a convention that outlaws nuclear test explosions.

Its seat will be Vienna, Austria.

The organisation will be tasked with verifying the ban on nuclear tests and will operate a worldwide monitoring system and may conduct on-site inspections.

The Preparatory Commission for the CTBTO, and its Provisional Technical Secretariat, were established in 1997.

In an interview after the meeting, President Mnangagwa said, “Dr Zerbo is here. He is here as the secretary-general. He should say how does he feel when Zimbabwe, now today, has deposited instruments of ratification to the United Nations after a period of 20 days. Ask him?

Asked why the country had taken too long to do so, President Mnangagwa said: “It was because this day had not arrived. Now that it has arrived, and there as new dispensation and the environment is now different, we thought it is proper that Zimbabwe signs with those nations, 167 other nations who have ratified, who are against the proliferation of nuclear weapons which is destructive to mankind.”

Dr Zerbo said Zimbabwe is an important African country.

“Zimbabwe is an important country in Africa. Mr President (Mnangagwa) said that it’s after 20 years. The 20 years of thinking, 20 years of assessing the situation then coming the final day when Zimbabwe feels it’s ready to comply with some international instruments after looking at all aspects of the consequences of signing and ratifying the treaty as such an important treaty like the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty.

“Mr President mentioned that it’s new time, new era, things are moving and Zimbabwe is showing to the international community that things are changing and Zimbabwe is seeking more assistance and more help from its peers in Africa and internationally to move forward,” he said.

Earlier on Dr Zerbo met Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo. “We met with Minister Moyo in the context of nuclear test-ban treaty,” he said.

“We are to talk about the ratification process. Zimbabwe is one of the few countries remaining in terms of the ratification of the treaty. We are here to handle the process of ratification of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Dr Zerbo thanked President Mnangagwa for showing that Zimbabwe under the Second Republic was trying to be compliant to all the international instruments and the leadership in the region in that respect. Zimbabwe does not possess nuclear weapons.

As a state party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) since 1991, it is recognised as a Non-Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS).
‘Egypt in Africa: From Nasser to Sisi’
11 FEB, 2019 - 00:02
Tendai H. Manzvanzvike
Group Foreign Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

AS Egypt prepared to take up the rotational chairmanship of the African Union, the country, through its State Information Service (SIC) last week published a book chronicling its role in the continental body, since the formation of Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 to date.

Yesterday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected to take over the rotational chairmanship of the African Union, predecessor to the OAU, at the Heads of State and Government Summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Titled “Egypt in Africa: From Nasser to El-Sisi” and authored by Abdel-Moati Abu-Zeid, Ramadan Korani and Samar Ibrahim, the book was published in several languages including Arabic, English and French.

According to Ahram Online, Abdel-Moati Abu-Zeid is the head of the foreign media department at the SIC, while Ramadan Korani is the managing editor of the African Horizons periodical and, Samar Ibrahim is the managing editor of the Asian Horizons periodical.

The book reportedly takes an in-depth look at Egypt’s policies in Africa from 1952 to date.

Although the book aims to educate Egyptian people about Africa as well as explain Egypt’s policies and vision regarding the continent, it will be an important educational tool across the continent, considering the important role that Egypt has   played.

Reports say that the book is currently being “distributed to Egyptian embassies in Africa as well as to foreign correspondents and Egyptian diplomatic missions all over the world. It is also being sent to the Egyptian parliament and research and media institutions”.

Gamal Abdel Nasser was Egypt’s second president, and was among the leaders of the 32 African states that founded the OAU on May 25, 1963 in Addis Ababa.

Other leaders who took up the cause of advancing the pan-African ideals included Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Sékou Touré of Guinea and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.

According to historical sources, the OAU’s primary aims were to:

--Co-ordinate and intensify the co-operation of African states in order to achieve a better life for the people of Africa.

--Defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of African states.

--Eradication of all forms of colonialism and white minority rule as, when it was established, there were several states that had not yet won their independence or were white minority-ruled.

“Through its eight chapters, the book covers all the dimensions of Egyptian-African relations, including security, economy, culture, politics and water issues, as well as highlights Egypt’s role in regional and continental bodies in Africa,” reports Ahram Online.

The 32nd Session of the African Union summit that started yesterday, will end today. President Mnangagwa is among the leaders attending the Summit.
AU Calls for Peace Conference on Libya
 13 FEB, 2019 - 00:02

ADDIS ABABA. — The African Union (AU) has proposed a global conference in July to try to resolve the conflict in Libya with the aim of holding elections in October.

A statement yesterday said the 55-member body would like to hold “an international conference on reconciliation in Libya under the auspices of the AU and UN” during the first half of July.

The declaration also requested the AU commission, alongside the UN and the Libyan government, take “all the necessary measures for the organisation of presidential and legislative elections in October 2019”.

The North African country has been torn apart by power struggles and undermined by chronic insecurity since the NATO-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The country has at least two rival administrations. One, recognised by the UN, is based in the capital Tripoli. While the other has made its headquarters in the eastern city of Tobruk.

In addition, there are dozens of armed groups vying for power and state wealth.

Suicide bombers have targeted a number of Libya’s vital institutions as armed groups take advantage of the chaotic political situation.

— Al Jazeera/News agencies.
SADC Condemns Interference, Intervention in Venezuela
12 FEB, 2019 - 00:02

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) issued a statement, chiding the United States of America, its allies and other nations to stop interfering in Venezuela’s sovereignty and self-determination.

Sadc chairperson and Namibian President Hage Geingob told countries that sought to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs by seeking to undermine its democratically elected government to realise that they were breaking international law.

Sadc member-States include Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

In the statement issued Sunday, President Geingob said the regional bloc, noted “with concern the attempts by the leaders of some countries to interfere in the affairs and sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

“In particular, these countries have sought to undermine a democratically elected government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela led by president Nicolas Maduro Moros by proclaiming Juan Guaido Marquez as interim-president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” the statement said.

He added, “Sadc condemns such violations of the principles of international law, especially, the respect for sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states.”

The Sadc chairperson noted that the people of Venezuela had expressed their political choices through parliamentary elections and presidential elections held in December 2015 and May 2018, respectively and “urges the international community and all stakeholders to respect the outcomes of these elections.”

Venezuela’s foreign minister Jorge Arreaza, recently accused US President Donald Trump of having a hand in the state coup by Guaido.

“Donald Trump confirms that he leads the state coup as he threatens to use military force again in violation of the UN Charter. The Venezuelan opposition is controlled by Trump”, Arreaza posted on his Twitter handle. On January 23, Guaido, the speaker of the Venezuelan opposition-led National Assembly, proclaimed himself the country’s interim president. He has been supported by the US and a number of other countries, while China, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Iran and several other states backed constitutionally elected President Maduro.

—The Herald Zimbabwe/News agencies.