Monday, November 12, 2007

President Fidel Castro of Cuba on the Legacy of Che and the Recent Ibero-American Summit in Chile

Castro on the Recent Ibero-American Summit

For almost half a century, Washington has striven to isolate Cuba and its revolutionary government, in the world, and first of all on its home continent of Latin America. That strategy worked in the sixties, but has since collapsed. Today it is Washington which is isolated and not Cuba. Washington would love to divide the Latin American nationalist left from Cuba, but isn't having much luck at the moment.

Last week Brazil announced it had found even greater oil reserves than previously thought, and PETROBRAS has indicated a new interest in oil drilling in Cuba. Probably this is related to black gold approaching the $100 per barrel level. Today every country in Latin America has warm and friendly ties with Havana except the Salvadoran regime. Cuban doctors have already been dispatched to Mexico to help out after the recent flooding there.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet accepted an invitation to Cuba, a first for her since she was elected president of her country.

Bachelet chaired the Latin American summit which wrapped up just yesterday in Santiago. Something I cannot recall before was seeing the entire day's sessions of this Latin American Summit presented live and without interruption here on Cuban television, where it replaced all scheduled programming. Viewers here in Cuba were able to see Chavez responding to the Spanish king, and the remarks also by Daniel Ortega, Evo Morales and others.

Not only that, but Spain's social democratic president Zapatero sat through the criticism, and tried to respond diplomatically to an attack on a citizen of his country. He could have stalked out, but instead he remained and he took his lumps. Daniel Ortega really gave him hell, but did so in a logical and beguiling way, forcing Zapatero to smile warmly in recognition.

The main focus of Fidel and Chavez NOT attacking others who were less-revolutionary minded than they are, but attacking those who are most servile toward Washington, such as the Salvadoran regime of Tony Saca, which probably couldn't have been elected had the US not threatened to end family remittances to that country.

That fear-mongering later on failed to defeat the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua, a sign of just how desperate the daily lives and economic conditions of the people of that small Central American country have become under the preceding regimes which were imposed by the United States of Democratic Perfection.

Andres Oppenheimer, the MIAMI HERALD's Cuba Basher-in-Chief, had a better idea of the political significance of what took place at the summit in recent days, noting that:

"Too bad that the 22 presidents meeting at at Ibero-American summit didn't even express a hint of concern about the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela, as Latin American leaders once did when former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori tried to assume extraordinary powers in his country. The summit used to make calls for the collective defense of democracy in the region, but has since become a largely social event, with occasional bilateral disputes."

So while it's quite true that Cuba's commander-in-chief had very strong words to say for some of Latin America's reform-minded political leaders, that was NOT the axis of either his or of the Cuban delegations' participation in this important summit. They had bigger fish to fry.

With any luck we'll get transcripts of the summit's sessions in the near future so we can all see what was actually said there.

Let's keep our eyes on the prize.

Walter Lippmann
Havana, Cuba

Reflections by the Commander in Chief


Che was a man of ideas.

It would have caused him profound pain to hear the speeches that, expressing traditional leftist positions, were delivered at the Latin American Summit held in Santiago de Chile.

The Right also assumed traditional stances and made intelligent concessions to the supposed Left.

Che would have been proud of the statements made by several
revolutionary and courageous leaders, regardless of the little or great deal of political experience any of them may have.

Experience is the mother of science and of ideas.

It was from the battles waged by a handful of Cuban combatants in an area of the Sierra Maestra, against forces that were vastly superior in number and weapons, that Che drew the ideas he later synthesized in his book Guerrilla Warfare.

Chávez leveled devastating criticisms at Europe, the same Europe that pretended to offer lessons on good governance at this Latin American Summit.

The voices of Sandino and of the millennium-old cultures of this hemisphere could be heard in the words of Daniel and Evo.

The speech delivered by the President of El Salvador at this Summit is disgusting.

Capitalism is a system governed by blind, destructive and tyrannical laws that have been imposed on the human species.

Dedicating the next Summit to the young people of Latin America was an unpalatable mixture of hypocrisy and lies, aimed at inculcating the minds of peoples with conditioned reflexes.

Fidel Castro Ruz
November 10, 2007
6:02 p.m.

November 11, 2007

Castro Criticizes Socialist Latin American Leaders

Filed at 12:02 p.m. ET

HAVANA (Reuters) - Convalescing Cuban leader Fidel Castro openly criticized Latin America's socialist-leaning presidents for the first time on Sunday.

Castro also praised Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his other revolutionary regional allies in a commentary carried by official Cuban media on the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile.

Nearly all 19 leaders who attended the summit were leftists, but there was debate over the region's future and the closing speeches on Saturday were marked by sharp exchanges between Chavez and Spanish leaders.

"I listened with great sorrow to the speeches pronounced from
traditional left positions at the Ibero-American summit," Castro wrote.

He was apparently referring to the presidents of Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and others who advocate social democracy with capitalism.

"I felt proud of the pronouncements of various leaders, revolutionary and courageous," he said of the heads of state from Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, who believe government and economic structures must be radically altered and a new relationship developed with the United States.

"Chavez's criticism of Europe was devastating. The Europe that precisely tried to dictate lessons at this Ibero-American summit," Castro said.

Spain's King Juan Carlos told Chavez on Saturday to "shut up" as the Venezuelan leader tried to interrupt a speech by Spain's socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

Zapatero was criticizing Chavez for calling former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar a fascist.

The 81-year-old Cuban leader is recovering from a series of intestinal surgeries that forced him to temporarily hand over power to his brother Raul Castro in July 2006.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

1 comment:

Pan-African News Wire said...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Associated Press omits relevant history in report of Chavez's harsh words for Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar

By Justin Delacour
Latin American News Review
November 10, 2007

A common problem in English-language reporting about Latin America is the failure of reporters to put issues into historical context.

For example, a recent Associated Press report quotes Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as referring to Spain's former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as a "fascist" at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago, Chile.

By leaving out the relevant background information, the report makes Chavez's statements appear so bizarre and undiplomatic as to be inexplicable.

In reality, the Venezuelan President's strong antipathy toward Spain's former Prime Minister has recent historical roots in Aznar's support for a failed coup d'etat against the Chavez government in April 2002.

Jorge Castañeda, Mexico's former foreign minister, has divulged that, during the short-lived Venezuelan coup, Aznar's government worked to cobble together diplomatic support for coup leader Pedro Carmona.

The AP report is so lacking in historical context that its other quotes of Chavez also appear inexplicable. For example, Chavez is quoted as stating the following: "The Venezuelan government reserves the right to respond to any aggression, anywhere, in any space and in any manner."

Since the reader is never informed of the primary "aggression" of which the Venezuelan president speaks, the lay reader is likely to come away with the false impression that Chavez is uttering jibberish.

No doubt the Venezuelan president could choose his words more wisely so as to avoid counter-productive tiffs with the current Spanish government, but that's no excuse for AP's omission of the relevant historical background.