Category Archives: Imperialism

The Establishment proposes catching up in Cuba by ignoring its government

La Alborada – May 20

Tr-bigstick-cartoonA group of former diplomats –including some very interventionist ones–, former members of the US legislative and executive branches, retired military officers, current bankers and corporate officials, NGO heads, and some others, have sent an open letter to President Obama asking that he take action to facilitate the penetration of the Cuban economy through actions that are within his power to take.

Somehow, this is being dressed up as an effort to improve relations with Cuba. It is hardly that, however. It looks more like recommendations that might be advanced by Freedom House, USAID, DAI, NSA, CIA, NED, NGOs, and other members of Washington’s alphabet soup. The difference seems to be that these actions would be authorized openly to facilitate involvement in Cuba’s economy, in particular the developing small-business sector, by “US NGOs and other organizations.”

There is no mention whatever of doing any of it with the approval or cooperation of the Cuban government, except in one paragraph at the end of the list, which proposes that the US “engage in serious discussions with Cuban counterparts on mutual security and humanitarian concerns,” and that in so doing it “leverage these talks to press Cuban officials on matters such as the release of Alan Gross and on-going human rights concerns.”

The last part about Alan Gross is a nod to the current US posture that no improvement in relations is possible unless Gross is released unilaterally, but it does not matter: the proposals seek no improvement in relations, but only a new effort to get into Cuban business now. There is nothing urging the President to negotiate an exchange with the remaining three prisoners of the Cuban Five, nor to remove Cuba from the list of sponsors of terrorism. There is no suggestion of doing away with the blockade.

The underlying motivation is revealed in one phrase: “…the U.S. is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally in its Cuba policy.” That is to say that, while the US government and the media argue that the new Cuban economy is not going anywhere, that the Mariel EDZ will draw no investors, and that Raul Castro is incapable of making the economy work, an important sector of the US establishment recognizes that if they don’t get on the bus now they may have to wait a long time before the next one comes by.

These are some of the signers:

– John Negroponte, former Deputy Secretary of State; former Director of National Intelligence, and –based then in Honduras– coordinator of US intelligence and activities in Central America during the wars of the 1980s.

– John Adams, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired); former Deputy U.S. Military Representative to NATO; former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, U.S. Army.

– Admiral James Stavridis, Commander of U.S. Southern Command 2006–2009; Supreme Allied Commander NATO 2009–2013; Dean of The Fletcher School at Tufts University.

– Paul Cejas, former U.S. Ambassador; President and CEO, PLC Investments, Inc. (management of portfolio investments as well as investments in real estate and venture capital projects).

– Andres Fanjul, Fanjul Group (big sugar).

– Moises Naím, a minister under Carlos Andrés Pérez in Venezuela and currently a right-wing alarmist and proponent of taking down the governments of all of the ALBA countries. (Cuba is, of course, a founder of ALBA.)

– Ambassador Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

– Ambassador Charles Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, where he actively assisted coup plotters before, during, and after the coup of 2002; President, Institute of the Americas.

– George Weiksner, Vice Chairman, Credit Suisse – the same bank that yesterday agreed to pay $2.6 billion in penalties for helping wealthy US clients evade taxes in a scheme federal investigators said spanned decades.

What do they propose? Here are some examples (emphasis is ours):

– Allow unlimited remittances to non-family members for the purpose of supporting independent activity in Cuba and expand the types of goods that travelers may legally take to the Island to support micro-entrepreneurs.

– Establish new licenses for the provision of professional services to independent Cuban entrepreneurs.

– Allow U.S. NGOs and other organizations to lend directly to small farmers, cooperatives, self-employed individuals, and micro-enterprises in Cuba.

– Allow Cuban entrepreneurs to participate in internships in U.S. corporations and NGOs.

– Authorize the sale of telecommunications hardware in Cuba, including cell towers, satellite dishes, and handsets.

The signers may not be aware of the ZunZuneo debacle and of the way that NSA spies on other countries through back doors built into US hardware, but it seems that they just don’t care what the Cuban government thinks of these ideas. They want Obama to open the gates for intervention.

It’s hard to come to a different conclusion given the character of the proposals. They’re not a good approach to improving relations.

 

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Regarding Joaquín Pérez Becerra

Regarding Joaquín Pérez Becerra

By Iván Maiza – TeleSurespañol

Translation: Machetera

The capacity of the Latin American left to go straight ahead without looking to either side, without long term plans, without observing the world in which it lives, never ceases to amaze me.  Without taking into account whose life is at stake in matters that are not strategic, nor even tactical, what matters is always the sacrifice, proving that one is not betraying the highest revolutionary values, “never bowing one’s head” like that person in the story by Osvaldo Soriano,  “A sus plantas rendido un León” [A defeated lion at their feet].* Continue reading

Mario Vargas Llosa’s Iraq Chronicles

 

War Trophies español

Santiago Alba Rico

Translation: David Brookbank, Machetera & Manuel Talens

(From the book “Crimes of War” published by the Committee in Solidarity with the Arab Cause, which includes the report written by brigade members about civilian victims.)

 

Sometimes things are so simple that one allows oneself to be carried away by discouragement; they are so simple and function with so few elements that there is no way to change them.  The worst that can be said about relationships of domination – conjugal, economic or colonial – is that they enormously simplify the mental universe of those involved, reducing it to the two perfect pieces of evidence that have accompanied and legitimized forceful triumph for thousands of years: the superiority of the victor and the inferiority of the vanquished.

In part for reasons of pedantry and in part out of superstition – and with the hope of increasing the fragility of the scenario by exaggerating its complexity – I have searched over much time for more complex and elaborate similarities with more ramifications.  But I give up.   Everything is so simple that it will endure, so plain that it will not fall apart: every one of those gestures that we call “Western,” each and every one of its parliaments and chatter, its toys, its depressions, its newspapers, its shopping baskets, its values, each one of its Christmas decorations and each of its electro-domestics, presuppose and reinforce the most simple and virtuous contempt for everyone else; the most generous, friendly, genuine and proper minimization of the Other; the sweetest, most intelligent, and most moderate negation of our neighbor.   Continue reading

A peek inside Heather Hodges’ jewelry box: From Franco to Quito and all points in between

Hodges received a medal identical to this one. The image is from an online auction of fascist memorabilia: http://www.intariamilitaria.com/CatJun09.htm

The U.S. Ambassador in Quito, Heather Hodges, Knows All About Coups D’Etat as Well as Blockadesespañol

By Jean Guy Allard

Translation: Machetera

The United States Ambassador in Quito is “distinguished” for her numerous links with USAID, the public face of U.S. intelligence which dedicates scores of millions of dollars annually to the attempt to destabilize progressive governments in Latin America.  In her diplomatic career, she had the “privilege” of personal familiarity with the bloody dictatorship of the putschist Guatemalan Rio Montt and of conspiring as a high level official in the U.S. State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs.

Heather Hodges is the former U.S. Ambassador to Moldova, a country that was part of the former USSR, where she dedicated herself to exacerbating the differences that Moldova had with Russia over the Trans-Dniestr region.

In Ecuador, it’s known that “Her Excellency” has not lost any opportunities to foment the sordid work of her intelligence personnel and exacerbate controversy in the debate about a separatist Guayaquil, promoted by certain rightwing elements. Continue reading

Behind the Coup in Ecuador

Behind the Coup in Ecuador – The Rightwing Attack on ALBA español

By Eva Golinger

Translation: Machetera

The latest coup attempt against one of the countries in the Bolivarian Alliance For The People of Our America (ALBA) is attempt to impede Latin American integration and the advance of revolutionary democratic processes.  The rightwing is on the attack in Latin America.  Its success in 2009 in Honduras against the government of Manuel Zelaya energized it and gave it the strength and confidence to strike again against the people and revolutionary governments in Latin America. Continue reading

Sean Penn: “our new white expert on ‘all things Haitian'”

Medals like this carry hidden weight. Don't wear swimming!!!

When the July issue of Vanity Fair floated across my desk containing a loving portrait of Sean Penn written by his close personal friend and travel companion, Douglas Brinkley, the accompanying pictures (Penn shoulder to shoulder with U.S. Army Lt. General Ken Keen, Assistant Alison Thompson eschewing World War I nurse’s costume for flower child attire adorned with adorable young Haitians, young white NGO’ers earnestly peering at their shiny Mac Powerbooks) made me wonder.  Are they already filming the movie of themselves?  I mean, as Brinkley points out, the set has been dressed, right?

“…a white, 60-by-20-foot wedding tent from the Dominican Republic…a crude roof over a patchwork of wooden floorboards, which he helped cobble together by hand…two rusty blade fans whirring to keep things cool…a single bulb – its lampshade fashioned from Chef Boyardee boxes – illuminating a long wooden table of bird-dropping white.  A forlorn bookshelf held a collection of dog-eared U.N.-regulation guides, accordian files, and browning bananas.  Down the length of one wall ran a corkboard lined with maps from the U.S. geological Survey: an army cartographer had handsomely re-christened one, changing the name from Pétionville to Pennville.  A calico cat named Guadalupe wandered among a collection of stethoscopes, tool kits, syringes, morphine, a photocopy machine – and a stash of Greek wine and Jack Daniel’s – giving the quarters the patina of M*A*S*H, with a touch of Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

Ezili Dantò, of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN), has done a masterful job of deconstructing the motivations and the actors behind Penn’s Bosnian/U.S.American NGO, JP/HRO. Dantò is fair, above all, giving Penn credit where credit is due, and calling out the rest of the nonsense by its proper name.  See Sean Penn and Wyclef Jean: Hollywood, Hip Hop and Haiti, excerpt below:

We’ve gone into cartoon land. The sideshow eclipses the living, breathing, suffering Haiti people enduring over 6-nightmarish years of US/US occupation and slaughters and NGO pillage never covered by the mainstream media. The election carnival is just beginning and has reduced, for the moment, the worst disaster in recorded human history to what actor Sean Penn has to say about hip hop rapper Wyclef Jean’s run to sit at the crumbled National Palace in Haiti! Elections under occupation? Neither are saying – krik, not a word, about that!

Colombia’s Uribe takes dictation one last time

Image courtesy http://www.borev.net

Colombia: Uribe’s Farewell Spectacle español

Atilio A. Boron

Translation: Machetera and Manuel Talens

Álvaro Uribe, the empire’s unconditional pawn, took his leave from the Colombian presidency with a new provocation: the denunciation of FARC camps which he claimed to be established on Venezuelan territory.  Being neither dimwitted nor lazy, the U.S. State Department came out in unconditional support of the accusation put forth by Bogotá at the Organization of American States (OAS), encouraged by the supposed “resounding” proof presented by Uribe, denouncing the government of Hugo Chávez for allowing the FARC camps to be set up and for carrying out various military training programs for some 1,500 guerrillas on Venezuelan soil.  With amazing insolence, Philip Crowley, the State Department spokesperson declared that Venezuela’s response [in terminating diplomatic relations with Colombia] was “unfortunate” and “petulant” and threatened that “if Venezuela fails to cooperate in whatever follow-on steps are made, the United States and other countries will obviously take account of that.”  It must be remembered that since 2006, the United States has included Venezuela in the list of countries that are unwilling to cooperate in the struggle against terrorism.  Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo Valenzuela issued a declaration along the same lines, saying that Uribe’s denunciation was “very serious.”  Both statements cast a heavy shadow of doubt about the intellectual capabilities of both officials and, what’s worse, feed the suspicion that with their fondness for lies, the moral caliber of both is not all that different from that of Álvaro Uribe. Continue reading