Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another huge scam coming up from capitalist banks and financial institutions: removal of mark to market accounting rules

Right now there is no interesting news regarding the ‘Cuba Issue.’ The same can not be said about the huge Wall Street financial bailout being proposed by the two major capitalist political parties.

They never stop trying to come up with new scams. It appears that the SEC is about to propose new rules to help capitalist bankers, who right now have billions of dollars in toxic mortgage assets in their books. Those mortgage assets, in many instances, are practically worthless.

Right now ‘mark to market’ Federal Accounting Statement Board #157 stipulates that assets have to be carried in the accounting books using the price which the asset would bring in the marketplace.

The capitalist sharpies in the SEC want to change the rule to a basically subjective rule. Based in what the SEC is proposing “firms can use management assumptions and other factors about 'future cash flows' to measure the value of an asset if no market exists.”

In other words: if the bank or financial institution has a toxic mortgage instrument which is not worth much money, management of the bank or financial institution could turn around and say “In ten years, I expect to make $100,000 from this asset.” Rather than being a worthless asset, the asset is now miraculously worth $100,000, merely because someone said so. This is the modern equivalent of turning lead into gold.

FASB rule 157 will automatically become the wishful thinking accounting rule."

Another huge scam being created by the ruling capitalist’s elites.

Money as Debt



Producer: Paul Grignon

Blackcourt Gets it!

Posted By: blackcourt (September 30, 2008 at 9:30 AM)

"Why is it a bad thing that these banks who made bad loans in the first place aren't able to make any more loans? I'm not seeing the downside here. Make them responsible for their actions instead of cleaning up after them and ensuring that the rich continue to be fed with the silver spoon. Let them feel what its like when they have to live like the rest of us."

JG: Blackcourt is 100% correct. Let those financial institutions in Wall Street and in banking be liquidated or go bankrupt. If you bail them out, the vicious circle will continue and one day you will wake up in the morning to see the following headline: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Let's Play Wall Street 'Bailout' -- NOT!

video

Roll Call for H.R. 3997

Roll Call 674. Click to see how your Congressman/Congresswoman voted.

An open email to my Congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives

You and your Republican Party have brought this upon the nation.

Speaker Pelosi was 100% correct when she blamed “a right-wing ideology of anything goes, no supervision, no discipline, no regulation."

That is what the GOP and George W. Bush push and defend, and that is what John McCain would continue.

If the nation is turning to socialist solutions, it is because of the excesses of “anything goes” capitalism. Yu and your party are responsible.

Knock! Knock!

Taxpayer: Who’s there?

Door Knockers: Our names are Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke, and we have an excellent product that we want to sell to you. May we come in to your living room?

Taxpayer: I am always willing to talk to anyone. Please, do come in. What is this product that you want to sell to me and who is the manufacturer?

Paulson and Bernanke: It is a wonderful product that was manufactured by our friends at Goldman Sachs and other financial companies in Wall Street.

Taxpayer: What is the product called, and how much does it cost?

Paulson and Bernanke: It is called “Toxic Mortgage Assets” and we can give you an excellent price: just $700 billion dollars. We can also give you some very good deals on “Credit Default Swaps.”

Taxpayer: Get out of here you bums!

Make those who created this mess PAY!

Enact a securities buy/sell transaction fee of $1.00 per share to pay for the greed of those who created this mess. DO NOT BURDEN THE TAXPAYERS. Make the Wall Street casino players pay!

U.S House defeats Wall Street bailout bill, H.R. 3997

The total vote was 228 votes against and 205 in favor.

This bill was a huge welfare check for the greed hogs of Wall Street. Let those companies who created this mess go bankrupt.

Start over again with a bill which will protect the interests of the taxpayer and the working class of the United States. Do not reward capitalist greed!

Source: C-Span

Xiamen King Long luxury buses exported to Cuba


The Auto Channel

Shanghai, September 26, 2008 (Gasgoo.com) On September 21, the 141 King Long (Golden Dragon) luxury buses made by Xiamen King Long Auto were loaded onto a freight ship at Xiamen Dongdu port. This is the first big batch of King Long buses exported to the Cuban market and also the biggest-ever order from South America for King Long buses, said a Xiamen newspaper.

The 141 King Long luxury buses exported to Cuba include six types, ranging from the 6-meter bus to the 12-meter one. To meet the needs of Cuban customers and the local conditions in the South American country, Xiamen King Long has improved much on many features of its current bus models, such as the medical kit box, carpet, audio system, baggage racks, and clothes cabinets, to make the bus more passenger-friendly. In addition, the King Long bus has anti-corrosive properties and can operate well in the humid, rainy Cuban climate.

Xiamen Jing Long has sent three employees to escort the 141 buses to Cuba. They will provide training to the local technicians and drivers on how to operate and drive the Jing Long buses. The Chinese bus maker is also preparing to set up a Jing Long bus components center in Cuba.

This year, Xiamen Jing Long buses have rolled into 10 emerging markets including Australia and Cuba, bringing the number of its export destinations to more than 50 countries and regions from the 40 of last year. From January to August, the export revenue of Xiamen Jing Long reached 900 million yuan ($132 million), exceeding the total of the whole year 2007.

For more information please visit http://www.gasgoo.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yes, but...

Yes…

Cuba, since the Revolution triumphed in January 1959, has done many commendable things:

1) The Yankees were kicked out and Cubans are today the masters of their own destinies. Cubans rule the island. The corrupt U.S. supported governing puppets are GONE! Cubans are not interested in importing Carlos Gutierrez.

2) They have a health care system that is among the best in the world.

3) If you want to better yourself, education, through the university level is available to all, at little or no cost.

But…

1) The centrally planned economy does not work very well.

2) Food production and distribution, after 50 years of Revolution, is still a problem.

3) It is extremely difficult to convince people throughout the world that a one party state can be labeled a democracy.

Cuba should continue to defend and improve the yeses, but it must also work on the buts.

The capitalist scam that brought down Wall Street: Credit Default Swaps

Click here to read the Newsweek article.

"So much of what's gone wrong with the financial system in the past year can be traced back to credit default swaps, which ballooned into a $62 trillion market."

How the Mob extended its influence from Florida to Cuba

Click here to read AP article.

"But it was the soft-spoken, even-tempered Santos Trafficante — known as the "Silent Don" — who put the mob on the map in Florida. He also became the most influential Mafia figure in Cuba, running hotels and casinos, buying up property and laundering money through the island before Fidel Castro came to power in 1959 and kicked him out."

JG: And the Cuban people, on January 1959 said: THANK YOU FIDEL!

US aid 'insults' Cuba

Nation News, Barbados

Published on: 9/28/08.

By Rickey Singh

IT IS perhaps typical of human nature that we often become so preoccupied with our own problems that we either overlook, or worse, exhibit no caring interest for those whose afflictions are by comparison quite terrible.

It's an attitude that cuts across race, class, nationality, neighbourhoods, and territorial boundaries.

For example, while the people of Trinidad and Tobago are calculating their additional cost of living from having to pay TT$1 (BDS 34 cents) more for a litre of premium gasolene, other citizens in this region are agonising over the horrendous consequences from hurricanes and tropical storms within a one-month period that have been particularly cruel to Haiti and Cuba.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and The Bahamas have also been affected, to various degrees.

A combination of hurricanes – Gustav and Ike, and tropical storms Fay and Hanna – have left a nightmare of death and destruction, huge dislocation of people, and billions of dollars in losses to Haiti and Cuba.

Exploitation

It is, therefore, quite disappointing that in the face of all the enormous losses and pain inflicted by natural disasters on these two countries, there are political and social organisations in a few CARICOM states that seek to exploit local domestic considerations by criticising relief aid being rushed to these people.

In contrast to such a negative, parochial attitude, Jamaica's quick responses to the disasters from hurricanes suffered by Cuba, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands, were quite inspirational.

The Bruce Golding administration was despatching emergency relief aid and sending technical personnel while still calculating their heavy losses that have since been placed at about US$206 million (JAM$15 billion) and a death toll of 13.

At the same time, the Trinidad and Tobago administration of Patrick Manning lost no time in releasing about US$4.02 million (TT$26 million) in cash assistance to Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica, while coping with the effects of flood waters at home from tropical storms.

For their part, CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington and Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Colin Granderson have provided a briefing to the Community's foreign ministers on their first-hand assessment of the immense suffering of the Haitian people following a visit last week to Haiti.

American response

In accordance with CARICOM's commitment to seek international assistance for Caribbean countries whenever seriously affected by natural disasters, the foreign ministers were expected to ascertain from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, American responses to countries in this region hit by the recent hurricanes and tropical storms.

However, given the hostile official American policy towards Cuba, it is doubtful that any attempt would have been made to raise with Rice the country's post-hurricane needs for humanitarian aid and economic rehabilitation.

More so, the Cuban government of President Raoul Castro has already rejected what it deemed a contemptuous initial response of some US$100 000 to be sent through non-government organisations, and an offer to send a team to make an assessment of the destruction and the level of assistance needed.

Cuba's dignity is not to be toyed with, declared its foreign ministry, by the George Bush administration's effort to propagandise "humanitarian concerns" with a token aid offer to that Caribbean nation, which is said to have suffered its worst devastation from hurricanes and tropical storms, totalling losses of about US$4 billion.

The lives of over three million Cubans, almost a quarter of the population, have been seriously disrupted by the hurricanes. In Haiti, at least one million people have been dislocated by the hurricanes and tropical storms, and are in dire need of emergency relief, including food, water and medicine. The death toll has been placed at about 800 and at least one million homeless.

The United Nations special envoy to Haiti, Hedi Annabi, said the Haitian authorities were clearly overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster facing the nation.

Yesterday, the CARICOM Secretariat was scheduled to formally hand over for shipping a 20-foot container with relief supplies for the people of Haiti. It was part of a coordinated multi-sectoral effort to mobilise technical assistance, relief supplies and financial resources for the Haitian people.

The Cuba we don't know

Sunday, September 28, 2008

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES


The Oregonian Staff

HAVANA -- Just 90 miles off the coast of Florida, Cuba once played the role of America's tropical playground. Ernest Hemingway wrote "The Old Man and the Sea" and six other novels on the outskirts of Havana, and Frank Sinatra rubbed elbows with the American mafia in Cuban casinos. Rich Americans drank mojitos in the mahogany-lined bars of the Hotel New York and the Hotel Nacional.

Yet the nearly 50-year U.S. economic and travel embargo against Cuba makes it illegal for most Americans to visit this island nation of 11 million people and, for many, relegates it to an afterthought outside of hurricane season.

Much of what we do know comes from the U.S. government -- which is actively working to overthrow Fidel Castro's (and now his brother Raul's) regime -- and the few American journalists there. We know the story well: Cuba is poor. Cuba is communist. Cuba violates human rights and represses dissent.

This summer I traveled to Cuba with six journalists, documenting the experiences of the African diaspora in the Western Hemisphere for the Institute for Advanced Journalism Studies in North Carolina.

While there, I found a Cuba you may not know. A Cuba with a 99.8 percent literacy rate, the lowest HIV infection rate in the Western Hemisphere, free college and health care.

We arrived on a Sunday afternoon under a golden-hot Caribbean sun. Within minutes of leaving the airport, it became obvious how deeply the Cuban identity is connected to what it sees as U.S. aggression.

Along the scenic Malecon, a walkway that stretches along Havana Bay, 168 soaring black flags commemorate Cuban lives lost during the Cold War conflict with the United States. Posters, billboards and photos commemorating the Cuban Five, a group of men the Cuban government believe are wrongfully held as terrorists in the United States, pop up on the walls of ritzy restaurants, in newspaper articles and middle-school classrooms.

Talks with Cubans -- both officials and common folks -- reveal a scrappy pride forged by a half-century of this tiny, Third World nation fending off the will of its superpower neighbor.

Cubans may not believe in everything the revolution stands for, nor agree with all of their government's policies. But no one likes to feel bullied. Cuban officials like to point out, often, that America has strong ties with many nations with pitiful human rights track records -- including China and Saudi Arabia, to name just two.

The sense of unfairness, Havana University history professor Digna Castaneda Fuertes says, only provokes Cubans' rebellious nature. It manifests in what Cuba has accomplished, through socialism and despite poverty, that the United States hasn't.

"The U.S. cannot forgive us for having this revolution," Castaneda says with a wry smile. "All 50 years of the revolution have not been for nothing."

A crushing U.S. embargo has ensured Cuba's low per capita income and crumbling infrastructure. Yet, Cuba boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world. As in the United States, some Cuban children attend schools with tidy grounds and gleaming floors, while others sit at decaying desks in sagging buildings. There are no more than 20 students to a teacher, and more than 600 rural schools with five students or fewer.

Education is the cornerstone of the revolution. Nearly everywhere among the magnificent Havana architecture signs speak of equality and liberation through education. "An illiterate person is a person prevented from developing his human condition," Jorge Gonzales Corona, assessor for the Ministry of Education, told us.

When Castro took power, fewer than one-quarter of Cubans were literate. Many couldn't afford school. One of Castro's first acts was to universalize education. He disbanded school for a year and sent everyone with a sixth-grade education or greater -- even students -- throughout the country to teach others. Today, 60 percent of Cubans ages 17 to 24 attend higher education, Corona says.

But he is not afraid to criticize the system, as well. Within the Ministry of Education, a faded and worn Soviet-style building with no air in the lobby to shoo the midday heat, Corona jokes that the story of education across the globe is the same: It's always underfunded.

Schools and teacher pay were neglected as Cuba's economy struggled after the Soviet Union's collapse, he says. Many kids dropped out of school to help their families. Yet as its economy improved in recent years, Cuba launched a program to pay dropouts to return to school.

Cuba's universal health care system is seen by many as a world model. Neighborhood clinics and municipal hospitals provide free treatment, including laser vision correction and cosmetic surgery to fix deformities. HIV and AIDS drugs cost nothing. Most clinics make do with outdated equipment and a shortage of supplies. Yet the country has a higher ratio of doctors to patients than the U.S., and Cubans live longer than we do.

The country's HIV infection rate is lower than anywhere else on our side of the planet. Cuba's nonpuritanical view of sex is key. Sex education begins in elementary schools, and AIDS-prevention posters geared toward both heterosexuals and homosexuals are tacked to the walls of a middle school classroom we visited. Contraception is free, and a new Cuban television show features a character with AIDS.

Cubans also have exported 26,000 of their doctors to help poor communities in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. And after hurricanes slammed Central America in the late 1990s, Cuba founded the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, where it provides free medical school to students from poor communities in other countries.

I met some of these 14,000 foreign medical students from 23 nations and was shocked to learn that about 110 are from poor communities here in the United States. One such student was Joaquin Morante. He's talented and smart and comes from the Bronx. Without Cuba, he says, he couldn't have pursued his dream of medical school.

Cuba offers 250 scholarships a year to U.S. students, who get a free medical education, room and board, and a stipend. They must repay Cuba by working in a public clinic at home for two years.

I asked Hernanda Casan, the deputy director of the Latin American School of Medicine, why Cuba would give free education to students from the U.S., a wealthy nation with no diplomatic relations with her own.

She smiled. "Our country is poor, but rich in human resources," she said. "We have students from the U.S. coming from the poorest communities, so Cuba opened our doors to them."

Cubans -- most of whom have some African ancestry -- feel a kinship with communities of color in the United States and around the globe. Across Havana, exquisite monuments honor Latin American and Caribbean patriots Simon Bolivar and Antonio Maceo. Marble planks at a Havana park named for Martin Luther King Jr. commemorate King, Malcolm X, and the slave insurrection leaders Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner.

Black Cubans especially are wary of outsiders wishing to overthrow the Castro regime. They admit the revolution has been imperfect, but it also led to the end of codified racism and brought universal education and access to jobs to black Cubans. Without the revolution, they wonder, where would they be?

We journalists had a great deal of freedom to travel through Havana -- no handlers, no monitors. We could see that Cuba is not the great evil we are led to believe. Still, life is difficult for many Cubans.

Too often we saw beautiful young girls on the arms of much older, male European tourists. The government subsidizes Cubans' incomes with rent programs, food staples and other commodities. But imported items, such as soap and toothpaste, are too expensive for many Cubans to afford if they don't supplement their income in some other way.

One night, while mingling with the Cubans who flock to the Malecon on hot nights to cool off and socialize, we met a young man who bemoaned the racism he felt as a black Cuban. And the measly salary he earns as a security guard that prevents him from buying beer for friends or helping his mother patch the hole in her roof.

"In Cuba, I am spoiling my youth because (we) have no future, just the same monotony," he said, looking nervously over his shoulder. "I am afraid to talk about that."

But even this belies easy characterization. The poor in our country tell similar tales. In this regard, the Cuba you may not know offers a lesson. No nation produces only evils. No nation, only good. The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is a staff reporter at The Oregonian. Reach her at: 503-221-4316 or nhannahjones@news.oregonian.com

Do not reward the party that has destroyed the USA

On Friday's debate Americans found out that McSame is not in favor of defending the interests of the middle class. His top constituents are the big corporations and the filthy rich.

Do not vote for more of the same.

OBAMA 08!

The failure of Capitalist ‘Markets’

Congressional negotiators announced today a tentative agreement to save American Capitalism from itself and the greed hogs of Wall Street.

It is a historic day. Because they are based on greed and frauds, the so called ‘markets’ of Capitalism have failed the American people. The witch is dead.

Onwards towards American Socialism!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Do we want a crook as our next president?

Los Angeles Times

Keating Five ring a bell?

By Rosa Brooks

September 25, 2008

Once upon a time, a politician took campaign contributions and favors from a friendly constituent who happened to run a savings and loan association. The contributions were generous: They came to about $200,000 in today's dollars, and on top of that there were several free vacations for the politician and his family, along with private jet trips and other perks. The politician voted repeatedly against congressional efforts to tighten regulation of S&Ls, and in 1987, when he learned that his constituent's S&L was the target of a federal investigation, he met with regulators in an effort to get them to back off.

That politician was John McCain, and his generous friend was Charles Keating, head of Lincoln Savings & Loan. While he was courting McCain and other senators and urging them to oppose tougher regulation of S&Ls, Keating was also investing his depositors' federally insured savings in risky ventures. When those lost money, Keating tried to hide the losses from regulators by inducing his customers to switch from insured accounts to uninsured (and worthless) bonds issued by Lincoln's near-bankrupt parent company. In 1989, it went belly up -- and more than 20,000 Lincoln customers saw their savings vanish.

Keating went to prison, and McCain's Senate career almost ended. Together with the rest of the so-called Keating Five -- Sens. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.), John Glenn (D-Ohio), Don Riegle (D-Mich.) and Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.), all of whom had also accepted large donations from Keating and intervened on his behalf -- McCain was investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee and ultimately reprimanded for "poor judgment."

But the savings and loan crisis mushroomed. Eventually, the government spent about $125 billion in taxpayer dollars to bail out hundreds of failed S&Ls that, like Keating's, fell victim to a combination of private-sector greed and the "poor judgment" of politicians like McCain.

The $125 billion seems like small change compared to the $700-billion price tag for the Bush administration's proposed Wall Street bailout. But the root causes of both crises are the same: a lethal mix of deregulation and greed.

Today's meltdown began when unscrupulous mortgage lenders pushed naive borrowers to sign up for loans they couldn't afford to pay back. The original lenders didn't care: They pocketed the upfront fees and quickly sold the loans to others, who sold them to others still. With the government MIA, soon mortgage-backed securities were zipping around the globe. But by the time many ordinary people began to struggle to make their mortgage payments, the numerous "good" loans (held by borrowers able to pay) had gotten hopelessly mixed up with the bad loans. Investors and banks started to panic about being left with the hot potato -- securities backed mainly by worthless loans. And so began the downward spiral of a credit crunch, short-selling, stock sell-offs and bankruptcies.

Could all this have been prevented? Sure. It's not rocket science: A sensible package of regulatory reforms -- like those Barack Obama has been pushing since well before the current meltdown began -- could have kept this most recent crisis from escalating, just as maintaining reasonable regulatory regimes for S&Ls in the '80s could have prevented that crisis (McCain learned this the hard way).

But, despite his political near-death experience as a member of the Keating Five, McCain continued to champion deregulation, voting in 2000, for instance, against federal regulation of the kind of financial derivatives at the heart of today's crisis.

Shades of the Keating Five scandal don't end there. This week, for instance, news broke that until August, the lobbying firm owned by McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was paid $15,000 a month by Freddie Mac, one of the mortgage giants implicated in the current crisis (now taken over by the government and under investigation by the FBI). Apparently, Freddie Mac's plan was to gain influence with McCain's campaign in hopes that he would help shield it from pesky government regulations. And until very recently, Freddie Mac executives probably figured money paid to Davis' firm was money well spent. "I'm always in favor of less regulation," McCain told the Wall Street Journal in March.

These days, McCain is singing a different tune.

"There are no atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week, explaining the sudden mass conversion of so many onetime free marketeers into champions of robust government intervention. Fair enough. But as you try to figure out what and who can get us out of this mess, beware of those who now embrace regulation with the fervor of new converts.

rbrooks@latimescolumnists.com

Richard Clarke: Cuba Not a State Sponsor of Terror


Richard Clarke/AP

A very interesting article by Patrick Doherty

at

The Havana Note.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Of course, just about everybody knows that the myth propagated by the State Department's Condoleezza Rice and her Miami gusano buddies is only an invention of their feeble minds.

Cuba and Brazil Sign Important Cooperation Agreements

HAVANA, Cuba, Sept 25 ACN) The VIII Cuba-Brazil Technical Cooperation Task Group Meeting wrapped up in this city, with the signing of important collaboration accords in scientific and technological fields.

Andréia Rigueira, general director of the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) presided over the Brazilian delegation while the host group was headed by Orlando Requeijo Gual, Cuba’s Foreign Investment and Collaboration deputy Minister. Both parties signed agreements on agriculture, water resources, fish cultivation and fishing, public finances, environment, meteorology and quality, geology and mining, health and IT.

Requiejo labeled as a very important the stage bilateral relations are, and stressed his satisfaction on the results and predicted new advances on the relationships. Meantime, the Brazilian official highlighted the strengthening of the bilateral relationships that are gradually increasing, and she said Brazilians consider this cooperation as very rich and profitable for both sides. Brazil has become the second business partner in Latin America and the Caribbean, surpassing the 450 million dollars commercial exchange in 2007 between the two nations.

Victimizers disguised in victim's clothing

Alberto N. Jones
September 27, 2008

Historians will record the hurricane season of the year 2008, as one of the most violent in recent history. So far it has ravished Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Turk and Caicos islands, the Bahamas, Texas and partially obliterated Cuba and Haiti.

Generous, compassionate and humanitarian individuals and governments from around the world, are expressing their condolences and sending a variety of donations, albeit insufficient, in an honest effort to mitigate the pain and suffering of millions of its victims across the Caribbean.

Sadly, it is not those distant countries with different culture as Timor Leste, Viet Nam, Russia or our culturally close neighbors in Brazil, Honduras or Trinidad and Tobago who are unresponsive to our pain and against helping the Cuban people. Ironically, it is the most powerful government on earth, our closest neighbor and the refuge and largest incubator of Cuba haters in the world.

During Cuba’s fifty year struggle for its independence, many Cubans sided with the oppressive occupying Spanish forces, by using their intellect to write d ivisive books, newspaper articles or by giving speeches geared to weaken or destroy the Cuban Revolutionary Party and the Army of Independence. Indeed, some known as “guerrilleros” actually fought alongside the Spanish Army.

Likewise, after the pseudo republic was created in 1902 with hundreds of strings attached and the country’s sovereignty safely locked-up in a safe of the US Department of State, hundreds of Cubans lackey known as “Apapipios, Vendepatria, Sicarios” etc., became the enforcers of the orders coming from the new master.

After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959, this same teratologic breed re-emerged as Cuban-Americans disguised as victims of a monstrous oppression, rapidly mutating into Freedom Fighters who have committed the most horrendous acts of terrorism in this hemisphere, while others became legislators, members of the US Congress, Senate, Commerce Department, political appointees, educators, businessperson or clergy, united by a common goal of destroying their country of origin.

Most reasonable people would assume, that in face of the massive destruction in the region, these individuals would be in the forefront of the battle, using their wealth, position of authority or political connection, to obtain a commensurate response from their government. Tragically, they have chosen to enga ge in endless diatribe, press releases, do nothing and in the case of Cuba, a disgraceful attempt to blackmail its people, bring them to their knees, have them cry uncle and ask for forgiveness.

In these challenging times with millions of people in the region who have seen their homes blown away, are exposed to an oppressive environment with limited amount of food, water, medicine, clothing, schools, health care or crops, should we not raise our voices in unison and demand the immediate return of thousands of pieces of priceless arts stolen from Cuba, proudly displayed in the Museum of Arts and Science in Daytona Beach, tens of galleries in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Houston, corporate buildings and private homes of the rich and famous and many, many other places in this country and around the world.

Should our moralizing personalities, political leaders and law enforcement not demand, collect and auction-off in the public square all of these ill-gotten patrimony of our region and use these fund to restore the broken lives of so many?

How much longer will society allow that these international crooks under the guise of being rich, educated, cultured or being politically connected, continue to loot and deprive the weak and poor of their art, culture and heritage, only to satisfy their=2 0ego or vanity.

Holding unto, hiding, selling or destroying these valuable pieces of arts in the hand of vulgar traffickers in stolen goods, should constitute a major crime, severely punished by law and society.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Is the Wall Street bailout the audacity of dopes?

Title III of the infamous Helms-Burton Act

JG: The infamous Helms-Burton Act was signed into law in 1996 because then president Bill Clinton prostituted himself by jumping into bed with the most reactionary of right wing U.S. Senators: Jesse Helms (R-NC).

Non JG Report:

Title III of the 1996 Helms-Burton law, sponsored by the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms and Rep. Dan Burton, allowed Americans to sue people or companies who use Cuban property seized after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution.

But no lawsuits have been filed because U.S. presidents — first Clinton, then Bush — have subsequently waived enforcement of Title III every six months.

Cuban-American groups oppose the waiver, but the European Union supports it, calling the law a U.S. attempt to impose its anti-Cuba policy on other nations.

Anita Snow
AP Chief of Bureau
Havana

John McCain shows more poor judgment

At a time when the financial affairs of the United States are in really bad shape, the presidential candidate of the Republican Party chose yesterday to get in the middle and torpedo the TARP negotiations that were going on in Washington, D.C.

He showed poor judgment in the 1980’s as a prominent member of the Keating Five and he showed more poor judgment yesterday.

Would you buy a used car from this guy? He does not deserve the keys to the White House.

Democrats blame McCain for bailout deal breakdown

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kanganba to premier in Cuba in October

Kanganba, a film produced by Rogelio París, will premiere this coming October 2nd on 271 movie houses in Cuba. The film is a joint production of the Cuban Institute of Art and the Cinematographic Industry (ICAIC, by its acronym in Spanish) and the Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

The film chronicles the internationalist efforts of Cuba in Angola during the 1980’s when volunteers from the island battled the armed forces of apartheid South Africa during their failed intervention in the Angola civil war.

The film concentrates on the battle for Kanganba.

After the decisive victory by Cuban and Angolan forces at the battle of Cuito Cuanavale, the South Africans withdrew from Angola. A few years later, apartheid would crumble and Nelson Mandela would be elected president of a truly free South Africa.

Hugo Chavez: I met a 'strong' Fidel

Press TV

Tue, 23 Sep 2008 16:10:32 GMT

Fidel Castro is 'strong', says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who has met the former Cuban leader on the first leg of his 5-nation tour.

“We stopped in Havana first and I talked with Fidel for a while, a good while. Fidel is strong, you know,” Chavez told journalists on Tuesday at the start of a visit to China, his second stop on a world tour, reported Reuters.

“We walked...we analyzed the situation in the world, in Latin America. And the situation in the United States, which is so terrible not only for their people but for the whole world -- the collapse of the international financial system.”

More...

Address by the head of the Cuban delegation to the general debate of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York

Granma

Translation of the speech of the first Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers of the Republic of Cuba, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, to the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 24, 2008.

Mr. President:

We are living a decisive moment in the history of humankind. The threats looming over the world put the very existence of the human species at risk.

The promotion of peace, solidarity, social justice and sustainable development is the only WAY to ensure the future. The prevailing world order, unjust and unsustainable, must be repjavascript:void(0)laced by a new system that is truly democratic and equitable, based on respect for International Law and on the principles of solidarity and justice, putting an end to the inequalities and exclusion to which the great majorities of the population of our planet have been condemned.

There are no alternatives. Those responsible for this state of affairs, the industrialized nations and, in particular, the sole superpower, have to accept their responsibilities. Fabulous fortunes cannot continue to be wasted while millions of human beings are starving and dying of curable diseases. It is not possible to keep on polluting the air and poisoning the oceans; this destroys the living conditions of our future generations. Neither the peoples nor the planet itself will permit this without great social upheaval and extremely serious natural disasters.

Mr. President:

The wars of conquest, the aggression and illegal occupation of countries, military intervention and the bombing of innocent civilians, the unbridled arms race, the pillage and usurping of the Third World’s natural resources and the imperial offensive to crush the resistance of the peoples who are defending their rights, constitute the greatest and most serious threats to peace and international security.

Concepts such as limitation of sovereignty, pre-emptive war or regime change, are an expression of the desire to mutilate the independence of our countries.

The so-called war on terrorism or the false promotion of their freedoms, are an excuse for aggression and military occupation, for torture, arbitrary arrests and the denial of the right of self-determination of peoples, for unfair blockades and unilaterally imposed sanctions, for the imposition of political, economic and social models that facilitate imperial domination, in open disdain for history, cultures and the sovereign will of the peoples.

The gap between the rich and the poor widens with every passing day. The very modest Millennium Development Goals constitute an unreachable dream for the vast majority.

While a trillion of dollars is spent on weapons in the world, more than 850 million human beings are starving; a 1.1 billion people don’t have access to drinking water, 2.6 billion lack sewage services and more than 800 million are illiterate.

More than 640 million children lack adequate housing, 115 million do not attend primary school and 10 million die before the age of five, in most cases as the result of diseases that can be cured.

The populations of the South are suffering with increasing frequency from natural disasters, whose consequences have been aggravated by climate change. Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba and other Caribbean countries are examples of that. Let us make a plea for solidarity especially for our sister country of Haiti as it faces its dramatic situation.

The rise in oil prices is the result of irrational consumption, strong speculation and imperial war adventures. The desperate search for new sources of energy has pushed the criminal strategy driven by the United States government to transform grains and cereals into fuel.

Mr. President:

For a large part of the Non-Aligned countries, the situation is becoming unsustainable. Our nations have paid, and they will continue to pay the cost and the consequences of the irrationality, wastefulness and speculation of a few countries in the industrialized North who are responsible for the world food crisis. They imposed trade liberalization and the financial prescriptions of structural adjustment on the developing countries. They caused the ruin of many small producers; they denied, and in some cases destroyed, emerging agricultural development in the countries of the South, turning them into net food importing countries.

They are the ones who maintain obscene agricultural subsidies, while they force their rules on international trade. They set prices, monopolize technologies, impose unfair certifications and manipulate the distribution channels, the financing sources and trade. They control transportation, scientific research, genetic banks and the production of fertilizers and pesticides.

Mr. President:

We have not come here to complain. We have come, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned countries, to demand and defend the vindication of thousands of millions of human beings who claim justice and their rights.

The formula is not difficult nor does it require great sacrifices. All we need is the necessary political will, less egotism and the objective understanding that if we do not act today, the consequences could be apocalyptic and would affect the rich and poor alike. For this reason, Cuba once again calls on the governments of the developed countries, on behalf of the Movement of Non-Aligned countries, to honor their commitments and, in particular, Cuba urges them to:

* Put an end to the wars of occupation and to the plunder of the resources of the Third World countries and to free up at least a part of their millions in military spending to direct those resources towards international assistance for the benefit of sustanable development.

* Cancel the foreign debt of developing countries since it has been already paid more than once, and with this, additional resources would be released that could be channeled to economic development and social programs.

* Honor the commitment of directing at least 0.7% of the Gross Domestic Product for Official Development Assistance, unconditionally, so that the South countries would be able to use those resources for their national priorities and promote access of poor countries to substantial sums of fresh financing.

* Direct one-fourth of the money that is squandered each year on commercial advertising to food production; this would free up almost 250 billion additional dollars to fight hunger and malnutrition.

* Direct the money being used for the North’s agricultural subsidies to agricultural development in the South. By doing this, our countries would have about a billion dollars per day available to invest in food production.

* Comply with the Kyoto Protocol commitments and set commitments to reduce emissions more generously starting in 2012, without wanting to increase restrictions for countries that, even today, maintain per capita emission levels that are much lower than those of the North countries’.

* Promote the access of the Third World to technologies and support the training of their human resources. Today, in contrast, qualified personnel from the South are subjected to unfair competition and incentives presented by discriminatory and selective migratory policies applied by the United States and Europe.

* And something that is today more urgent than ever, the establishment of a democratic and equitable international order, and a fair and transparent trading system where all States will participate, in sovereignty, in the decisions that affect them.

Moreover, it is our deepest belief that solidarity between peoples and governments is possible. In Latin America and the Caribbean, ALBA and PETROCARIBE have demonstrated this.

Mr. President:

The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has remained faithful to its founding principles.

We support the cause of the Palestinian people and their inalienable right to self-determination in an independent and sovereign State, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

We support the cause of all those other peoples whose sovereignty and territorial integrity is being threatened, like Venezuela and Bolivia, and we endorse the right of Puerto Rico to be independent.

We condemn the imposition of unilateral coercive measures in violation of International Law, and attempts to implant a single model for a political, economic and social system. We object to the negative practices of certifying countries according to the patterns and interests of the powerful. We strongly oppose political manipulation and the application of double standards in the matter of human rights, and we reject the selective imposition of politically motivated resolutions against the member countries of the Movement.

The establishment of the Human Rights Council gives us the opportunity to open up a new era in the promotion and protection of all human rights for all, on the basis of international cooperation and constructive dialogue. Those who caused the demise of the old Human Rights Commission are now trying to disqualify the Council because they have not been able to bend it to serve their own self interests. They refuse to participate in its work to escape the scrutiny of the international community in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism.

The legitimacy of the Council does not depend on the perception that the Empire has about its work, but on its capacity to discharge its mandate with the strictest adherence to the principles of universality, objectivity, impartiality and non selectivity in the treatment of human rights issues.

The Movement of Non-Aligned Countries will continue to defend the interests of the Third World and promote the building of a world which is more just, more democratic and with more solidarity.

Mr. President:

Cuba has had to pay a very high price for the defense of its independence and sovereignty.

The heroic people of Cuba have endured the longest and cruelest blockade in history, imposed by the most powerful nation on Earth. Despite the fact that this Assembly has repeatedly and resoundingly pronounced itself in favor of ending this genocidal policy, the United States government has not only ignored the will of the international community, but in marked disregard of the same, has gradually intensified its economic war against Cuba.

Never has the foreign policy against a country been armed with such a broad and sophisticated arsenal of aggressive measures in the political, economic, cultural, diplomatic, military, psychological and ideological domain.

Cuba has just been lashed by two intense hurricanes which have devastated its agriculture and seriously affected part of its infrastructure and damaged or destroyed more than 400,000 homes.

Allow me to take advantage of this opportunity, on behalf of the Cuban government and people, to thank all those countries, organizations and persons who in one way or another have honestly and sincerely contributed with resources or moral support to the reconstruction efforts undertaken by my country.

That stands in contrast with the position of the United States government which continues to ruthlessly apply their blockade.

Cuba has asked for no gifts from the United States government. It has simply asked and asked again that it be allowed to purchase in the United States the materials that are indispensable for the reconstruction of homes and power grid and that US companies be authorized to grant Cuba private commercial credits to buy food. The answer has been negative, and it has been accompanied with an attempt to manipulate information in such a manner that the government of the United States seems to be concerned for the wellbeing of the Cuban people while the government of Cuba is perceived to be turning down their offer.

If the United States were really so concerned for the Cuban people, the only moral and ethical behavior would be to lift the blockade imposed on Cuba for the last five decades, in violation of the most elemental rules of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations .

This irrational policy has a clear aim: to destroy the process of profound revolutionary transformations undertaken by the Cuban people from 1959, in other words, trampling on its right to self-determination, wresting away its freedom and its political, economic and social conquests and plunging it backwards to its former neocolonial status.

The Bush administration intends to justify the intensification of its policy against Cuba by turning once more to fraud and deceit, with the cynicism and hypocrisy that characterizes it. Its determination to dominate and re-colonize Cuba is being presented, no less, like an endeavor to liberate and democratize.

Who, other than its accomplices, recognizes that the United States government has any authority in this world in the matter of democracy and human rights? What authority would such a government claim, one that hunts down and cruelly mistreats the illegal migrants at its southern border, that legalizes the use of torture and keeps in concentration camps, such as the one installed in the territory illegally occupied by the U.S. base at Guantánamo, people who have not been proved of or even charged with any crime?

What respect is due to a government that attacks the sovereignty of other States using the excuse of the fight against terrorism, while at the same time guaranteeing impunity to anti-Cuban terrorists?

What kind of justice can be promoted by an administration that illegally keeps imprisoned five Cuban patriots who were only seeking information to prevent the actions of the terrorist groups operating against Cuba from the United States?

Mr. President:

Cuba appreciates the solidarity which it has received from this General Assembly in its fight against the blockade and the aggressions which it has had to confront for almost five decades.

Cuba reaffirms its unyielding decision to defend its sovereignty and independence.

Cuba reaffirms its will to carry on, together with members of the Movement for Non-Aligned Countries, in the battle for a better world, where the rights of all peoples for justice and development are respected.

To conclude I would like to recall the words of the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, comrade Fidel Castro Ruz: "A world without hunger is possible (…) A just world is possible. A new world, which our species eminently deserves, is possible and will become reality".

Thank you very much.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

H.R. 6962, The Humanitarian Relief to Cuba Act

Six days ago, H.R. 6962, The Humanitarian Relief to Cuba Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Mr. DELAHUNT (for himself, Mr. FLAKE, Mr. BERMAN, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. LAHOOD, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. MORAN of Kansas, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. PAUL, Mr. FARR, Ms. HARMAN, and Mr. MEEKS of New York.

The bill, if enacted by Congress will:

SEC. 2. EASING OF RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVEL TO CUBA FOR A PERIOD OF 180 DAYS.

For the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of [H.R. 6962], the President may not prohibit or regulate, directly or indirectly--

(A) travel to or from Cuba by United States citizens or any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States with family currently residing in Cuba;

or

(B) any of the transactions incident to such travel.

SEC. 3. EASING RESTRICTIONS ON REMITTANCES FOR A PERIOD OF 180 DAYS.

For the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury may not limit the amount of remittances to Cuba that may be made by any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and the Secretary shall rescind, for such 180-day period, all regulations in effect on the date of enactment of this Act that so limit the amount of those remittances.

SEC. 4. EASING RESTRICTIONS ON GIFT OR RELIEF PACKAGES FOR 180 DAYS.

For the 180-day period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the President may not limit the size, quantity or frequency, or the carrying, transporting or shipping of personal gift items and relief supplies (not for sale or resale) that are eligible to be shipped through existing or new mechanisms established expressly for the delivery of such packages. Such items and supplies may be sent to Cuba by any person who is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States and the President shall rescind, for such 180-day period, all regulations in effect on the date of the enactment of this Act that so limit such items.

------

JG: I urge all those who want to reform the Policies of Hate of the Bush Administration to write to their Congressman or Congresswoman and urge them to cosponsor and/or support H.R. 6962.

In Spanish: Cuba's Vice President Speech at the U.N. General Assembly

Juventud Rebelde

Intervención del primer vicepresidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros de la República de Cuba, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, en el debate general del 63 período de sesiones de la asamblea general de las Naciones Unidas. Nueva York, 24 septiembre de 2008 16:24:36 GMT


Sr. Presidente:

Vivimos un momento decisivo en la historia de la humanidad. Las amenazas que se ciernen sobre el mundo atentan contra la propia existencia de la especie humana.

La promoción de la paz, la solidaridad, la justicia social y el desarrollo sostenible es el único camino para asegurar el futuro. El orden internacional vigente, injusto e insostenible, debe ser sustituido por un nuevo sistema verdaderamente democrático y equitativo, que se fundamente en el respeto al Derecho Internacional y en principios de solidaridad y justicia, poniendo fin a las desigualdades y a la exclusión a las que han sido condenadas las amplias mayorías de la población de nuestro planeta.

No existen alternativas. Los responsables de este estado de cosas, los países industrializados y, en particular, la única superpotencia, deben asumir sus responsabilidades. No se pueden seguir derrochando fabulosas fortunas mientras millones de seres humanos padecen hambre y mueren de enfermedades curables. No es posible seguir contaminando el aire y envenenando los mares, lo que destruye las condiciones de vida para las generaciones futuras. Ni los pueblos ni el propio planeta lo permitirán sin grandes convulsiones sociales y gravísimos desastres naturales.

Sr. Presidente:

Las guerras de conquista, la agresión y ocupación ilegal de países, la intervención militar y el bombardeo a civiles inocentes, el armamentismo desenfrenado, el saqueo y usurpación de los recursos naturales del Tercer Mundo y la ofensiva imperial para doblegar la resistencia de los pueblos que defienden sus derechos, constituyen las mayores y más graves amenazas a la paz y la seguridad internacional.

Conceptos como los de limitación de soberanía, guerra preventiva o cambio de régimen, son expresión de la pretensión de mutilar la independencia de nuestros países.

El supuesto combate al terrorismo o la pretendida promoción de las libertades, sirven de pretexto a la agresión y la ocupación militar, a la tortura, la detención arbitraria y la negación de la libre determinación de los pueblos, a injustos bloqueos y sanciones impuestas unilateralmente, a la imposición de modelos políticos, económicos y sociales que faciliten la dominación imperial, en franco desprecio a la historia, las culturas y la voluntad soberana de los pueblos.

Cada día se profundiza más el abismo entre ricos y pobres. Los muy modestos Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio constituyen un sueño irrealizable para las amplias mayorías.

Mientras que en el mundo se gasta un millón de millones de dólares en armas, más de 850 millones de seres humanos padecen hambre; mil cien millones de personas no tienen acceso a agua potable, 2 mil 600 millones carecen de servicios de saneamiento y más de 800 millones son analfabetas.

Más de 640 millones de niños carecen de vivienda adecuada, 115 millones no van a la escuela primaria y 10 millones perecen antes de cumplir 5 años de edad, en la mayoría de los casos como consecuencia de enfermedades que pueden ser curadas.

Las poblaciones de los países del Sur sufren cada vez con mayor frecuencia los desastres naturales, cuyas consecuencias se han visto agravadas por el cambio climático. Haití, Jamaica, Cuba y otros países del Caribe son ejemplo de ello. Hacemos, en especial, un llamado a la solidaridad con el hermano pueblo de Haití ante su dramática situación.

El crecimiento de los precios del petróleo es resultado del consumo irracional, la fuerte actividad especulativa y las aventuras bélicas imperiales. La desesperada búsqueda de nuevas fuentes de energía ha empujado la criminal estrategia impulsada por el gobierno de Estados Unidos de convertir granos y cereales en combustibles.

Sr. Presidente:

Para una buena parte de los países No Alineados la situación se torna insostenible. Nuestras naciones han pagado y tendrán que continuar pagando el costo y las consecuencias de la irracionalidad, el derroche y la especulación de unos pocos países en el Norte industrializado, que son los responsables de la crisis alimentaria mundial. Impusieron la liberalización comercial y las recetas financieras de ajuste estructural a los países en desarrollo. Provocaron la ruina de muchos pequeños productores; negaron, y en algunos casos destruyeron, el desarrollo agrícola incipiente de países del Sur, convirtiéndolos en importadores netos de alimentos.

Son los que mantienen escandalosos subsidios agrícolas, mientras imponen sus reglas al comercio internacional. Establecen precios, monopolizan tecnologías, imponen injustas certificaciones y manipulan los canales de distribución, las fuentes de financiamiento y el comercio. Controlan el transporte, la investigación científica, los fondos genéticos y la producción de fertilizantes y plaguicidas.

Sr. Presidente:

No hemos venido aquí a lamentarnos. Hemos venido, a nombre del Movimiento de Países No Alineados, a exigir y defender las reivindicaciones de miles de millones de seres humanos que reclaman justicia y sus derechos.

La fórmula no es difícil ni requiere de grandes sacrificios. Se precisa sólo la voluntad política necesaria, menos egoísmo y una comprensión objetiva de que si no actuamos hoy, las consecuencias podrían ser apocalípticas y afectarían también a los ricos y poderosos.

Es por ello que Cuba llama una vez más a los gobiernos de los países desarrollados, a nombre del Movimiento de Países No Alineados, al cumplimiento de sus compromisos y, en particular, los insta a:

- Poner fin a las guerras de ocupación y al saqueo de los recursos de los países del Tercer Mundo y liberar al menos una parte de sus millonarios gastos militares, para destinar esos recursos a la asistencia internacional en beneficio del desarrollo sostenible.

- Condonar la deuda externa de los países en desarrollo, que ya se ha pagado más de una vez, con lo cual se liberarían recursos adicionales que podrían dedicarse al desarrollo económico y los programas sociales.

- Honrar el compromiso de destinar al menos el 0.7 % del Producto Interno Bruto para la Asistencia Oficial al Desarrollo, sin condicionalidades, para que los países del Sur dispongan de esos recursos en función de sus prioridades nacionales y promover el acceso de los países pobres a montos sustanciales de financiamiento fresco.

- Destinar a la producción de alimentos una cuarta parte del dinero que cada año se derrocha en publicidad comercial, lo cual posibilitaría contar con casi 250 mil millones de dólares adicionales para combatir el hambre y la desnutrición.

- Destinar al desarrollo agropecuario en el Sur, el dinero que se utiliza para subsidios agrícolas en el Norte. Con ello, nuestros países dispondrían de alrededor de mil millones de dólares diarios para invertir en la producción de alimentos.

- Cumplir con los compromisos del Protocolo de Kyoto y fijar compromisos de reducción de emisiones más ambiciosos a partir del 2012, sin pretender que se amplíen las restricciones para países que, aún hoy, mantienen niveles de emisión per cápita muy inferiores a los de los países del Norte.

- Promover el acceso del Tercer Mundo a las tecnologías y apoyar la capacitación de sus recursos humanos. Hoy, por el contrario, el personal calificado del Sur es sometido a la competencia desleal y al estímulo que plantean las políticas migratorias de naturaleza selectiva y discriminatoria que aplican Estados Unidos y Europa.

- Y lo que es hoy más apremiante que nunca, establecer un orden internacional democrático y equitativo, y un sistema de comercio justo y transparente, en el que todos los Estados soberanamente participen en las decisiones que les atañen.

Es nuestra más profunda convicción que la solidaridad entre pueblos y gobiernos es posible. En la América Latina y el Caribe, el ALBA y PETROCARIBE así lo demuestran.

Sr. Presidente:

El Movimiento de Países No Alineados se ha mantenido fiel a sus principios fundacionales.

Apoyamos la causa del pueblo palestino y su derecho inalienable a la autodeterminación en un Estado independiente y soberano, que tenga su capital en Jerusalén Oriental.

Apoyamos la causa de aquellos otros pueblos cuya soberanía e integridad territorial se ven amenazadas, como los de Venezuela y Bolivia, y respaldamos el derecho de Puerto Rico a ser independiente.

Condenamos la imposición de medidas coercitivas unilaterales, violatorias del Derecho Internacional, y los intentos de implantar un modelo único de sistema político, económico y social. Objetamos las negativas prácticas de certificar países en función de los patrones y los intereses de los poderosos. Nos oponemos firmemente a la manipulación política y la aplicación de dobles raseros en el tema de los derechos humanos, y rechazamos la imposición selectiva de resoluciones políticamente motivadas contra los países miembros del Movimiento.

El establecimiento del Consejo de Derechos Humanos ofrece la oportunidad de abrir una nueva etapa en la promoción y protección de todos los derechos humanos para todos, sobre la base de la cooperación internacional y el diálogo constructivo. Aquellos que provocaron la desaparición de la antigua Comisión de Derechos Humanos ahora tratan de descalificar al Consejo porque no han podido doblegarlo en función de sus intereses. Se niegan a participar en sus trabajos para eludir el escrutinio de la comunidad internacional en el marco de su mecanismo de Examen Periódico Universal.

La legitimidad del Consejo no depende de la percepción que sobre sus labores tenga el Imperio, sino de su capacidad de cumplir su mandato con estricto apego a los principios de universalidad, objetividad, imparcialidad y no selectividad en el tratamiento de las cuestiones de derechos humanos.

El Movimiento de Países No Alineados continuará defendiendo los intereses del Tercer Mundo y promoviendo la construcción de un mundo más justo, democrático y solidario.

Sr. Presidente:

Cuba ha tenido que pagar un precio muy alto por la defensa de su independencia y soberanía.

El heroico pueblo cubano ha resistido el bloqueo más largo y cruel de la historia, impuesto por la potencia más poderosa de la Tierra. A pesar de que esta Asamblea se ha pronunciado reiterada y abrumadoramente por el cese de esta política genocida, el gobierno de los Estados Unidos no sólo ha ignorado la voluntad de la comunidad internacional, sino que en franco desprecio a la misma, ha recrudecido cada vez más su guerra económica contra Cuba.

Jamás la política exterior en contra de un país ha sido dotada de tan amplio y sofisticado arsenal de medidas agresivas en los ámbitos político, económico, cultural, diplomático, militar, psicológico e ideológico.

Cuba acaba de ser azotada por dos intensos huracanes, que han devastado su agricultura y seriamente afectado parte de su infraestructura y dañado o destruido más de 400 mil viviendas.

Permítame aprovechar la oportunidad para, en nombre del gobierno y el pueblo cubanos, agradecer a todos aquellos países, organizaciones y personas que de una forma u otra han contribuido honesta y sinceramente, con recursos o con apoyo moral, a los esfuerzos de reconstrucción emprendidos por mi país.

Ello contrasta con la posición que ha asumido el gobierno de los Estados Unidos, que se empeña en seguir aplicando despiadadamente el bloqueo.

Cuba no le ha solicitado regalo alguno al gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Simplemente le ha pedido y reiterado que le permita adquirir los materiales que resultan indispensables para la reconstrucción de viviendas y redes eléctricas y que autorice a las empresas norteamericanas a brindarle créditos comerciales privados a Cuba para comprar alimentos. La respuesta ha sido negativa, y se ha visto acompañada de un intento de manipular la información de tal forma que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos aparezca como el preocupado por el bienestar del pueblo cubano mientras que se perciba al gobierno de Cuba como el que rechaza el ofrecimiento.

Si a Estados Unidos le preocupa realmente el pueblo cubano, el único comportamiento moral y ético sería levantar el bloqueo impuesto a Cuba durante cinco décadas que viola las normas más elementales del Derecho Internacional y la Carta de las Naciones Unidas.

Esta política irracional tiene un claro objetivo: destruir el proceso de profundas transformaciones revolucionarias emprendido por el pueblo cubano a partir de 1959. En otras palabras, pisotear su derecho a la libre determinación, arrebatarle su libertad y sus conquistas políticas, económicas y sociales y retrotraerlo a su anterior condición de neocolonia.

La Administración Bush pretende justificar el recrudecimiento de su política contra Cuba recurriendo una vez más al fraude y al engaño, con el cinismo y la hipocresía que la caracterizan. Su determinación de dominar y recolonizar a Cuba se presenta nada menos que como una empresa liberadora y democratizadora.

¿Quién, con excepción de sus cómplices, reconoce en este mundo autoridad alguna al gobierno de los Estados Unidos en materia de democracia y derechos humanos?

¿Qué autoridad podría reclamar un gobierno que caza y maltrata del modo más cruel a los migrantes irregulares en su frontera sur, que legaliza la aplicación de la tortura y que mantiene en campos de concentración, como el que ha sido instalado en el territorio que ilegalmente ocupa la base estadounidense en Guantánamo, a personas a las que no les ha sido probado y ni siquiera presentado cargo alguno?

¿Qué respeto merece un gobierno que arremete contra la soberanía de otros Estados bajo el pretexto de la lucha contra el terrorismo, al tiempo que garantiza la impunidad a terroristas anticubanos?

¿Qué justicia puede promover una administración que mantiene ilegalmente detenidos en sus cárceles a cinco patriotas cubanos que sólo buscaban información para neutralizar las acciones de los grupos terroristas que operan contra Cuba desde Estados Unidos?

Sr. Presidente:

Cuba agradece la solidaridad que ha recibido de esta Asamblea General en su lucha contra el bloqueo y las agresiones que ha debido enfrentar durante casi cinco décadas.

Cuba reafirma su inquebrantable decisión de defender su soberanía e independencia.

Cuba reitera su voluntad de proseguir, junto con todos los integrantes del Movimiento de Países No Alineados, la batalla por un mundo mejor, en el que se respete el derecho de todos los pueblos a la justicia y el desarrollo.

Termino recordando las palabras del Comandante en Jefe de la Revolución Cubana, compañero Fidel Castro Ruz: “Un mundo sin hambre es posible (...) Un mundo justo es posible. Un mundo nuevo, del que sobradamente es acreedora nuestra especie, es posible y será realidad.”

Muchas gracias.

Cuban Vice President at U.N. General Assembly: U.S. maintains economic war against Cuba

By Daniel Cancel

Sept. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura said the U.S. maintains an ``economic war'' against the island despite calls from United Nations members to remove a 50-year embargo.

The U.S. wants to re-colonize the island and maintains a ``concentration camp'' at Guatanamo Bay on Cuban territory, Machado said, speaking today at the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Cancel in Caracas at
dcancel@bloomberg.net.

JG: When Machado's speech is published in Spanish or Engish, we will reproduce it in one of our posts.

Excerpt from Machado's speech as published by the International Herald Tribune:

"Cuba has asked for no gifts from the United States government. It has simply asked and asked again that it be allowed to purchase in the United States the materials that are indispensable for the reconstruction of homes and power grid and that U.S. companies be authorized to grant Cuba private commercial credits to buy food," he said.


José Ramón Machado Ventura,
first Vice-President of the Republic of Cuba

U.N. News Centre

24 September 2008 – Poor countries continue to bear the brunt of “the irrationality, wastefulness and speculation” of some wealthy nations that wield unfair economic and technological power and perpetuate deep inequalities, Cuba’s First Vice-President told the General Assembly today.

José Ramón Machado Ventura, First Vice-President of his country’s Council of State and Ministers, told delegates at the second day of the Assembly’s annual high-level debate that the gap between rich and poor “widens with every passing day.”

He said “the very modest Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) constitute an unreachable dream for the vast majority,” referring to the eight anti-poverty targets which world leaders agreed in 2000 to try to achieve by 2015.

The situation had become especially acute for some countries in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Mr. Machado Ventura said, because of the combined impact of the spike in food and fuel prices over the past year.

“Our nations have paid, and they will continue to pay the cost and the consequences of the irrationality, wastefulness and speculation of a few countries in the industrialized North who are responsible for the world food crisis,” he said.

“They imposed trade liberalization and the financial prescriptions of structural adjustment on the developing countries. They caused the ruin of many small producers; they denied, and in some cases destroyed, emerging agricultural development in the countries of the South, turning them into net food importing countries.”

The First Vice-President added that those same countries “maintain obscene agricultural subsidies while they force their rules on international trade. They set prices, monopolize technologies, impose unfair certifications and manipulate the distribution channels, the financing sources and trade. They control transportation, scientific research, genetic banks and the production of fertilizers and pesticides.”

He called, among other measures, for the cancellation of the foreign debt of developing countries “since it has been already paid more than once” and for the money saved to be channelled into economic development and social programmes.

The funds spent by rich nations on farm subsidies should also be directed to agriculture in the developing world, Mr. Machado Ventura said.

“By doing this, our countries would have about a billion dollars per day available to invest in food production.”

Cuba has been offered 30.5 million dollars in hurricane humanitarian assistance

Cuba’s daily Granma has reported that the Caribbean island has received 230 offers of aid from 63 governments and institutions. The hurricane humanitarian assistance has a value of 30.5 million dollars and they include cash, materials, and cooperation projects.

CANF represents the interests of the United States Government

The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) was created by Ronald Reagan. It is an organization that does not represent anyone inside Cuba. It works to further the interests of the United States government in trying to re-colonize Cuba and to try to re-introduce to the island the corrupt capitalism of Fulgencio Batista. It is directed by Miami gusanos who have nothing but hatred towards the place where they were born.

It continues to support the genocidal U.S. embargo against the Cuban people. Even after hurricanes Gustav and Ike hit the island and caused more than a billion dollars in damages, CANF continues to cling to the failed policies of Reagan, Bush and Clinton in regards to Cuba.

In the 1980’s I remember receiving some junk mail inviting me to join CANF. I read it, laughed, and proceeded to deposit it in the garbage can.

As a Cuban-American who strongly disagrees with the failed policies of the U.S. toward Cuba, I will not give CANF the time of day.

Do not let yourself be fooled. CANF is not Cuba, and it does not represent those who love Cuba. It is merely an organization that tries to further the interests of the U.S. government.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The resident Bush administration Cuba issue parrot squawks again

U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez should get an Oscar for his George W. Bush's ass-kissing performance.

Click here.

Cuba Groups Urge Hurricane Aid to Cuba

Market Watch

Last update: 11:12 a.m. EDT Sept. 18, 2008

WASHINGTON, Sept 18, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- The Center for Democracy in the Americas, The Latin America Working Group, and The Washington Office on Latin America, released the following statement urging the U.S. government to provide hurricane relief for Cuba:

The United States has an opportunity to save lives - and to turn a diplomatic corner - if we can rise above politics and allow Cuban Americans to aid family members back in Cuba which has been savaged by two tropical storms and two hurricanes in just 30 days.

America's wealth, geography and large Cuban-American community make us ideally suited to see that Cubans now suffering get the shelter, food, drinking water and medicine they need. America's first instinct is always to aid victims and to save lives; we should give it free reign.

And what could be worse for the United States' standing in Latin America than to see governments as disparate as the European Union, Brazil, Venezuela, Russia, and China rushing to offer assistance to Cuba, while U.S. politics stop Cuban-Americans from responding to the needs of their relatives on the island?

Today, Cuban-American families are blocked from providing aid by restrictions tightened in 2004, and yet they could be the guiding force behind the delivery of humanitarian aid to the island.

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and co-sponsor Richard Lugar (R-IN) have offered an amendment that would temporarily allow Americans with families in Cuba to travel to Cuba or to send cash and parcels including food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to relatives in Cuba, to help them recover from hurricane damage. The legislation would also allow American merchants to sell Cubans the supplies they need to rebuild damaged homes to replant ravaged farms. Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-MA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) have introduced similar bipartisan legislation which should be considered by the House.

This suspension of economic sanctions would last only 180 days. It would cost taxpayers nothing. It would allow families to take care of their own. And it would demonstrate that America is a compassionate nation, able and eager to help end the suffering of our friends, the Cuban people.

Now, before deprivation and disease do further damage to people's lives, Congress should pass this legislation and the President should sign it.

SOURCE Center for Democracy in the Americas

Bush Plays Politics as Cubans Suffer


A family sits in what remains of their home that was damaged by hurricanes Ike and Gustav in Los Palacios, Cuba. Ike and Gustav caused $5 billion in damage to Cuba this month. Source: AP/Javier Galeano

Center for American Progress

By Stephanie Miller | September 23, 2008

With all of the talk and debate about the Bush administration's response to the financial crisis engulfing Wall Street, little attention is being paid to urgent and time sensitive legislation a few members of Congress have introduced in the last few days that would allow the United States to more effectively and meaningfully respond to the devastating humanitarian crisis in Cuba in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.

Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA), and Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), have introduced legislation that would temporarily ease heightened restrictions on direct family travel, remittances, and relief packages to Cuba that have been in place since 2004. Senators Dodd and Lugar's legislation contemplates widening the items that the Cuban government can purchase with cash to include items necessary for relief response. These are critical and important legislative measures that are even more noteworthy during this time of Wall Street bailouts because neither the House nor Senate initiative would cost tax payers a thing.

Efforts to respond to the crisis to date have been hijacked by political posturing by both the Bush administration and Raul Castro's government. The Bush administration has been offering aid and refusing to ease the restrictions on direct family travel and remittances that it tightened significantly in 2004, and the Castro government is refusing to accept any aid that does not involve a removal of the trade embargo. This leaves Cubans to confront the devastation on their own and Cuban Americans feeling despair as they hear from their relatives about the plight of people on the island.

Marlene Azola told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, and Oversight last week during her congressional testimony that while Haitian Americans can travel freely to Haiti to help their family and friends in the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, Cuban Americans cannot exercise the same freedom. The Cuban people, not the Cuban government, are the ones suffering the most as a result of this policy. Even the President of the Cuban American Foundation of Miami, Francisco J. Hernandez—a man who participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion and has spent 49 years struggling against the Castro regime—said at the same congressional hearing:

"It is indefensible and intolerable that this issue be used to play politics while lives hang in the balance and while the ability to assist exists ... While we cannot force the Castro regime into providing a quick and even response to the crisis, we can unleash the goodwill and humanitarian support that the Cuban American community is eager to provide."

It is ironic that the same people who obsess about the growing influence of Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez and Russia in the Western Hemisphere—countries that have already provided aid relief to the Cuban people—are the ones stuck in a political jockeying match with the Castro regime that does nothing for the interests of the Cuban people or the interests of the United States in the hemisphere. As a Chicago Tribune opinion writer noted, "When the Castro brothers are history and the Cuban people contemplate what comes next, what they'll remember is that in September 2008, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin were their friends. And we weren't."

FBI is investigating fraud in Wall Street

Five minutes ago Yahoo! news reported the following:

"The FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and insurer American International Group Inc., said two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigations. The inquiries, still in preliminary stages, will focus on the financial institutions and the people who ran them, one senior law enforcement official said."

Congress Should Reject TARP

It is like throwing good money after bad money. Paulson, Barnanke and Cox really did not say what they were going to do with the $700 billion dollars of taxpayer money.

All they said was TRUST ME!

This happened during their watch. The trio ought to resign in shame.

Liquidate all the companies that were complicit in this huge financial fraud. Do not give those companies any more money. Let them go BANKRUPT!

U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson: “Taxpayers have been put on the hook by the system we have”

That is what he said a few minutes ago during his testimony before Congress. What system do we have, which constantly and consistently screws the citizens of this country?

CAPITALISM!

Only a socialist system addresses the needs and the desires of working class Americans, who are the ones who, with the sweat of their brows, have built this country.

The scammers and fraudsters in Wall Street, through their politician puppets in the Republican and Democratic Parties, have destroyed this once proud and prosperous country.

Capitalist CEO's want a bailout? Cut their pay to $75,000 per year!

Now that blood is running on the streets, Capitalist CEO's very conveniently have forgotten their dictum that "Markets Solve Everything."

Their greed, their frauds and their "derivatives" have plunged the country into financial chaos.

CUT THE PAY OF THE CEO'S. INSIST ON PARTIAL PUBLIC OWNERSHIP FOR THE COMPANIES THAT ARE BEGGING FOR A BAILOUT. INCREASE OVERSIGHT AND REGULATION. MAKE CORPORATIONS SERVE THE NEEDS OF MAIN STREET RATHER THAN WALL STREET.

Enough!

Minnesota concert for Ike victims in Cuba

Star Tribune

Today's concert will have music by Charanga Tropical, Maria Isa and more.

After hosting a fundraiser for Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Gustav during the Republican National Convention, First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis will be the site of a more homegrown benefit concert tonight for Hurricane Ike victims in Cuba (8 p.m., $10 cover, 701 1st Av N.).

An all-star cast of local Cuban/Caribbean acts will perform at the show, sponsored by the Minnesota Cuba Committee, including Charanga Tropical (Doug Little's popular salsa/jazz group), Puerto Rican hip-hop star Maria Isa, Ipso Facto frontman Wayne McFarlane and his band the Jahz, plus the Tropical Zone Orchestra, La Niña Rivera, Rene Thompson's Cuban dance group and more. Authentic Cuban food will be provided by Victor's 1959 Cafe, and there will be auction items available for larger donations. More info at www.first-avenue.com.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

Cuba thanks Jamaica for hurricane aid


Workers on the port in Santiago de Cuba unload mattresses from the HMJS Middlesex, which transported the relief supplies.


Representative of the foreign relations arm of the Cuban Government, Vicente Gonzalez (right) shakes hands with Lieutenant Commander Paul Wright of the JDF Coast Guard aboard the HMJS Middlesex, when the vessel docked on Saturday. (Photos: Kimone Thompson)

BY KIMONE THOMPSON Senior staff reporter thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.com
Tuesday, September 23, 2008


CUBA on Saturday praised the Jamaican Government for donating food, toiletries, bedding and pharmaceuticals to that country.

The goods will be distributed to Cuban families who were affected by two recent hurricanes, although Jamaica itself was hit by one of the storms.

Estimated at $5.5 million, the goods, which were donated by several private sector companies and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), were transported to Cuba by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard.

Hurricanes Gustav and Ike battered Cuba severely, damaging nearly 387,000 homes, and destroying another 63,000.

Seven deaths were reported.

"It's a very nice [gesture] from the Jamaican people," said a representative of the Cuban International Affairs Ministry, Vicente Gonzalez. "The losses we have [sustained] in these last two hurricanes have been very great. The value is about US $5 billion but the more valuable thing is that we have lost some people too," he said.

According to Gonzalez, who was speaking with Cuban and Jamaican journalists at the port in Santiago de Cuba on Saturday, emergency shelters in all the provinces were still open. He could not say, however, how many persons were still at these shelters.

Santiago itself suffered no damage to speak of "but some other towns in the country have been very, very badly affected", according to Gonzalez.

"Eighty per cent of the houses in the municipality of Banes in the province of Holguin was destroyed and the people are still trying to find at least a roof to put over their heads," he said.

The tight schedule of the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard and the distance to the damaged areas, however, did not allow Jamaican journalists who accompanied the coast guard the opportunity to travel to any of the hard-hit areas.

Gonzalez was unable to say how any countries had offered assistance to Cuba, but was full of praises for the help received from the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

"It's very important that we receive help from foreign countries and we value very much the humanitarian action, and we will ensure that the people that have been affected receive this help. A lot of persons have lost everything; houses are devastated, there are no beds, no mattresses, so it's very important that we receive help like we have got today," Gonzalez told Jamaican reporters Saturday.

Jamaica also sustained damage from Gustav, which was a tropical storm when it hit the island on August 28. Damage to the agricultural sector alone has been estimated at $1.6 billion.

"The Jamaican Government also wanted to assist countries in the region that were affected the hurricane, even though we ourselves were affected," said Commander Paul Wright who captained the HMJS Middlesex.

Wright was speaking on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, which, through the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ODPEM, organised the relief effort.

The goods were transported on board HMJS Middlesex, one of three county class vessels operated by the JDF Coast Guard. Once the crew had cleared Cuban immigration and customs, it took roughly six-and-a-half hours to off-load the relief supplies, which were packed in three containers, two of them measuring 40 feet.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A great article by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

"The Middle Class Must Not Be Forced to Bail Out Wall Street Greed"

More regulation is needed

The financial meltdown in Wall Street last week proves one thing: less regulation gives the green light to the capitalist scammers and fraudsters to continue screwing the American public.

Capitalists will screw their own mothers in order to make a fast buck. They worship greed at the altar of an economic and political system that no longer serves the needs or interests of America’s working class.

Both major capitalist parties share the blame. The deregulation frenzy started with Ronald Reagan and Daddy Bush and was continued by Bill Clinton. Those three presidents share a great deal of the blame. Their brand of “Anything Goes” Capitalism has brought the country to total ruin.

Wake up American working class! It is time to start abandoning the two major parties. They represent the big corporations. They do not represent you.

Yankee Stadium Closes its Doors


Derek Jeter:

"For all of us up here, it's a huge honor to put this uniform on every day and come out here and play," he said. "And every member of this organization, past and present, has been calling this place home for 85 years. There's a lot of tradition, a lot of history, and a lot of memories. Now the great thing about memories is you're able to pass it along from generation to generation. And although things are going to change next year, we're going to move across the street, there are a few things with the New York Yankees that never change -- it's pride, it's tradition, and most of all, we have the greatest fans in the world.

"We're relying on you to take the memories from this stadium and add them to the new memories that come to the new Yankee Stadium, and continue to pass them on from generation to generation. On behalf of this entire organization, we want to take this moment to salute you, the greatest fans in the world."

And with that, the Yankees took off their caps, waved them at the crowd, and the shortstop led his team in a final lap around Yankee Stadium with Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" playing in the background.

The House that Ruth Built has closed its legendary doors. But the game will continue.