Category: Action
USA/Global: Let Cuba Live!
worker | July 28, 2021 | 7:55 pm | Action, Cuba | Comments closed

USA/Global: Let Cuba Live!

AfricaFocus Bulletin
July 27, 2021 (2021-07-27)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

The Biden administration has now been in office for six months, along with a narrow Democratic majority in Congress. So it seems an appropriate time for a report card. I offered my evaluation in another AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out today, entitled “Building Back Better? Or Not?” But as I was finalizing that Bulletin, I realized that the rising U.S. attacks on Cuba are a key indicator of how things are going.

They show that the United States is headed toward “Build Back Worse” – a sharp bipartisan reversion to simplistic Cold War policies and the “bad neighbor” policy toward Caribbean countries. And yet the “mainstream media” (for me, the daily Washington Post and New York Times) contained at best only a few hints of dissent from this policy consensus.

I began accumulating links on the Cuba situation to include in the Bulletin, and they grew beyond the space available there. Hence the need for a separate treatment. This Bulletin contains an open letter published in the New York Times on Friday, July 25, as well as excerpts and links to sources that provide a fuller picture.

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on USA/Africa relations, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/usa-africa.php

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Open Letter to President Biden

Let Cuba Live!

Sign the letter here.

Dear President Joe Biden,

It is time to take a new path forward in U.S.-Cuban relations. We, the undersigned, are making this urgent, public appeal to you to reject the cruel policies put into place by the Trump White House that have created so much suffering among the Cuban people.

Cuba – a country of eleven million people – is living through a difficult crisis due to the growing scarcity of food and medicine. Recent protests have drawn the world’s attention to this. While the Covid-19 pandemic has proven challenging for all countries, it has been even more so for a small island under the heavy weight of an economic embargo.

We find it unconscionable, especially during a pandemic, to intentionally block remittances and Cuba’s use of global financial institutions, given that access to dollars is necessary for the importation of food and medicine.

As the pandemic struck the island, its people – and their government – lost billions in revenue from international tourism that would normally go to their public health care system, food distribution and economic relief.

During the pandemic, Donald Trump’s administration tightened the embargo, pushed aside the Obama opening, and put in place 243 “coercive measures” that have intentionally throttled life on the island and created more suffering.

The prohibition on remittances and the end of direct commercial flights between the U.S. and Cuba are impediments to the wellbeing of a majority of Cuban families.

“We stand with the Cuban people,” you wrote on July 12. If that is the case, we ask you to immediately sign an executive order and annul Trump’s 243 “coercive measures.”

There is no reason to maintain the Cold War politics that required the U.S. to treat Cuba as an existential enemy rather than a neighbor. Instead of maintaining the path set by Trump in his efforts to undo President Obama’s opening to Cuba, we call on you to move forward. Resume the opening and begin the process of ending the embargo. Ending the severe shortages in food and medicine must be the top priority.

On 23 June, most of the member states of the United Nations voted to ask the U.S. to end the embargo. For the past 30 years this has been the consistent position of a majority of member states. In addition, seven UN Special Rapporteurs wrote a letter to the U.S. government in April 2020 regarding the sanctions on Cuba. “In the pandemic emergency,” they wrote, “the lack of will of the U.S. government to suspend sanctions may lead to a higher risk of suffering in Cuba.”

We ask you to end the Trump “coercive measures” and return to the Obama opening or, even better, begin the process of ending the embargo and fully normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba.

Signatories available at https://www.letcubalive.com/.

*******************************************************************

For anyone wanting to understand the role of Cuba in African liberation struggles, and the parallel U.S. opposition to those struggles, the case study of Angola is essential.

These two books, by Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies professor Piero Gleijeses, are the key scholarly works on this history, based on multiple archival and oral sources from the United States, Cuba, Angola, and other countries.

See his CV here.

https://bookshop.org/a/709/9780807854648

https://bookshop.org/a/709/9781469628325

Other Background Resources on US/Cuba Policy

Whether simply out of political calculation or a return to the worst of U.S. Cold War thinking, the Biden administration, with political support from both parties, is doubling down on destructive policies against the Cuban people. Yes, Cuba does need reform, and uncritical support of the Cuban government disregards current realities.

But U.S. sanctions, aimed at punishing the Cuban people as a means to bring down the government, build on a history of U.S. occupation of Cuba at the beginning of the 20th century, imposing a highly limited “independence” after defeating Spain in the Spanish American War. Shortly after Cuban revolutionaries overthrew the latest U.S.-dependent government in 1959, hostility between the United States and Cuba mounted rapidly, culminating in the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and economic sanctions in 1962, almost 60 years ago. Sanctions were somewhat relaxed during the Obama administration, then strengthened again under Trump.

In Cuba policy, therefore, President Biden is continuing the Trump policies and even threatening to escalate. This is not “building back better” but doubling down on the worst. No rethinking of past policies at all!

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/7/27/cuba_protests_pandemic_conditions

https://novaramedia.com/2021/07/20/whats-actually-going-on-in-cuba/ by Helen Yaffe.

An excellent summary by a leading Cuba expert based at the University of Glasgow. Author of the book We Are Cuba! on the post-Soviet history of Cuba.See also https://www.facebook.com/helen.yaffe.9/ and https://www.facebook.com/100007628650696/videos/pcb.2929945513936375/498584691215357

Yaffe is in Cuba now, and her Facebook page contains videos such as those at the second link above.

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/07/19/ending-forever-wars-must-include-economic-warfare/ – by Assal Rad

“In a rare tweet on foreign policy, President Biden stated, “We stand with the Cuban people,” and cited their “economic suffering.” The irony was not lost on many commentators who observed that only weeks earlier the United States rejected — for the 29th consecutive year — a United Nation’s resolution to end the decades-long U.S. embargo on Cuba that has cost the small-island nation an estimated $144 billion and hampered its ability to combat the pandemic. As the international community overwhelmingly voted to end the embargo in a vote of 184 to 2, only Israel joined the U.S. in support of continuing the now 60-year embargo. “Philip Brenner, one of the leading U.S. experts on Cuba, based at American University in Washington, DC, has been quoted extensively in the Spanish newspaper El Diario, as well as in the Spanish-language edition of the Los Angeles Times, but apparently not yet in English-language media included in Google News.

https://thegrio.com/2021/07/19/will-protests-lead-to-lasting-change-in-cuba/

A clear explainer in a 10-minute video with Dr. Danielle Clealand, University of Texas (Austin). Not the final word, but very useful. I am told by friends who know Cuba very well that her 2017 book on The Power of Race in Cuba is excellent.https://thegrio.com/2021/07/22/black-americans-haiti-cuba-opinion/ – by Blue Telusma,

“As a woman of Haitian and Cuban lineage living in the United States, this subject hits home in a very personal way. ”https://www.thenation.com/article/world/cuba-airstrikes/ – by Aída Chávez, July 20, 2021

The threat of U.S. military intervention.https://www.thedailybeast.com/its-time-for-biden-to-choose-between-starving-cubans-and-votes-in-florida by William LeoGrande, July 15, 2021

And back in March 2020, a dream that it might be better rather than worse

https://www.organizingupgrade.com/can-coronavirus-be-a-catalyst-for-thinking-globally/

– by William Minter and Imani Countess, March 25, 2020

“Don’t Be Afraid to Dream

To challenge a new Democratic administration and inspire progressive mobilization, we should advance not only practical policy goals but also new visions of mutual cooperation beyond those presently thinkable. One clear albeit difficult example is the case of Cuba, where U.S. policy has been paralyzed for decades by right-wing pressures.

A progressive agenda for U.S.-Cuban relations should begin with the reversal of new restrictive measures imposed by the Trump administration and progress toward full elimination of the trade embargo and travel restrictions that have defined U.S. policy for almost six decades.

A more ambitious goal would be to stress U.S. collaboration with Cuba in promoting global health, as happened in the case of Ebola in West Africa. The United States should be prepared to accept future Cuban offers of assistance with disaster relief and preparedness, an offer that the George W. Bush administration rejected in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Most visionary, but also beneficial to both countries, would be for the United States to ask Cuba for technical assistance in developing equitable public health policies in this country—and to pay generously for such assistance. That could promote mutual understanding as well as begin to pay for repairing the damage done over many decades of U.S. intervention in Cuba.”

https://democracynow.cachefly.net/democracynow/360/dn2020-0324.mp4?start=2547.0&end=3237.0

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/3/24/cuba_medical_diplomacy_italy_coronavirus

https://www.aljazeera.com/videos/2020/3/22/cuban-doctors-head-to-italy-to-fight-coronavirus

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/world/cuban-doctors-nurses-arrive-in-italy-to-combat-coronavirus-outbreak/2020/03/23/22e75e15-9a16-4d5c-8cf7-e33b2d635407_video.html

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

Current links to books on AfricaFocus go to the non-profit bookshop.org, which supports independent bookshores and also provides commissions to affiliates such as AfricaFocus.

AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at africafocus@igc.org. Please write to this address to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about reposted material, please contact directly the original source mentioned. To subscribe to receive future bulletins by email, click here.

Let Cuba Live!
worker | July 24, 2021 | 7:23 pm | Action, Cuba | Comments closed

PRESS RELEASE
July 22, 2021

Full-page Ad in The New York Times with Letter to President Biden:
Let Cuba Live

An urgent and public appeal to President Biden signed by over 400 former heads of state, politicians, prominent intellectuals, scientists, clergy, artists, musicians, leaders, and activists from around the world calls on the White House to immediately lift Trump’s 243 unilateral and additional sanctions that are hindering Cuba’s efforts to control the pandemic and save the lives of people living in Cuba. Signers include actors Jane Fonda, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover and Mark Ruffalo, former presidents Lula da Silva (Brazil) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador), intellectuals Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Judith Butler and Cornel West. The letter will appear on the Friday edition of The New York Times.

Cuba – a country of eleven million people – is living through a difficult crisis due to the growing scarcity of food and medicine. Recent protests have drawn the world’s attention to this. These prominent signers write: “it’s unconscionable, especially during a pandemic, to intentionally block remittances and Cuba’s use of global financial institutions, given that access to dollars is necessary for the importation of food and medicine.”

“We stand with the Cuban people,” Biden wrote on July 12. The letter signers respond: “If that is the case, we ask you to immediately sign an executive order and annul Trump’s 243 ‘coercive measures.”

This open letter is the first of a joint initiative between The People’s Forum, CODEPINK, and the ANSWER Coalition to change the immoral and short-sighted policy of the embargo towards Cuba, and to provide much-needed medicine and medical supplies to the Cuban people.

The Open Letter and full list of signers can be found online at www.LetCubaLive.com

Organizers Manolo De Los Santos, Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, and Brian Becker are available for interviews.

For media enquiries contact peace@peoplesforum.org or 347-349-1372

In solidarity,
The People’s Forum

                 

Sign the Letter

Mobilization for National Improved Medicare For All now in over 50 Cities, Sat. July 24, 2021
worker | July 20, 2021 | 8:11 pm | Action, Medicare for All | Comments closed
A new coalition has come together to celebrate Medicare’s 56th birthday and to renew the push for Medicare For All (M4A) in this time of the pandemic.  There will be marches or rallies in over 50 cities this Saturday, July 24.  We urge our readers to participate in your city or a city near you.  You can click on the list of cities below for local details.   We have reproduced below the call of the new coalition organizing these marches.
Help Celebrate Medicare’s Birthday, This Saturday, July 24th, in Your City or A City Near You
A coalition of groups has come together to march for Medicare for All.  Who is in that coalition depends on which city you are talking about.  There is no one single group behind this.  The list seems to grow every day. Some people are even politically homeless and simply focused on doing what they can to move #M4A forward.  We are nonpartisan, but some local parties have joined in the fight!  We are proud to say that this type of coming together hasn’t happened in recent memory, if ever.
Our movement was founded from a place of compassion and love.  We came together out of frustration with the lack of action from the powers that be.  Many of us have our own personal stories as to why we are in this fight.  All of us know that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.  It is a basic freedom.  How can we have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system.
One illness can ruin your life, even if you have insurance.  The industry can always say no.  We need a big fat yes!  Whatever you and your doctor decide is best for your health should be what is done.  No more pre- authorizations, deductibles, out of pocket expenses etc. etc.  These are all barriers to the care we deserve.  Nearly 70,000 times a year or more, someone dies because of these barriers to care.  This is unacceptable.
Join the Mobilization for National Improved Medicare for All now in over 50 Cities.
Find a list of actions below.

                                             Actions:

Washington, DC
11 am to 5 pm, Lincoln Park, 12th Street and East Capitol Street. Click here for more details.
Alabama
Birmingham – 10 am to noon, Railroad Park Foundation, 1600 First Ave. S. Click here for more details.
Huntsville – 3 pm to 5 pm, Madison County Courthouse Steps, 100 North Side Square. Click here for more details.
Montgomery – 11 am to 1:30 pm, Alabama State Capitol, 600 Dexter Ave. Click here for more details.
Arizona
Phoenix – 10 am to noon. Biltmore area, East Camelback Road & North 24th Street. Click here for more details.
Arkansas
Fayetteville – 11 am to 2 pm, 280 N. College Ave. Click here for more details.
Little Rock – 9 am to noon, Steps of the State Capitol Building, Woodlane Street & West Capitol Avenue. Click here for more details.
California
Irvine – 11 am to noon, City of Irvine City Hall and Bill Barber Memorial Park, 1 Civic Center Plaza. Click here for more details.
Los Angeles – 11 am to 5 pm, Hollywood Blvd at Highland Blvd. Click here for more details.
San Diego – 10 am to 1:30 pm, Balboa Park Boulevard and Presidents Way Lawn, 2000 Presidents Way. Click here for more details.
San Francisco – 10 am to 1 pm, Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building. Click here for more details.
Colorado
Denver – 10 am to noon. Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax Ave. West Steps. Click here for more details.
Salida – 9 am to 1 pm, 410 W. Rainbow Blvd. Click here for more details.
Connecticut
Bridgeport – 1 pm to 3 pm, 45 Lyon Terrace. Click here for details.
Florida
Tallahassee – 10:30 am to noon, Florida Historic Capitol Museum, 400 S. Monroe St. Click here for more details.
Orlando – 10:30 am to noon, Marco Rubio’s office downtown Orlando, 201 S Orange Ave #350. Click here for more details.
Tampa – 10 am to 11:30 am, 4144 N Armenia Ave. Click here for more details.
Georgia
Atlanta – 2 pm to 5 pm, Hurt Park, 25 Courtland St SE. Click here for more details.
Hawaii
Honolulu – 9 am to 11 am, Ala Moana Regional Park, 1201 Ala Moana Blvd. Corner of Ala Moana and Atkinson. Click here for more details.
Illinois
Chicago – 11 am to 2 pm, Chicago Federal Plaza, 230 South Dearborn Street, Dearborn St. between Jackson & Adams St. Click here for more details.
Elgin – 1 pm to 2 pm. Click here for more details.
Kentucky
Louisville – 11 am to 2 pm, Romano L Mazzoli Federal Building, 600 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Pl. Click here for more details.
Maine
Portland – 10 am to noon, Lincoln Park, Congress Street & Pearl Street. Click here for more details.
Massachusetts
Boston – 11 am to 5 pm, 115 Boylston St. Click here for more details.
Michigan
Detroit – noon to 3 pm, 800 Woodward Ave. Click here for more details.
Minnesota
Benmidji – 5 pm to 7 pm, 303 Railroad St. SW. Click here for more details.
Missouri
Kansas City – 10 am to 8 pm, J C Nichols Memorial Fountain, 47th Mill Creek Pkwy. Convene street side, on 47th, between Main & Broadway, south of fountain. Click here for more details.
Nebraska
Omaha – 4 pm to 7 pm, 11th and Howard. Click here for more details.
Nevada
Las Vegas – 7 pm to 9 pm, City Hall, 495 S Main St. Click here for more details.
Reno – 10 am to noon, City Hall Plaza, 10 North Virginia St. Click here for more details.
New Hampshire
Manchester – 3:30 to 5 pm, Pulaski Park, 128 Bridge St. Click here for more details.
New Mexico
Albuquerque – 9 am to 11 am. We will rally in front of UNMH on the cross streets of Lomas Blvd and Stanford Dr. 2211 Lomas Blvd NE. Click here for more details.
New York 
Binghamton – 1 pm to 3 pm, location TBA. Click here for more details.
New York City – 11 am to 4 pm, Washington Square East & Washington Place. Click here for more details.
Rochester – 11 am to 12:30 pm, location TBA. Click here for more details.
North Carolina
Greensboro – 11 am to 1 pm, care-a-van. Click here for more information.
Sylva – 11 am to 5 pm, Bridge Park, 76 Railroad Ave. Click here for more details.
Ohio
Columbus – 12 noon to 4 pm, Ohio Statehouse, One Capitol Square. Click here for more details.
Oregon
Central Oregon – 11 am to noon, Peace Corner, Bend 1077 NW Wall St. Bend, OR 97701. Click here for more details.
Corvallis – 11 am to 2 pm, Benton County Court House, Northwest 4th Street & Northwest Monroe Avenue. Click here for more details.
Medford – 10 am to noon, Vogel Plaza, 12 S Central Ave. Click here for more details.
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia – 4 pm to 6 pm, Philadelphia City Hall, 1400 John F Kennedy Blvd. Click here for more details.
Pittsburgh – 10 am to noon, Schenley Plaza, 4100 Forbes Ave. Click here for more details.
Tennessee
Nashville – noon to 2 pm, Public Square, 1 Public Sq. Click here for more details.
Texas
Austin – 11 am to 2 pm, 1100 Congress Ave. Click here for more details
Utah
Salt Lake City – 2 pm to 5 pm. Capital Hill, 350 State St. Click here for more details.
Washington
Olympia – 1 pm to 3 pm, Washington State Capitol Building, 416 Sid Snyder Ave SW. Click here for more details.
Seattle – 1 pm to 5 pm, 400 Pine St. Click here for more details.
Wisconsin
Madison – 11 am to 12:30 pm, 118 State St.,  Corner of State Street and N Carroll S. Click here for more details.
Milwaukee – 11 am to 2 pm, McKinley Park, 1750 North Lincoln Memorial Dr. Click here for more details.
For further information: Visit M4M4All.org. https://m4m4all.org/
 
Distributed by:
All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care
P. O. Box 17595
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
07/19/21
Texas allows residents to possess handguns with no license after Gov. Abbott signs controversial ‘constitutional carry’ bill
worker | June 21, 2021 | 7:28 pm | Action, Local/State | Comments closed

https://www.rt.com/usa/526777-texas-handgun-licenses-bill/

Texas allows residents to possess handguns with no license after Gov. Abbott signs controversial ‘constitutional carry’ bill

Texas allows residents to possess handguns with no license after Gov. Abbott signs controversial ‘constitutional carry’ bill
Texans will soon be permitted to carry handguns without a license, with Governor Greg Abbott signing a bill into law that scraps most of the state’s permit requirements despite vocal opposition from police groups and the public.

After passing through the state Senate late last month, Abbott put his name to HB 1927 on Wednesday, legalizing what proponents call “Constitutional Carry,” which allows residents to possess pistols with no license or mandatory training.

While the law exempts those already prohibited to carry firearms under state or federal law, such as convicted felons, all other state residents aged 21 and up will be free to tote handguns, openly or concealed, once the legislation takes effect on September 1.

ALSO ON RT.COMNobody’s ‘coming after your guns,’ says Kamala Harris, who campaigned on coming after gunsThe bill passed both the state House and Senate despite objections from law enforcement groups, gun control advocates and even the public at large, with a recent poll showing some 59% of Texans surveyed are opposed to permitless carry.

A group of five police orgs led by the Dallas Police Association lobbied strongly against the bill, though ultimately compromised after state Senators included a number of amendments to the law to address their concerns, which largely centered on officer safety. Without the amendments, the groups said “many dangerous and unstable Texans will have unfettered access to weapons and face little or no punishment when apprehended.”

Former Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who now serves as chief to Miami, Florida’s PD, also came out against the law last month, saying “From chiefs to sheriffs to police labor, we do not support permit-less, open carry.”

The compromise bill that was ultimately passed retained a provision that allows police to question residents solely based on their possession of a handgun, and also boosts criminal penalties for felons found to be carrying. State Senators also introduced a measure requiring the Texas Department of Public Safety to offer a free online gun safety course, in line with calls from other policing groups for residents to receive training.

Some police departments, such as those in Texarkana and Hooks, say they have no problem enforcing the new ‘Constitutional Carry’ law, with Texarkana police spokesman Shawn Vaughn stating “We enforce the law, whatever the legislature sees fit.”

“We’ve had no major issues [with handguns]. There are some people who will still be prohibited from carrying guns, such as felons, and those are the main ones we are concerned about,” he said.

Pro-gun groups have cheered the new bill, with the National Rifle Association deeming it “the most significant pro-Second Amendment measure in Texas history.” When the law passed the Texas state House, the Gun Owners of America hailed it as a “historic moment,” calling it a “strong bill with strong protections.”

Texas lawmakers have also passed a bill to make the state into a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” which will exempt it from any new federal gun legislation. Governor Abbott has already declared his intent to enact the law, saying “I look forward to signing it” in April, though it has yet to reach his desk.

ALSO ON RT.COMThere is NO RIGHT TO CARRY arms in public, US appeals court says in controversial ruling on gun rights case

A Very Wonderful and Warm Film
worker | June 1, 2021 | 8:46 pm | Action, Cuba | Comments closed

https://watch.firstrunfeatures.com/products/los-hermanos-the-brothers-at-the-speed-art-museum

 

Voice of the Voiceless with Dan Kovalik
worker | February 1, 2021 | 7:50 pm | Action | Comments closed

Twenty Twenty-one: An Arresting Start
worker | January 14, 2021 | 7:31 pm | Action | Comments closed

Twenty Twenty-one: An Arresting Start

  – from Greg Godels is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

If you do not wish to receive these notices, e-mail: zzsblogml@gmail.com with “unsubscribe” in the subject box.

 

But, unfortunately, every generation must rediscover this truth for itself. Carter, Clinton, Obama, and now Biden conjure an abundance of hope, a groundswell of confidence, only to be dashed on the rocks of misplaced loyalty.
History repeats itself because too few bother to digest it... To read more, please go to: 
https://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2021/01/twenty-twenty-one-arresting-start.html