I’m Sandy, too morally blank to be ashamed.
Born in Central American jungle heat,
sucking moisture from trees long nurtured
by the bloodied victims of protected tyrants…
The Earth is home to all men, women and children who inhabit it…We have no right to condemn the 2 billion human beings who will be born over the next 40 years to a life of despair, under a sky clouded by millions of tons of greenhouse gases and a sun that seems to shine less brightly every day…
The launch of the IV International Campaign for the Freedom of the Cuban Five in Port of Spain, Trinidad, heard messages of support from the Friends of Cuba, the National Foodcrop Farmers Association, the Movement for Social Justice and the Congress of the People-both members of the People’s Partnership Government-the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN) and University professors Norman Girvan and Chaman Lal.
Presented at a Conference on ALBA and the Future of Regional Integration held at London Metropolitan University, January 29, 2011; the presentation explores issues arising out of the simultaneous membership of three Caribbean countries in ALBA, the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union; and assesses ALBA’s claims to represent a superior alternative to neoliberal integration schemes that is based on solidarity and cooperation. Issues raised include the compatibility of simultaneous membership in schemes that are so different from one another; whether ALBA represents an alternative to the other two; ideological vs. financial motivation; and ‘asymmterical’ vs. ‘non-reciopocated’ solidarity.
London Metropolitan University Hosts First ALBA-PTA Conference Report on VHeadline.com
At the beginning, only eight weeks ago, I thought there was no possible solution to the imminent danger of a war. …Fortunately, I did not take long to realize that there was one hope -as a matter of fact, a very profound one….One man, the President of the United States, will have to take this decision on his own…
On July 8, the Washington Post lead story [“Cuba to release 52 political prisoners, Catholic Church says”] reported Cuba had released five political prisoners with assurances of forty-seven more to come in the near future. Cuban President Raul Castro said all political prisoners would soon be released. On July 16, another group was freed. The Post story and its July 9 editorial “Cuba’s marginal gesture” omitted facts readers would need in order to understand the significance of the prisoner release. Both pieces convey the image of a “political prisoner” who is dedicated to expressing unwelcome views — perhaps a poet, or a whistle blower who has uncovered corruption. But these prisoners were in jail for committing crimes that would have placed them behind bars if they were done in the United States including working for a foreign government without registering, and committing violence…
On February 23, 2010, Cuban inmate Orlando Zapata Tamayo died after 83 days on hunger strike. He was 42. This is the first such incident since inmate Pedro Luis Boitel died in 1972 under similar conditions. The corporate media put the tragic incident on the front page and emphasized the plight of Cuban prisoners…
I was horrified at the low standard of journalism in three instalments of a series of articles published in the Daily Gleaner on December 29, 30 and 31, 2009 under the heading “Woes of Journalism”. For the following reasons, it would behove CARIMAC and other journalism schools to use them as examples of lack of diligent research, ethical standards and objectivity…
DECLARATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN ACTIVISTS, INTELLECTUALS AND ARTISTS IN CONTINUED SOLIDARITY WITH THE CUBAN REVOLUTION
Cuban expatriate Carlos Moore and the other signers of the December 1, 2009 ACTING ON OUR CONSCIENCE: DECLARATION OF AFRICANAMERICAN SUPPORT FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS STRUGGLE IN CUBA do not speak for or represent the vast majority of Black radicals/progressives, nor the sentiment of the masses of African Americans in the United States. .
Vote on Resolution 187 in Favour to 3 Against, with 2 Abstentions
Even though many delegates expressed a newfound optimism that United States-Cuba relations could improve with the change of Administration in Washington, the United Nations General Assembly today once again adopted a stern resolution calling on the United States to end a trade embargo, which had created human suffering and wrecked havoc with the economy of the island nation…
7 Features of Latin America’s ‘New Orientation/Declaration of Indigenous People 2009 World Social Forum/Signs of the changing times/English speaking Caribbean Draws Nearer to Latin America/Popular resistance to the Honduras Coup/ALBA–From ‘Alternativa’ to ‘Alianza/ALBA Mission and Principles/ALBA Practices and Projects/Petrocaribe/Recent Developments/ALBA Issues/ALBA Social Movements Network
Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaí¯ (left), Benin’s Ambassador to UNESCO and Chairman of the UNESCO Executive Board, arrived in Cuba on 6/16/09 and attended a number of ceremonies. At several of these, he gave out medals. We have numerous photos of the main ceremony, where the recipients are mostly people who have long been featured on AfroCubaWeb.
According to the UN office in Cuba, those who received a medal include:
– Alicia Alonso, Medalla Mahatma Gandhi
Ambassador Yai has been a distinguished scholar for many years, he is considered a Guillen scholar and has traced many of Nicolas Guillen’s styles back to the literary styles used in the Oyo Empire in Nigeria.
Reception hosted by the Director of UNESCO Havana Office, Mr. Herman Van Hoof, on the occasion of the visit to Cuba of the Chairman of the Executive Board, Ambassador Olabiyi Yai. 14-19 June 2009.
In his introductory remarks, he stated the following:
“As Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO, I am pleased to honour you today with the following medals in recognition of your efforts to promote peace, equality, cultures values, and to fight all forms of discrimination and exclusion wreaked in particular on descendants of enslaved people. While Cuba has contributed significantly to the reinforcement of UNESCO’s program and goals in you country and the region, little has been done to acknowledge your significant contribution. This awarding ceremony is therefore a symbolic gesture to a selected number of you as part of UNESCO’s good intention to encourage you in your tireless efforts for peace, freedom and fundamental rights.”
The following Cuban experts were honored:
, · Alicia Alonso received the Gandhi medal. The medal was issued at the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, India’s ” Father of the Nation” and the world’s advocate of non-violence, peace and tolerance.
, · Four experts were honored with Toussaint L’Ouverture medal: Rogelio Martinez Fure, Jean Stubbs, Familia Baro de Jovellanos, Tomas Robaina. The medal was designed to reward an outstanding achievement that, in keeping with the spirit and action of Toussaint L’ouverture, has made a lasting contribution to combating racism in the political, literary and artistic fields. A black divisional general, Toussaint L’ouverture is the hero of the Haitian independence, symbol of the struggle against slavery and racial discrimination.
, · Miguel Barnet was honored with Simon Bolivar medal, in acknowledgement of his actions and activities that contributed to the freedom, independence and dignity of peoples and to the strengthening of a new international economic, social and cultural order.
, · The Victor Hugo medal was given to Nancy Morejon, Pedro Perez Saduy, Abel Prieto, in acknowledgement of their writings, which contribute significantly to the protection and promotion of the rights of man/woman and the oppressed.
, · The Federico Fellini medal was given to Gloria Rolando in acknowledgement to her notable efforts to boost the art of film.
, · Manuel Mendive and Asociación Yoruba de Cuba received the World Decade for Cultural Development medal, commonly known as the cultural diversity medal in recognition of their work for the promotion of cultural diversity.
These remarks were delivered in fluent Spanish, to the surprise and delight of Cuban officials who were present.
La visita a Cuba de Olabibi Babalola Joseph Yaí¯: Reconocimiento de la UNESCO a Cuba y a intelectuales y artistas cubanos 6/19/2009, ONU Cuba:, “El reconocimiento de la UNESCO y de sus países miembros a Cuba y a prestigiosos intelectuales y artistas cubanos por su infatigable labor cultural en beneficio de la humanidad expresó el Embajador Olabibi Babalola Joseph Yaí¯, Presidente del Consejo Ejecutivo de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, Ciencia y Cultura y Delegado Permanente de la Repíºblica de Benin ante esa organización, en una ceremonia en la sede de la UNESCO en esta capital. El encuentro fue presentado por el Representante de la UNESCO en Cuba y Director Regional de Cultura para América Latina y el Caribe, Herman van Hooff, quien resaltó la importancia de la visita oficial a Cuba del Embajador Yaí¯ y sus conversaciones con altos dirigentes cubanos, intelectuales y artistas. Asimismo, subrayó el gran agrado con que la institución acoge la presencia en Cuba de tan distinguida personalidad.”
Slave Route Museum Inaugurated in Matanzas, Cuba 6/17/2009, Juventud Rebelde:, “The Afro América exhibition was opened during the inauguration featuring 105 educational posters and 14 African sculptures donated by Cuban artist Lorenzo Padilla.”
Concede la UNESCO a Cuba Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural 6/17/2009, Trabajadores:, “Olabiyi entregó a Abel Prieto, miembro del Buró Político y ministro de Cultura, la Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural de la Unesco, en reconocimiento a la posición de Cuba contra los prejuicios y estereotipos que aíºn prevalecen debido al estigma de la esclavitud, y a una actividad cultural encaminada a distinguir el proceso de transculturación y mestizaje en nuestros pueblos. Al agradecer el gesto, el titular cubano de Cultura reconoció que tiene un gran valor, sobre todo porque el Museo se vincula con la filosofía del Consejo Nacional de Patrimonio de que un museo no es un almacén de piezas, concebidas como algo arqueológico que pertenece al pasado, sino que esas instituciones culturales deben verse como instrumentos educativos, vivos, en manos de la comunidad, de maestros y escuelas.”
Otorga la UNESCO a Cuba medalla de la diversidad cultural, 6/16/09
|BARBARA VASALLO VASALLO
Abel Prieto, ministro de Cultura de Cuba, recibió en la ciudad de Matanzas la Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural, que otorgó a la Isla la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (UNESCO).
Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai, presidente del Consejo Ejecutivo de la UNESCO, entregó el reconocimiento a Cuba, que “sobresale en la defensa de raíces e identidad nacional y es ejemplo de ello para el mundo”.
La ceremonia de entrega de la medalla aconteció en la inauguración oficial del Museo Nacional de La Ruta del Esclavo, enclavado en el otrora Castillo de San Severino, sitio fundacional de la urbe matancera, a unos 100 kilómetros al este de La Habana.
El dirigente de la UNESCO, oriundo de Benin, en ífrica occidental, destacó la contribución de Cuba a la alfabetización en ese continente y en la lucha por la liberación contra el colonialismo, al tiempo que felicitó la idea de instituir aquí este museo, reflejo de la triste etapa de la esclavitud.
Abel Prieto, miembro del Buró Político del Partido Comunista de Cuba, dijo a la AIN que la condecoración quedará en el museo y constituye un reconocimiento a la política cultural del país.
El ministro elogió la idea de la UNESCO en defensa del patrimonio cultural de la humanidad, y dijo que Cuba asume como práctica políticas inscriptas en documentos de esa institución, como el vínculo de instituciones culturales con escuelas y comunidades, por muy intrincadas que estén.
A la ceremonia, asistieron dirigentes políticos y del Gobierno de la provincia de Matanzas, además de destacadas personalidades de la cultura cubana e integrantes del cuerpo diplomático acreditado en la Isla, fundamentalmente de países africanos e iberoamericanos.
[La UNESCO ortogo a Cuba la Medalla de la Diversidad Cultural y a Abel Prieto la Medalla Victor Hugo.]
Cuba Elected to UNESCO Committee on Cultural Diversity, Cuba Now, 6/17/09
|The island received the largest number of votes (61) after Canada (63) during an electoral process in Paris. UNESCO also granted Cuba the Cultural Diversity Medal during a ceremony in central Matanzas province.
Cubanow.- Cuba was elected by huge majority to the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity with the UN Education Science and Culture Organization UNESCO.
During the election of representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Paris, France, Cuba got 61 votes and Brazil 57; for the Asian region, China and Laos were elected; Albania and Bulgaria were chosen to represent Eastern Europe, Jordan and Tunisia for the Middle East and Cameroon and Kenya were elected representatives for Africa. Canada and France were elected among the highly developed countries.
Cuban ambassador to UNESCO, Hector Hernandez Pardo described Cuba, ´s election as an extraordinary result that proves the acknowledgement of the island, ´s consecration to the issue.
Cuba obtained the majority of votes after Canada, which got 69 votes, said Hernadez Pardo who also noted that despite the failed and obsolete isolation policy practiced by Washington against the Caribbean nation, Cuba always had impressing support. The election of Cuba expresses strong support of the cultural policy of our country, he said.
UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity in 2005 despite the opposition of the United States and Israel and following huge debates.
Meanwhile, Cuban Culture Minister Abel Prieto received in central Matanzas province the Cultural Diversity Medal granted by UNESCO.
The president of the executive council of the UN organization, Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai gave Cuba the important distinction, for its outstanding defense of its national identity and roots and for being an example for the world.
The ceremony took place during the inauguration of the National Museum located at the San Severino Castle, the founding site of Matanzas city.
The UNESCO executive underscored the contribution of Cuba to fighting illiteracy in Africa and to the struggle against colonialism. He praised the idea of opening the museum, which is called ” La Ruta del Esclavo” (The Slave, ´s Route) which recalls the sad story of slavery.
Abel Prieto said that the medal will be displayed at the museum and that it constitutes an acknowledgement to the Cuban cultural policy. He added that Cuba practices the policies stated in UNESCO documents, such as the relationship between cultural institutions and schools or communities, no matter how remote they can be.
The ceremony was attended by Communist Party and government officials in Matanzas province as well as renowned figures of the world of culture, members of the diplomatic community, particularly from African and Ibero-American nations.
June 17, 2009, 11:27 am– http://www.cubainformacion.tv/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=10305&Itemid=65
Nicolás Guillén, poet (1902-1989), on AfroCubaWeb, cites Olabiyi Yai as a Guillen scholar.
Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai – Biography
Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai is Chairman of UNESCO’s Executive Board
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaí¯ elected Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board, 11/07
Box 1054, Arlington, MA 02474
acw_AT_afrocubaweb.com [replace _AT_ with @]
From April 18 to 24 in 1955, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Indian Prime Minster J. Nehru attended the Asian-African Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia. With the joint efforts, the 29-nation conference set forth 10 principles of peaceful existence and developing friendly cooperation. On April 24, Premier Zhou Enlai, Vice-Premier Chen Yi and Prime Minister J. Nehru as well as other Asian and African leaders were attending a reception.
I decided to wait until all the comments on my paper Port of Spain Declaration: A Critical Analysis were posted before making a global response. Four comments were received – those by Norman and Yash in this exchange and two others – by Wendy Lee and Margaret Gill – (Wendy’s contribution is posted on the website, Margaret’s is not) in two separate, parallel e-mail exchanges. Notwithstanding the several important points made by Norman and Yash (which I discuss below), it is my opinion that only Wendy’s and Margaret’s contribution grasped the essential issue involved – sustainable development.
Wendy posed the crucially important question “How can we get decision-makers to absorb and act on the information that is so readily available about sustainable development IMPERATIVES, including critical ecological requirements, instead of pursuing the same old false, unjust and unsustainable models?” Margaret identified another key aspect (one that I explored in the paper) – how do we inform and educate the Caricom public on that essential issue.
At this late stage of the fifty year old US-CUBA political strife, reasonable individuals would assume that those charged with inflicting pain, suffering and destruction on the Cuban people, would have concluded that their despicable task have come to an end, that the game is over, and as good sportsmen, they would retreat to their burrows and accept defeat with dignity.Doing what is right would have earned these Cuba-haters at least a few milligrams of sympathy, but it is now clear, that such principles are not part of their genetic make-up nor their life values.
Today, we were introduced to Dr. Jose Azel’s treatise. ‘Fidel Plays the Race Card’, Cuba Transition Project 6/16/09 ctp.iccas@MIAMI.EDU in which his mimetic, new found love for Afro-Cubans living in Cuba without family members overseas sending remittances, broke his heart. He is also profoundly offended by Castro casting himself once again as Robin Hood, with sinister overtones.
What this opportunist fails to include in his article, is that he is part of this multi-pronged effort to incite racial division, strife and a potentially dangerous racial confrontation without lines of demarcation, in such a highly mixed society.Like many others bent on squeezing out every penny out of US-AID, CIA and front foundations willing to pump millions of dollars into every fake organization purporting to be fighting the Cuban government, they are required to present a bio, a body of dirty work against Cuba to support their job application and approval.
Clever, educated and able to use some extra cash, why should Dr. Azel not build up his standing among his peers and future employers, by regularly compiling and publishing tendentious fact sheets as others do?
Key in this chain of command is Mr. Frank Calzon, who has not being indicted as yet, notwithstanding his closest aid, Felix Sixto sits in prison for the next six years, for depleting and pocketing nearly half a million dollars earmarked for their ‘Freedom Fighters’ in Cuba.
Still, the most disgraceful trait of this band of opportunists, is their shameless attempt to exploit real, unresolved problems that seriously affect the wellbeing of tens of thousands of Afro-Cubans, by pretending to be their benefactors, when most who are familiar with our convulsive history since our forceful arrival on these shores, are acutely aware of who our real tormentors are.
Beautifully laid out, are Dr. Azel’s bio-statistics of the Cuban government breakdown, is sublimely presented to draw a parallel with the racist, apartheid South Africa government, which by the way, most of them wholeheartedly supported and many fought alongside their defense forces.
Pitifully invoking the name of their newly coined poster boy, Dr. Elias Biscet and proudly reminding us of his Presidential Medal of Freedom, I wonder, as so many other Cuban dissidents who decided after time to set up shop in south Florida, if Dr. Biscet will be a welcome guest in his neighborhood, his home or as other Afro-Cubans, he will be confined and forced to find refuge in Allapath, Overtown, Parramore, Cabrina Greens or any of the hundreds of Ghettos reserved for Blacks and other minorities across the United States?
Has Dr Azel evolved at such an astronomic speed, that he no longer thinks and acts like his proud ancestors, who brag of having kept their puppet President Fulgencio Batista out of their exclusive Havana Yacht Club, Nat King Cole forced to use the kitchen door at the Hotel Nacional to perform, or when the Kasalta restaurant marked the border, beyond which, Afro-Cubans could not go after dark, without being escorted out Miramar by their private security guards?
Can any of these south Floridian, right-wing Cuban-Americans, suddenly enamored with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and staunch supporters of the Civil Rights Movement, present any document, pictures, newspaper articles or oral history, demonstrating that any one of them supported or was ever near any of these history changing developments in the early 60’s, when they enjoyed privileges denied to all blacks in the United States?
Although Cuban-Americans since the early 60’s had wide access to radio and print media in the US, never, did anyone of these upper class, rich, powerful individuals, with ample access to the highest level of the US government, ever uttered a word on behalf of blacks, whose flesh was ripped apart by attack dogs, lynched by supremacists, incarcerated in mass and murdered with impunity.
Thanks, but no Thanks, is all we can say to Dr. Azel and thousands like him, who are skillfully resorting to mimetic tactics, trying to inflame our sentiments, fight the Cuban government and hand them in a silver platter, a country they have proven to be genetically unfit to fight for by themselves.
June 18, 2009
“Imposing Conditions, O.A.S. Lifts Its Suspension of Cuba” heads the New York Times story; whilst the, InterPress Service (IPS) says ” OAS Opens Doors to Cuba without conditions’. Which is correct?
I strongly believe that all public policies, actions, and decisions would benefit greatly from a critical examination and that the more searching the examination, the healthier would be the society concerned and the better the quality of its democracy. I also firmly believe that such criticism is useful and valuable to the extent that it is complemented by suggestions or proposals for alternative policies/actions which are demonstrably or, at least, arguably better than those criticized.
A given public policy or action may be criticized for one or more justifiable reasons but unless that policy or action can be shown to be worse than adopting no policy or undertaking no action at all on the particular matter, and if the person who criticizes it is unable to propose feasible alternatives which are demonstrably/arguably better than the one criticized, he/she should acknowledge the possibility that the policy/action in question might be the least worse option available to the authority and, as such, does not merit outright condemnation. I have always tried to apply that principle to any criticism I make on all issues I examine, whether they concern public policy or not. It is a principle that I applied in this paper, which criticizes quite severely many if not most of the policies and actions advocated in the Port of Spain Declaration of Commitment.
Please allow me to express my disgust and apologize publicly to the United States Congressional Black Caucus on behalf of Cubans in general, Afro-Cubans in particular and especially in the name of those lured to Cuba from the English Speaking Caribbean islands at the turn of the XX Century, who were subjected to brutal racism, segregation, exploitation and forced to live in Soweto-type slums across that country….
Barack Obama dominates his Republican rivals here in the United States, but the international arena is a different venue, entirely. There, Obama carries the baggage of American presidents past â€“ and any new encumbrances he might pick up on his own. Certainly, in a heads up against Cuba, the United States finds it nearly impossible to claim the moral high-ground. ” One cannot ignore that unlike in the US, Cuba regards education, healthcare and employment as rights, not privileges. It is fairly common knowledge that Cuba provides free education, from pre-k up to the university level, and healthcare to all its citizens is completely free of charge.”…