Ten years of teaching and learning

(Taken from CubaDebate)

“HELLO, President” began broadcasting on May 23, 1999. On that same date this year, Chávez was in Ecuador celebrating the 187th anniversary of the Battle of Pichincha. Tomorrow, celebrations to commemorate the program’s tenth anniversary will begin.

The case of Hugo Chávez is an exceptional one in the history of politics. Others have achieved fame and celebrity through the written press, on the radio or television, but never has a revolutionary idea made such efficient use of a communications media. In the Bolivarian Revolution’s epic struggle, if it hadn’t been for this program, imperialism and the oligarchy would have destroyed the Revolution in Venezuela with its almost absolute control of the mass media, its slander and lies.

I have made a conservative calculation that in those ten years, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has dedicated 1,536 hours, the equivalent of 64 full days, to a program for informing and educating the nation.

In that unending exchange, he has been teaching and learning, educating and being educated by the people. He has read, acquired and transmitted knowledge. He has studied and recommended books, remembering the rich history of his country, the struggles and prophetic dreams of Bolivar, many of whose speeches he knew by heart.

“Hello, Mr. President” became a program for Venezuela and for those of us on this planet who want to know what is happening and what may happen. As part of my weekly agenda, I dedicate some time to “Hello.”

The most encouraging thing is that the modest and combative people of Venezuela are increasingly showing their support for Chávez. A growing number of workers and youths are joining the revolutionary ranks. He is winning the battle of ideas.

Close relatives tell me that he is in good health and that they have never seen him more enthusiastic and dynamic; he runs for 40 minutes every day and has lost several pounds in weight in the past month. We are glad. He has been a great friend in the difficult days for the Revolution. We have resisted and we shall steadfastly continue to resist. Today we have more reasons than ever to do so.

Fidel Castro Ruz
May 27, 2009
8:37 p.m.



Five days ago I read a press report stating that Ban Ki-moon would appoint Bill Clinton as his special envoy for Haiti.
According to the report, Clinton accompanied the Secretary General on a two-day official visit to Haiti on March last in order to support the development program that had been designed by the government of Port of Prince, aimed at awakening the lethargic Haitian economy.
The report stated that the ex president had maintained a remarkable philanthropic commitment with the Caribbean nation through the Clinton Global Initiative.
It likewise stated that the ex president had said he was honored to accept the Secretary General’s invitation to become the special envoy for Haiti.
Clinton reportedly stated that the people and the government of Haiti had the capacity to recover from the serious damages caused by the four tropical storms that devastated that country last year.
The day after, the same news agency reported that Mrs. Clinton, the Secretary of State, had said with joy that Bill was an outstanding envoy.  The UN Secretary General was said to confirm Clinton’s appointment as his new special envoy for Haiti.  He said they both had been together in that country and that Clinton’s presence had helped to raise awareness within the international community on the problems facing that Caribbean nation.
He added that the UN was afraid that, after a period of several years of a relative calm, propped up by the MINUSTAH, political instability could set in the country again.
The new press report repeats again the story of the four hurricanes and storms that caused 900 deadly casualties, left 800 000 victims, and destroyed the scarce civil infrastructure that existed in that country.
The history of Haiti and its tragedy is far more complex.

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Torture can never be justified

He then gives an account of terrorist attacks on the United States over the past 16 years, both inside and outside its borders, listing half a dozen of them.

Cheney’s problem was to broach the thorny issue of torture, so frequently condemned by official U.S. policy.

“Nine-eleven made necessary a shift of policy, aimed at a clear strategic threat – what the Congress called “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”… We were determined to prevent attacks in the first place,” he stated.

He mentioned the number of people who lost their lives on September 11. He compares it to the attack on Pearl Harbor. He does not explain why the complex action was relatively easy to organize, what previous intelligence reports Bush possessed, or what he could have done to avoid it. Bush had been president for almost eight months. It is well-known that he worked very little and rested a lot. He was constantly going off to his ranch in Texas.

“al-Qaeda was seeking nuclear technology, and A. Q. Khan was selling nuclear technology on the black market. We had the anthrax attack from an unknown source. We had the training camps of Afghanistan, and dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.

“As you might recall, I was in my office in that first hour, when radar caught sight of an airliner heading toward the White House at 500 miles an hour. That was Flight 77, the one that ended up hitting the Pentagon. With the plane still inbound, Secret Service agents came into my office and said we had to leave, now. A few moments later I found myself in a fortified White House command post somewhere down below.”

Cheney’s version makes it clear that nobody had foreseen that situation and he pays lip service to U.S. pride in assuming that someone holed up in a cave some 15,000 or 20,000 kilometers away could force the president of the United States to occupy his command post in the White House basement.

“In the years since,” Cheney goes on, “I’ve heard occasional speculation that I’m a different man after 9/11. I wouldn’t say that. But I’ll freely admit that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on our country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.

“But since wars cannot be won on the defensive, we moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and sanctuaries.

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Cuba is proud to be outside of the OAS

CARACAS, May 25 (PL).— Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez said today that his country is very proud to be outside of the Organization of American States (OAS), a mechanism he described as anachronistic.

In talks with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, after a meeting of foreign ministers of the ALBA bloc (Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America), Rodríguez affirmed that Cuba does not need to be a member of the OAS.

There is no discussion about Cuba’s re-entry into the OAS, which historically has been an instrument of the United States, and still is today, Rodríguez stated.

The foreign minister affirmed that it is time for the new era that has opened up in Latin America and the Caribbean to spread to the OAS.

“One way or another, the OAS is totally anachronistic; it serves other interests, and we feel that our path, Cuba’s path, is one of Latin American and Caribbean integration, without a presence from outside the continent,” the minister emphasized.

It is in relation to that principle that Cuba observed with great interest and hopes the processes in Salvador de Bahía in December and other important meetings where Latin American and Caribbean integration was established as a principle, and a perspective was opened up in this respect, he noted.

“That is why I think that this meeting of the ALBA today has been a fruitful and productive one, not just because of the discussion of these issues on the international agenda, but in our own process of genuine autochthonous integration, of our peoples and of our governments, who are working for our peoples and not for the empire,” he concluded.

The shameful history of the OAS (Part 1)

The shameful history of the OAS (Part 1) May 22, 2009
• Emergence and development of the Organization of American
States • Its role in the region • Inter-American complicity in U.S. aggression against the Cuban people • Raul Roa’s battle for dignity • The OAS must be dismantled as the only liberating option for today • Cuba will never rejoin

Oscar Sánchez Serra

SINCE its take-off as a nation, the United States of America has always countered the ideology of Latin American unity and integration with its pretensions for continental domination, an ambition expressed on December 2, 1823 in the famous Monroe Doctrine and synthesized in the phrase: “America for the Americans.” It was not until the final quarter of the 19th century that that philosophy could be put into practice, when the unprecedented growth of its national industry transformed the United States into a rapidly rising power, with which it proposed not only domination of the continent but to launch itself into the battle for a new division of the world.

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There are not two different opinions on the A H1N1 issue.

I unhesitatingly supported the decision adopted by the Revolutionary Government of Cuba as soon as it got news of the epidemic.

Our country has accumulated a significant experience in the protection of our people in cases of disasters, epidemics, plagues and other similar situations whether natural, accidental or intentional.

Our unchangeable policy of cooperation with other peoples has also been proven.

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Earlier, when I wrote the Reflection published today in Cubadebate and the National TV News, I had not read a report issued in Mexico by Mark Stevenson and David Koop and ran by AP, the main U.S. cable press agency.

Of course, it was not intended to prove me right when it repeated several times that I had accused Mexico of hiding the epidemic until Obama’s visit to Mexico had concluded.

I went on to read the press dispatch thanks to the bulletins that bring news from the international press which were not included in the 326 pages published yesterday by the press agencies accredited in Cuba.

It is an AP article of particular interest at this moment. What does it say exactly?

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