Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube Conspire to Censor Online Content

Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube Conspire to Censor Online Content

by Stephen Lendman

Powerful interests in America threaten alternative sources of news, information and opinion. 

Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube announced plans for a joint Internet censorship database on the phony pretext of eliminating “extremist content.”

Their scheme threatens media and speech freedom, likely aiming for sanitized online content only, independent views censored, threatening writers like myself and many others.

Reporting and opinions diverging from mainstream views risk being labeled “fake news” or “extremist content,” a slippery slope toward undermining First Amendment rights altogether.

The above companies and other IT ones agreed on a code of conduct, pledging they’ll work with the European Commission (the EU executive body) to “sanction (and) criminalize individual perpetrators (of) hate speech” online.

The EU threatened “non-legislative” action if online “fake news” and “hate speech” aren’t removed in 24 hours - censorship legislation to follow if the “non-legislative approach” fails.

The new database is expected to be operating by early 2017 - complicit IT companies collaborating against online speech and media freedom. 

On Tuesday, tech giants involved said they “hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies to help curb the pressing global issue of terrorist content online” - meaning whatever America’s deep state wants censored.

Pre-WW II Louisiana governor, senator and presidential aspirant Huey Long said fascism will arrive here “wrapped in the American flag.” In his book “Friendly Fascism,” Bertram Gross described a slow, powerful, “drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government,” Big Brother alliance.

In the 1930s, famed investigative journalist George Seldes saw it coming, expressing concern over “merchants of death” weapons and munitions makers, saying the “healthfulness of the(ir) business depends on slaughter. The more wars,” the more profits.

Novelist Sinclair Lewis said it’ll come during hard times, led by a charismatic, self-styled populist champion exploiting human misery.

Norwegian sociologist/mathematician Johan Galtung correctly predicted the 1979 Iranian revolution, the Soviet Union’s dissolution, various economic crises and the 9/11 attacks.

He now anticipates the demise of America’s imperial project by 2020, its global preeminence ended, fascism taking hold, resulting from endless US wars, along with unsustainable economic, social, military and political contradictions, its government headed for collapse, led by a “strong leader” - Trump.

Yet “(i)f he manages to apologize deeply to all the groups he has insulted and turns foreign policy (away) from US interventions (and endless) wars, a major revitalization” is possible…We’ll see,” said Galtung.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Obama's Criminal Legacy


Obama’s Criminal Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

America and humanity are far worse off after nearly eight years of Obama’s high crimes.

Long ago, he should have been impeached, removed from office, prosecuted, sentenced and imprisoned long-term - his domestic and foreign partners in crime along with him.

He waged war OF terror on Americans and millions worldwide, countless numbers grievously harmed, many massacred by US wars of aggression, raping and destroying one country after another, peace and stability considered anathema.

He addressed national security and counterterrorism to a Tampa, FL military audience at MacDill Air Force Base, home to CENTCOM and US Special Operations Command.

Obama: “By the time I took office, the United States had been at war for seven years.”

Fact: America has been “at war” every year in its history from inception - at home and/or abroad.

Obama: “For eight years that I’ve been in office, there has not been a day when a terrorist organization or some radicalized individual was not plotting to kill Americans.”

Fact: The United States created and supports virtually all terrorist groups, using ISIS and likeminded ones as imperial foot soldiers.

Obama: “(W)e did not choose this fight, but once it came to us, the world saw the measure of our resolve.”

Fact: All US wars were ones of choice. No country anywhere threatened America since Japan formally surrendered in August 1945. 

Fact: US wars are waged to advance its imperium, wanting all sovereign independent governments replaced by pro-Western vassal states, seeking unchallenged global dominance, willing to risk destroying planet earth to control it, its resources and populations.

Obama: “The most solemn responsibility for any president is keeping the American people safe.”

Fact: They’re far less safe than any previous time in my lifetime.

Obama: “(W)e have been able, during these eight years to protect our homeland, to strike crippling blows against terrorist networks, and fortify our friends and allies.”

Fact: US inner city communities are battlegrounds. Militarized police are licensed to kill accountably. America supports terrorism, using death squads to further its interests.

Obama: “…I have…insisted that it is unwise and unsustainable to ask our military to build nations on the other side of the world…”

Fact: US foreign policy prioritizes it, wanting all nations subservient to Washington’s interests.

Fact: Wherever America shows up, genocide, mass destruction and appalling human misery follow.

Obama: “Dozens of terrorist leaders have been killed. Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Fact: Russia, Syria and their allies get full credit for waging REAL war on terrorism. Obama didn’t kill Osama. In December 2001, he died of natural causes, widely reported at the time.

Obama: “(W)e took the fight to ISIL in both Iraq and Syria…hit(ting) ISIL with over 16,000 airstrikes.”

America and its so-called coalition partners struck vital infrastructure and government sites, along with residential areas, hospitals, schools, mosques and other nonmilitary targets in Syria and Iraq since 2014 - not ISIS or other terrorist groups they support.

Obama: “ISIL has lost more than half its territory…The bottom line is we are breaking the back of ISIL.”

Fact: Syria, Russia, Iraq and their allies made significant gains against ISIS and other terrorist groups - in stark contrast to Washington’s support for this scourge.

Fact: Obama claimed credit for successfully combating terrorism in war theaters where Washington supports these groups - providing weapons, munitions, funding, training and direction, teaching them the fine art of committing atrocities, as well as use of chemical and other banned weapons.

Fact: Every so-called terrorist attack in America and much of Europe in recent memory was state-sponsored - false flags, deceptively claimed otherwise to scare populations into sacrificing fundamental freedoms for alleged greater security never gotten.

Obama: “We should take great pride in the progress that we’ve made over the last eight years. That’s the bottom line.”

Eight years of Obama’s tenure reflect a great leap backwards. America is neither fit or safe to live in.

It’s on a slippery slope toward full-blown tyranny, perhaps another major false flag away, ending remaining freedoms altogether.

Deep state power brokers running things may plan it this way. The worst of their pure evil could emerge any time.

Obama betrayed Americans and humanity, disgracing the office he hold. Will Trump go another way? Is he strong-willed enough to try?

Will whatever he does make a difference? As long as America’s deep state wants its interests served exclusively, the nation and world will remain a very dangerous place, no one well-served or safe anywhere.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

The NYT Can't Accept the Idea of US Defeat in Aleppo

The NYT Can’t Accept the Idea of US Defeat in Aleppo

by Stephen Lendman

After years of fighting, the city is nearly entirely liberated, most US-backed terrorists agreeing to surrender, in return for safe passage to Idlib province.

The battle for Aleppo could be over in days, except perhaps for mopping up operations. Instead of acknowledging America’s humiliating defeat at the hands of Syria, Russia and allied forces, The Times merely said “Syrian forces (are) driv(ing) deeper into rebel-held Aleppo.”

No rebels exist. All anti-government forces are US-backed terrorists, imported from scores of countries, doing America’s killing and dying for it. Of late, mostly dying.

The Times claimed “rebel leaders” dispute claims about being routed by government and allied forces. Reliable sources said they’re negotiating surrender, details perhaps completed in two days. 

Thousands of US-backed terrorists agreed to stop fighting and leave the city. Dozens of buses will transport them out, their safety guaranteed.

The Times: “Rebels were asking for all civilians who wished to leave to be given safe passage to rebel-held areas…(They) asked for safe passage to the countryside in” northern Aleppo province.

Fact: Virtually all civilians want freedom from US-backed terrorists’ captivity, forcibly held as human shields, brutally abused, many perishing at their hands.

None want transfer to other terrorist-held areas. Mostly, they want to go home once it’s safe.

The Times: “(R)ebel groups in Aleppo…called for a five-day humanitarian ceasefire and for the evacuation of about 500 people in need of emergency medical care, under UN supervision with security guarantees. Only then (will they) discuss a settlement.”

Fact: They’ve been negotiating surrender for days or weeks. No humanitarian ceasefire is being considered until Aleppo is fully cleared of its terrorist infestation. 

Fact: Syria, Russia and their allies alone are providing humanitarian aid, including medical care as needed. US-led Western countries, the UN and regional rogues states offered none.

The Times: “Once the humanitarian situation has been alleviated in Aleppo city, the parties concerned can negotiate the future of the city,” quoting an alleged statement by US-backed terrorists.

Fact: They already surrendered, final details alone to be resolved, Aleppo nearly freed from its scourge.

The Times: Terrorists’ “bargaining power is shrinking with their territory…”

Fact: No bargaining power remains. Terrorists have a choice - surrender and leave Aleppo or remain and die.

Syrian parliamentarian Fares Chehabi tweeted “(t)he Syrian army is about to end the largest & the longest hostage crisis in history by liberating all of E Aleppo.”

The Nazi siege of Leningrad lasted from September 8, 1941 - January 27, 1944 (2 years, 4 months and 5 days), 642,000 civilians held hostage. Nearly a quarter of a million perished.

US-backed terrorists seized Aleppo on July 19, 2012 - nearly four-and-a-half years ago, the number of residents affected uncertain.

The city’s population based on 2004 census data was around 2.1 million - less than half that number today in government and terrorists’ areas.

A US, UK, French, German, Italian and Canadian joint statement said “a humanitarian disaster is taking place before our very eyes,” disgracefully blaming liberating Syria and Russian forces for their high crimes throughout years of conflict nationwide.

The Times: “Rebels (sic) say (Russian/Syrian established humanitarian corridors) are not safe and that some civilians are afraid to leave for fear of arrest or conscription once they reach government territory.”

Fact: Corridors freed from terrorist attacks are safe for civilians to flee captivity to safety in government secured areas.

The Times and other media scoundrels support all US wars of aggression and others planned - ignoring its high crimes, along with enormous pain and suffering of victims.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Aleppo Largely Liberated

Aleppo Largely Liberated

by Stephen Lendman

News from Syria is the most encouraging since Obama launched naked aggression in March 2011 - using ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups as imperial foot soldiers.

On December 7, Fars News headlined “Syrian Army On Verge of Epoch-Making Victory in Aleppo,” saying:

“Aleppo is to be announced a completely liberated city by the Syrian army any moment now after hundreds of terrorists surrendered to the Syrian army at the end of daylong secret talks with government officials in Eastern Aleppo, while the remaining few hundreds under a now very tight siege have agreed to the Damascus terms to evacuate the city in less than two days.”

On December 6, AMN News headlined “Jihadist rebels surrender almost all of east Aleppo.” Syrian and allied forces overwhelmed them. A last attempted counteroffensive at Karm Al-Maysar and Karm Al-Qaterjy failed.

A reported Russian/Turkish agreement was reached for remaining terrorist pockets to surrender. A Syrian army source said they’ll start leaving Aleppo in two days.

Their web sites and social media comments acknowledged defeat, saying “we are losing Aleppo but we will fight in other places.” 

According to Russia’s reconciliation center spokesman Colonel Alexei Leshchenko, “(a)fter long and difficult negotiations, a ceasefire agreement with the militants was reached. The talks were very tense and required a lot of moral effort.”

Around 3,000 US-backed terrorists surrendered, granted safe passage with family members to Idlib province. Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen television reported government forces freeing Aleppo’s historic city center from their control. 

Tass said 80% of Aleppo is in government hands. On Wednesday, pockets of terrorists continued shelling western parts of the city, likely not much longer.

A major battle appears won. Lots more fighting remains to liberate Syria entirely. 

At a Tuesday NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, John Kerry said Aleppo’s “fall…will not change the fundamental underlying complexity of this war. If Assad takes over Aleppo, is the war going to end? No” - sounding very much like Obama intends continued military support for ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria.

Key is whether Trump intends ending it, cooperating with Russia in combating terrorism as he suggested while campaigning.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

NYT and WaPo Promote Ways to Dump Trump

NYT and WaPo Promote Ways to Dump Trump

by Stephen Lendman

Scoundrel media anti-Trump bias was scandalous throughout the 2015-16 political season -  unprecedented support for one candidate, Hillary, while inventing reasons to bash him.

Nothing in my memory since the 1940s approaches the disgraceful coverage during this political season’s race for the White House, concluded with Trump’s surprise November triumph few expected.

It’s over. He won. Hillary lost. Let it rest. Results won’t change. He’ll succeed Obama on January 20. Yet media scoundrels won’t quit - nor Hillary supporter Jill Stein, continuing her futile recount scam going nowhere, on the phony pretext of seeking “electoral integrity.”

On December 6, The NYT asked “how would the electoral college dump Donald Trump?” Recounts won’t work. “That leaves one last-ditch opportunity to bar (him) from the White House” - the Electoral College.

Suggesting it is advocacy, wanting November’s result overturned, endorsing a coup d’etat, making democracy in America more fantasy-like than already.

All it takes is for 37 electors to withhold support. If neither he nor Hillary gets 270 Electoral College votes, House representatives get to choose from the three leading electoral vote-getters. Republican control means they’ll likely go for Trump.

“Hillary won’t win (but if) faithless Republican and Democrat electors agree on (an alternate) Republican,” Trump might be dumped, said The Times.

Nothing approaching this scheme ever happened before in the aftermath of a US election. The Times admitted pulling it off is “a moon shot.” Suggesting it borders on sedition or treason.

The Washington Post suggested a similar scheme. Like The Times, it’s practically promoting the dumping of Trump, saying “Democrats’ best chance to prevent (him) from assuming the presidency is (by) throw(ing) their support behind another Republican…”

WaPo suggested Mitt Romney as one example, 2012 GOP nominee, not a candidate in 2016. If at least 37 Trump electors can be persuaded to dump him for an alternate choice, House members get to choose Obama’s successor.

Admitting the scheme “is a fool’s errand” begs the obvious question. Why suggest it in the first place, especially because it’s tantamount to undermining how things turned out - the way banana republic elections are orchestrated.

Suggesting “Trump poses a unique threat to the republic” is repugnant given no evidence suggesting it. He’s held no previous public office on which to judge him.

Nor has he begun serving as president. He hasn’t done anything yet, other than announce cabinet and other administration officials, most subject to Senate confirmation.

Judge him on policies he institutes once in office, not on disappointment over Hillary’s defeat.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Besieged Gazans Tormented by Israeli Viciousness

Besieged Gazans Tormented by Israeli Viciousness

by Stephen Lendman

Two million Gazans endure deplorable conditions under Israel’s siege, the UN saying the territory may be “unlivable” by 2020. 

It’s been this way for the past decade under siege, humanitarian crisis conditions exacting a horrendous toll, hugely exacerbated by three Israeli wars of aggression since late December 2008, the most recent one in summer 2014.

Gaza’s health system is woefully inadequate, unable to treat serious illnesses properly. Siege prevents most residents from seeking it elsewhere.

Those allowed out endure a bureaucratic nightmare for permission, often taking months to get, while serious illnesses go untreated.

Earlier I wrote about a woman with pancreatic cancer, needing surgery, unable to get it, saying “(a)t first, there was hope that I would be given an operation, but as time went by I stopped hoping. I am in pain and I know all too well that my disease is life threatening.”

She’s one of many examples. On December 5, the Electronic Intifada (EI) reported on Gaza women with breast cancer unable to get Israeli permission for treatment in Israel or elsewhere abroad.

“Israel is killing me slowly,” said Khuloud Abu Qamar. “And it is killing my children, too.” She had breast cancer surgery last year. Further needed treatment is unavailable in Gaza. She needs it elsewhere.

“Her applications have so far been rejected,” said EI. “Her plight is shared by many others in Gaza. Estimates from the local health ministry indicate that several hundred women with breast cancer have been obstructed from traveling by Israel so far this year” alone.

Suffering with breast cancer, 25-year-old Alaa Masoud said “I don’t want to die. I want to see my baby grow up to be a lovely young man.”

Israel tries blackmailing ill Gazans, granted travel permission for medical treatment in return for becoming Shin Bet informants.

Most refuse, breast cancer patient Dalia Abu Skhaila, saying “(d)ying in Gaza is much easier than betraying my people and country.”

“Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in Gaza, according to the health ministry,” EI explained. In 2015 alone, “(a)lmost 750 cases…were detected.”

Nearly a decade of Israeli siege imposes enormous hardships on Gazans. Medicines and hospital equipment are woefully inadequate.

“The problems facing the health ministry here are obvious,” said Rafah-based European Hospital oncology department head Dr. Ahmed El Shorafa.

“They are caused by the shortages in money and equipment. We need more medical centers and more staff to provide health education in all parts of Gaza,” he said.

Trapped by Israeli viciousness, seriously ill Gazans suffer and die for lack of treatment only available outside the Strip.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

An Extended Tribute to Fidel

An Extended Tribute to Fidel

by Stephen Lendman

Below are the articles I wrote daily following his passing, throughout the official nine-day mourning period until he was laid to rest on December 4.

It’s my way to honor his dedication to Cubans and humanity. Fidel was the most extraordinary figure of my lifetime. It’s hard imagining he’s no longer with us. His spirit remain eternal.

Articles began on November 26, continuing daily through December 4. A concluding article, written days before Fidel’s death, asked if Trump intends ending 56 years of illegal embargo.

Fidel Castro Ruz Passes, An Era Ends

by Stephen Lendman

He’s gone. His revolutionary spirit lives. He redoubtably resisted yankee imperialism for half a century, surviving hundreds of US attempts to kill him and the revolution he led.

He withstood the machinations of 11 US administrations, from Dwight Eisenhower to Obama - leading Cuba from January 1959 to his February 2008 retirement for health reasons, passing the baton to brother Raul while remaining intellectually active and influential to the end.

Washington dominated Cuba from the William McKinley era to the Eisenhower administration. Fidel liberated it, transformed it from a mafia-infested brothel to a populist state serving all its people, providing benefits most Americans can’t imagine.

Article 50 of Cuba’s Constitution mandates “the right to health protection and care” for everyone.

By “providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers.”

“(F)ree dental care. Promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccination and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease.”

“All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations.”

Cuban healthcare is among the world’s best, shaming America’s pay or die system, with double the number of physicians per 1,000 population as its northern neighbor.

Article 51 guarantees free universal education to the highest levels - for children, youths and adults. Cuba’s Constitution states:

“Everybody has a right to education. This right is guaranteed by the extensive and free system of schools, part-time boarding schools, boarding schools and scholarships in all types and at all levels of education, by the free provision of school materials to every child and young person regardless of the economic situation of the family, and by the provision of courses suited to the student’s aptitude, the requirements of society and the needs of economic and social development.”

Castro virtually eliminated illiteracy. Students learn math, reading, the sciences, arts, humanities, social responsibility, civics and participatory citizenship.

They’re taught skills to make them productive citizens - able to contribute to national development.

In one of his “reflections,” Fidel said “(w)e have a powerful…adversary, our closest neighbor: the United States…There is no greater price than capitulating to an enemy…(I)ts relegation to the dustbin of history will not be delayed.”

“Would it not be preferable to struggle to produce food and industrial products; build hospitals and schools for billions of human beings who desperately need them; promote art and culture; struggle against epidemics which lead to the death of half of the sick, health workers and technicians, as can be seen; or finally eliminate illnesses like cancer, Ebola, malaria, dengue, chikungunya, diabetes and others which affect the vital systems of human beings?”

“Just ideas will triumph, or disaster will triumph,” he stressed. Gone at age 90, an earlier article said his intellect remained keen, his judgment sound and passion for keeping Cuba free from US dominance uncompromising to the end.

Last March, he said “(w)e don’t need the empire to give us anything. Our efforts will be legal and peaceful, because our commitment is to peace and fraternity among all human beings who live on this planet” - anathema to America’s ruling class.

On August 13, he began his 10th decade. In an article honoring him on his 90th birthday, I said he represent(ed) redoubtable resistance against imperial repression, exploitation and ruthlessness.

Legendary in his own time, one day he’ll be immortalized more than already. On Friday evening at 10:29 PM Havana time, he drew his last breath. Now he belongs to the ages.

Media Scoundrels on Fidel Castro’s Passing

by Stephen Lendman

They spend over half a century denigrating him - now dancing on his grave to their shame.

NYT: “Mr. Castro brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere…briefly push(ing) the world to the brink of nuclear war” - The Times calling him “a self-obsessed zealot” for good measure, along with other insults.

Neocon Washington Post: “Fidel Castro, Cuban dictator, dies at 90…Under (his leadership), Havana became something of a Marxist Disneyland - a shiny, happy veneer over something much uglier.”

Wall Street Journal: “Castro inspired millions with his promises of justice and progress but presided over an oppressive state.”

Chicago Tribune: “Cuba’s Fidel Castro, who defied US for 50 years, dies at 90” - the Tribune publishing an AP News account of his death, largely denigrating him while calling him “an inspiration and source of support to revolutionaries from Latin America to Africa.”

Reuters: “A towering figure of the second half of the 20th century, (Castro) built a communist state on the doorstep of the United States…”

Los Angeles Times: “For Cubans in Miami, Castro’s death prompts revelry and reflection.”

CNN: “Crowds flood streets of Miami’s Little Havana to cheer Castro’s death.”

ABC News: “Cuban-Americans Fill the Streets of Miami’s Little Havana to Celebrate Fidel Castro’s Death.”

NBC News: “Castro antagonized 11 United States presidents and cast a uniquely long shadow over American politics.”

CBS News: “Fidel Castro, Cuba’s fiery former leader, dead at 90…Little Havana…cheer(s), danc(es) and wav(es) Cuban flags.”

Miami Herald: “No other individual has ever tormented Washington more or longer.”

BBC: “As communist regimes collapsed across the world, Castro kept the red flag flying on the doorstep of his greatest enemy, the United States.”

London Guardian: “The comandante overthrew Batista, established a communist state and survived countless American assassination attempts…bringing an end to an era for the country, Latin America and world.”

Al Jazeera: “(T)he Cuban revolutionary leader who built a communist state on the doorstep of the US, has died aged 90.”

I was a graduate student when he liberated Cuba from US-supported tyrannical rule. I recall his September 1960 New York visit, heading Cuba’s UN delegation, climaxed by his world body address.

He came as a man of peace, not confrontation, saying Cubans lacked freedom “for quite some time,” adding “(i)t has not been easy for us to come here…to state the problems of Cuba,” and receive hostile treatment in New York, including “notice(s) to all hotels not to rent rooms to us…”

“(A) Negro hotel in Harlem offered to rent us rooms,” despite a State Department official “d(oing) all in his power to prevent our staying” there.

Before liberation, he called Cuba “a colony of the United States,” stealing its land, resources and fundamental freedoms.

“There was no independent republic. There was only a colony where orders were given by the ambassador of the United States,” he explained.

“(W)e are proud to say that today no embassy rules our country. Our country is ruled by its people…tyranny (forced) upon us” ended.

Castro explained deplorable conditions affecting Cubans under the Batista regime - including rampant poverty, mass unemployment, half the population without electricity, living in “huts, shacks and slums, without the slightest sanitary conditions,” illnesses left untreated, 95% of rural children affected by parasites, high infant mortality, “just the opposite of the average life span.”

Constitutionally mandated revolutionary change followed. Yankee imperialism yearns to regain control, a new generation of Cuban leadership hopefully up to the challenge to prevent it.

On November 28 and 29, Cubans nationwide are invited to honor Fidel by signing a “solemn oath of complying with the concept of the revolution.”

A mass gathering is planned in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution where Fidel often addressed huge crowds. On November 30, his ashes will be transported from Havana to Santiago - his revolution beginning with an unsuccessful July 1953 attack on the city’s Moncada army barracks.

His remains will be laid to rest where it all began. Millions worldwide join Cubans in mourning his passing. Rest in peace, Fidel.

World Leaders on Fidel Castro’s Passing

by Stephen Lendman

A time for mourning - for me and millions of others worldwide. Fidel was a revolutionary giant, a redoubtable anti-imperial force, an inspiring role model.

It’s hard accepting his passing. Things won’t be the same without him, even knowing his revolutionary spirit lives on. Obama issued a forked-tongue statement, saying “we extend a hand of friendship to the Cuban people” - refusing to lift the illegal embargo by executive order, no congressional authorization needed. 

The Clintons, along with turncoats Sanders and Stein remain silent as this is written.

Trump tweeted “Fidel Castro is dead!” A shameful statement followed, disgracefully calling 
Fidel “a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades” - ending by saying he “hope(s) one day soon seeing a free Cuba.” Outrageous!

Neocon congressional members Mitch McConnel, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Illeana Ros-Lehtcinen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ed Royce and others denigrated his passing.

Vladimir Putin “offered (his) deepest condolences to (Raul Castro) and the entire Cuban nation over the death of your brother, the leader of the Cuban revolution Fidel Castro.”

“The name of this remarkable statesman is rightfully viewed as a symbol of a whole era in modern history. Free and independent Cuba built by him and his fellow revolutionaries has become an influential member of the international community and serves as an inspiring example for many countries and peoples.”

“Fidel Castro was a sincere and reliable friend of Russia. He made a tremendous personal contribution to the establishment and progress of Russian-Cuban relations, close strategic partnership in all areas.”

“This strong and wise man always looked into the future with confidence. He embodied the high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot who wholeheartedly believed in the cause, to which he devoted his life. Russians will always cherish his memory in their hearts.”

“In this mournful hour, I ask you to pass on my words of sympathy and support to all members of your family. I wish you courage and tenacity as you face this irreparable loss.”

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said “(w)ithout exaggeration, a whole era of history is gone with Fidel Castro.”

Former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev said “Fidel stood up and strengthened his country during the harshest American blockade, when there was colossal pressure on him and he still took his country out of this blockade to a path of independent development. In the past years, even when Fidel Castro was not formally in power, his role in strengthening the country was huge.”

In a telegram to Raul Castro, Pope Francis said “(u)pon hearing the sad news…I express my sadness to your excellency and all family members of the deceased dignitary, as well as the government and the people in that beloved nation. At the same time, I offer my prayers for his eternal rest…”

China’s President Xi Jinping mourned the loss of a “dear comrade and true friend,” a man who made “immortal contributions to the development of socialism around the world.”

China’s official Xinhua News Agency headlined “Old Soldiers Never Die,” hailing Fidel as a leader who “resisted the American superpower for half a century.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro praised Fidel, saying “(t)o all revolutionaries of the world, we have to continue with his legacy and his flag of independence, of socialism, of homeland.”

“He made history together with the peoples of the world to signal a way of dignity...Great history with the principles of Bolivar and Marti. I just talked with President Raul Castro to send the solidarity and love to the people of Cuba before the passing of Commander Fidel Castro.”

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa called Fidel “a big one. Long live Cuba! Long Live Latin America.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales said “Fidel…devoted his life, his knowledge and his struggle not only to the Cuban people but to all the people of the world.”

UK Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Fidel “will be remembered both as an internationalist and a champion of social justice.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Fidel “one of the most iconic personalities of the 20th century. India mourns the loss of a great friend.”

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “offer(ed) condolences to the Cuban government, its people and family members.”

He was bigger than life, a legend in his own time, a monumental liberator, a giant among revolutionary leaders - going gentle into that good night not his style.

Cuba announced nine days of national mourning for their beloved leader now passed.

Fidel in His Own Words

by Stephen Lendman

My thoughts are on one topic above all others today, Fidel Castro’s passing, the end of an era, unknown what may follow but hopeful.

On national television Friday evening, Raul Castro announced his brother’s death, saying:

“With deep pain, I appear to inform our people, the friends of our America and the world that today, November 25, 2016, at 10:29 PM, the commander-in- chief of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro Ruz died” at age 90.

As he wished, his remains will be cremated and interred in Santiago, where his liberating revolution began. Beginning November 26, nine days of national mourning will continue through December 4.

According to Granma, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba, “(p)ublic activities and spectacles stand cancelled. The national flag will wave at half-mast in public buildings and military establishments. Radio and television will maintain an informative, patriotic and historical programming.”

On November 15, he was last seen publicly with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang at his home in Havana.

His last public appearance was on August 13 during events celebrating his 90th birthday at Havana’s Karl Marx Theater.

In April, at the VII Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba, he delivered his last public address, highlighting his revolutionary ideology and spirit. At the time, he said:

“We will all be in for our turn, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain, as proof that on this planet, if we work with fervor and dignity, we can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we must fight without ceasing to obtain them.”

He said “Marxism or scientific socialism is the revolutionary movement of the working class,” calling himself “a Marxist-Leninist…until the end of my life.” Some of his other memorable quotes, include saying:

“Condemn me. It does not matter. History will absolve me.”

“We will win this battle for life, and not only for your lives, but also for the lives of all children in the world.”

“Cuba is not opposed to finding a solution to its historical differences with the United States, but no one should expect Cuba to change its position or yield in its principles. Cuba is and will continue to be socialist. Cuba is and will continue to be a friend of the Soviet Union and of all the socialist states.”

“I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy. It is gross. It is alienating...because it causes war, hypocrisy and competition.”

“I am not a communist and neither is the revolutionary movement.”

“A revolution is a struggle to the death between the future and the past.”

“There is not Communism or Marxism, but representative democracy and social justice in a well-planned economy.”

“I began revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I’d do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.”

“North Americans don’t understand...that our country is not just Cuba; our country is also humanity.”

“Someday, the capitalist system will disappear in the United States, because no social class system has been eternal. One day, class societies will disappear.”

“I can assure you that my first and foremost interest is my country.”

“I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened.”

“We will all be in for our turn, but the ideas of the Cuban communists will remain, as proof that on this planet, if we work with fervor and dignity, we can produce the material and cultural goods that human beings need, and we must fight without ceasing to obtain them.”

He breathed his last on Friday evening, November 25. His spirit lives on forever.

Media Scoundrels Denigrate Fidel

by Stephen Lendman

Media scoundrels are masters of fake news, serving as press agents for wealth, power and privilege, including denigrating independent leaders, unwilling to bow to Washington’s will.

Fidel was heroic, a revolutionary giant, beloved by most Cubans, his agenda an antidote to governance of, by and for the privileged few alone, the way things are in America and most other societies.

When he ended tyrannical Batista rule, Cuba was “a country where there was (mass) unemployment, (mass impoverishment), (mass) illiteracy, (deplorable repression and human misery), and where one had to beg to get into a hospital,” he said in a September 1961 UN General Assembly address.

Thousands of children died for lack of vital medicines and treatment. “Yankee monopolies” and rich Cubans owned the land, preventing agrarian reform he instituted.

Cuba was a mafia-infested brothel, exploited for profit, resisters imprisoned or otherwise eliminated. Castro changed things, providing vital social services, including healthcare, education and employment, considered fundamental human rights. Imagine how much more was possible had illegal embargo not been imposed for 56 years.

The New York Times turned truth on its head, saying he ruled by “repression and fear that kept him and his totalitarian government in power for so long.” What rubbish, typical Times misreporting.

Neocon Washington Post editors deplorably called Cuba under Castro “a decrepit museum piece of Soviet-style totalitarianism.” Disgraceful! 

Wall Street Journal editors said his leadership was “murderous and tragic,” ludicrously describing pre-Castro Cuba as “relatively prosperous (with) a vibrant civic life,” making Batista-style tyranny sound like paradise.

Visiting Cuba at age 81, the late Gore Vidal said it was “so rare to see a contented people…no sullenness…We’ve seen the bad side of Cuba because we’re fed nothing else by the media.”

Fidel Castro “has been generally benign. The bloodcurdling stories we’ve been told by our government (and media are) not…true at all.”

Addressing a University of Havana audience, he said “(i)t gives me pleasure to be in a place full of hope.” In America, “people do not have the basic understanding of what they have lost. There has been a (duopoly power) coup and the republic has died.”

Castro cared about the welfare of all Cubans. He deplored wars and other forms of imperial adventurism. He once said “(t)hey talk about the failure of socialism, but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?

Where is it successful in North America except for the privileged few?

Cubans Mourn Fidel’s Passing

by Stephen Lendman

Frail and weakened by earlier serious illness nearly taking his life, Fidel’s passing didn’t surprise.

Yet his larger than life persona, extraordinary revolutionary spirit and redoubtable anti-imperial resolve for so long made losing him hard to imagine he’s gone.

Around midnight on Friday, Raul Castro announced it on national television. Granma, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba, published his statement, saying:

“Dear people of Cuba:

With deep pain I appear to inform our people, the friends of our America and the world, that today November 25, 2016, at 10.29 p.m., the Commander in Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died.

In compliance with the expressed will of Comrade Fidel, his remains will be cremated.

In the early hours of Saturday 26, the Organizing Committee of the funeral will provide our people with detailed information on the organization of the posthumous tribute that will be taxed to the founder of the Cuban Revolution.

Hasta la victoria siempre (Ever onward to victory)!”

The Havana Times said he “left his mark on the history of Cuba and the world…(H)e stood with the poor (and) deserves respect” from allies and enemies alike. A new era begins with his passing, hopefully continuing and building on the best of what he accomplished and stood for.

Little Havana Miami Cubans shamefully celebrated his passing, symbolically dancing on his grave - despicable revelry at a time millions worldwide mourn the death of Cuba’s liberator.

They took to the streets, waving Cuban flags, banging pots and pans, setting off fireworks, some popping champagne, others carrying shovels for a symbolic burial.

Police closed off streets. Helicopters hovered overhead. All  night Friday into pre-dawn Saturday morning, Miami television networks broadcast live, joining the macabre festive mood.

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado disgracefully said “(a)s the world celebrated when Hitler died, today Cubans are celebrating the death of Fidel Castro, and it will go on for hours and for days.” Crowds chanted “Fidel, tyrant, bring your brother.” 

In Havana and across Cuba, millions mourn his passing. All day Saturday, Cuban media aired his speeches, likely continuing through the weekend with much more to come on his life and achievements for nine official days of mourning from November 26 through December 4.

When Raul announced his death, sadness replaced music in Havana. Streets emptied. Earlier reports of Fidel’s death were false. Now it’s true.

One Havana resident likely spoke for others, saying “(l)osing Fidel is like losing a father.” Others said he’ll never be forgotten. “Of course I’m crying,” a mourner said. “We Cubans are Fidelista.”

During his last public appearance in April, he said “(s)oon I will end up like everyone does.” On November 25, his end time came. 

His redoubtable spirit remains eternal. Cuba won’t be the same without him.

A Final Comment

In a letter of condolence to Cuban leader Raul Castro, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said “(t)he name Fidel Castro will live forever in the minds of generations and remain an inspiration for all the peoples who aspire to achieve real independence and liberation from the yoke of colonialism and hegemony.”

Palestinians Mourn Fidel’s Passing

by Stephen Lendman

Fidel stood up for what Frantz Fanon called “the wretched of the earth,” a revolutionary hero for millions worldwide.

A longtime friend of Palestine’s liberating struggle, their flags were lowered to half-mast in his honor after news of his death.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) eulogized him, saying “he consistently stood with the oppressed peoples of the world in their confrontation with imperialism, Zionism, racism, and capitalism.”

“From Angola to South Africa, Palestine to Mozambique, Bolivia to El Salvador, Castro’s legacy of international revolutionary solidarity and struggle continues to serve as an example in practice that transcends borders toward revolution, democracy and socialism.”

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) secretary-general Nayif Hawatmeh said “the departure of the comrade, the leader, the friend, the great revolutionary, the patriot, and the nationalist Fidel Castro is a great loss for all revolutionaries and nationalist forces around the world.”

Hamas called him “a brother in the resistance. (He) stood in the face of colonialists, similar to Nelson Mandela.”

He treated Yasser Arafat as a head of state, affording him a presidential welcome on visits to Havana. Former Arafat Foundation acting director Mansour Tahvoub said “Cubans trained Palestinian cadres, and Fidel himself was a staunch advocate of the Palestinian quest for freedom and independence.”

He supported anti-colonial struggles worldwide, considered Zionism a form of fascism and institutionalized racism. He said Palestinians “will prevail sooner or later in spite of the betrayal by Arab reactionaries, imperialist maneuvers and Israeli aggression.”

In 1973, Cuba severed diplomatic ties with Israel, the only nation consistently supporting Washington’s embargo. It’s represented in Cuba through an interest section in the Canadian embassy.

Palestinians are welcome in Cuba to study medicine, engineering and other disciplines at no cost. In 1975, Cuba co-sponsored UN Resolution 3379, calling Zionism “a form of racism and racial discrimination.” Repeal in 1991 followed its earlier passage.

After Israeli summer 2014 naked aggression, Fidel wrote a “reflection” titled “Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza,” saying:

“The Nazi genocide of Jews outraged all the earth’s peoples. Why does (Israel) believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetuated against the Palestinian people? Perhaps it is expected that the complicity of the US empire in this shameful massacre will be ignored?

He expressed concern about a “repugnant form of fascism…at this time in human history when more than seven billion inhabitants are struggling for their survival.”

Others like him are sorely needed. America and other Western societies have no one remotely matching his stature and redoubtable anti-imperialist spirit.

I mourn his passing like millions of others worldwide.

Fidel’s Indomitable Spirit

by Stephen Lendman

The flesh is gone. His spirit remains. He accomplished what he set out to do in saying “I am Fidel Castro and we have come to liberate Cuba.”

In 1961, Malcolm X and other civil rights figures arranged for him and his delegation to stay at Harlem’s Hotel Theresa after State Department officials pressured New York hotels to deny them accommodations. He came to address the UN General Assembly.

In his autobiography, Malcolm said Fidel “achieved a psychological coup over the US State Department when it confined him to Manhattan, never dreaming that he’d stay uptown in Harlem and make such an impression among the Negroes.”

Malcolm later said he was the “only white person he ever liked.” Barred from staying at other Manhattan hotels, Fidel met with “the poor and humble people of Harlem” in the Theresa coffee shop.

Nikita Khrushchev, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru came to the Theresa to meet him. Midtown Manhattan spurned him. Harlem embraced him, thousands cheering when he and Krushchev emerged together.

Commenting in the local Amsterdam News at the time, James Hicks said “(t)hough many Harlemites are far too smart to admit it publicly, Castro’s move to the Theresa and Khrushchev’s decision to visit him gave the Negroes of Harlem one of the biggest ‘lifts’ they have had in the cold racial war with the white man.”

Days after Martin Luther King denounced the failed Bay of Pigs invasion as “a disservice…to the whole of humanity,” he urged Washington to “join the revolution (against) colonialism, reactionary dictatorship, and systems of exploitation” worldwide.

Instead, Washington waged war on humanity throughout the post-WW II era, notably in Korea, Southeast Asia and since the Clintons raped Yugoslavia and killed 5,000 Iraqi children under age five monthly by genocidal sanctions.

In 1961, MLK’s warning during a period of civil unrest and hostility toward Cuba went unheeded - saying failure to embrace the “revolutionary spirit that characterized the birth of our nation (would leave America) with no real moral voice to speak to the conscience of humanity.”

Democracy is pure fantasy - from inception to now. Elections when held are farcical. Endless imperial wars rage in multiple theaters. US inner city streets and communities are battlegrounds. Wealth disparity is unprecedented. Growing tyranny threatens everyone.

56 years after imposing it, illegal embargo on Cuba remains, despicable ruthlessness by any standard, Obama’s so-called outreach a cruel hoax, Trump likely to worsen relations, not improve them.

Nations unwilling to observe Washington rules are punished for “disobedience.” Fidel remarkably resisted imperial dominance for over half a century, passing at age 90.

Hundreds of attempts to eliminate him and the revolution failed. Cuba under his leadership stood as a beacon of hope for all the world’s oppressed peoples.

Hopefully its emerging generation of leaders intend keeping it this way - Hasta La Victoria Siempre (Ever Onward to Victory)!”

WSJ Latin America Propagandist on Fidel’s Passing

by Stephen Lendman

Journal board member, pseudo-journalist, Murdoch favorite, Mary OGrady reinvents history, defends the indefensible, supports monied interests exclusively, spurns popular ones, consistently turning truth on its head.

“For Cubans, the long wait is over,” she ranted. Yet Cubans remain led by “the dead red’s…brother Raul…behind him…the next generation of Castros and the military.”

Fact: Except for hardships from illegally imposed US embargo conditions, Cubans enjoy social justice benefits Americans can’t imagine.

O’Grady: “This ruthless band of criminals owns everything on the island and has no incentive to change. President Obama’s normalization of relations and de facto lifting of the US travel ban has funneled fresh resources to them, strengthening their power.”

Fact: Millions of Cubans mourn Fidel’s passing. They want no part of yankee imperialism, deplore recolonization - pre-Castro exploitation and repression. They want to breathe free from US domination.

Fact: Obama’s restoration of diplomatic relations was more subterfuge than turning the page after 56 years of targeting Cuba for regime change.

O’Grady: Cuba is “Aleppo without the benefit of smuggling over neighboring borders. If dissidents take to the streets, they lose rations and are beaten, jailed, tortured and exiled.”

Fact: Then why are Cubans contented? Why are they mourning Fidel’s passing, not dancing on his grave like in Miami? They lack luxuries, not essentials, including free healthcare, education to the highest levels and government serving all its people equitably - polar opposite how most Americans are exploited and mistreated.

Fact: America is a repressive, duopoly power-ruled police state, serving privileged interests exclusively. O’Grady mocked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for recognizing Fidel’s “tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people.” America never had a leader remotely like him.

O’Grady endorses US wars of aggression, corporate predation and police state terror against nonbelievers demanding something better.

Accusing Fidel of “export(ing) terrorism around the world” would be farcical if it wasn’t so despicable, a vicious Big Lie, typical of her misreporting, one of the most disgraceful media scoundrels around.

Legitimate editors wouldn’t touch her rubbish, making yellow journalism look good by comparison.

Cubans Honor Fidel

by Stephen Lendman

I remember when Fidel liberated Cuba in January 1959. On New Year’s day, US-supported dictator Fulgencio Bastista fled the island state for the Dominican Republic.

On January 7, Fidel-led freedom fighters triumphantly entered Havana. In April 1961, the Kennedy administration launched the Bay of Pigs invasion. Attempting to remove Castro from power failed.

Allan Dulles, Eisenhower’s CIA director, planned it. Kennedy, chastened by failure, refused another attempt like it. During his 1960 presidential campaign against Richard Nixon, he criticized US support for Batista, saying:

“He murdered 20,000 Cubans in seven years…and he turned…Cuba into a complete police state - destroying every individual liberty.” 

“Yet our aid to his regime, and the ineptness of our policies, enabled (him) to invoke the name of the United States in support of his reign of terror.” 

“Administration spokesmen publicly praised Batista - hailed him as a staunch ally and a good friend at a time when (he) was murdering thousands, destroying the last vestiges of freedom, and stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from the Cuban people, and we failed to press for free elections.”

On Tuesday, world dignitaries, largely from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, are arriving in Havana to honor Fidel. The second day of a weeklong  memorial tribute began with a 21-gun salute.

On Monday, tens of thousands lined up to pay their respects to El Comandante in Havana’s Plaza of the Revolution, many openly weeping.

They somberly filed past a floral arrangement in front of a young Fidel portrait in freedom-fighter garb, a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba (FAR) honor guard at attention beside it - emotionally moving to see without being there.

On Monday, Fidel’s ashes in a wooden urn, surrounded by white flowers, were honored by Raul Castro on national television. A mourner said “(h)e was always there in the face of any situation facing the country. I can’t imagine life without him.”

A grieving woman said “(i)t was he who gave us dignity as a people. He was the one who made us feel proud to be Cubans.”

Tuesday evening, foreign dignitaries arriving earlier will pay their respects to Fidel. Hundreds of CIA plots to kill him failed. He passed peacefully last Friday evening.

Interviewed by Edward R. Murrow weeks after entering Havana, triumphant in January 1959, he said “(m)y obligation (is) with the people. What I have to do now and in the future is…(for) what’s good for my country, and if for my country it is necessary that I renounce any position, I would gladly renounce (it) because sincerely, I don't (have) ambition (for) power, money, nothing, only to serve my country.”

And that he did until drawing his last breath. How tragic to lose him. How sorely he’ll be missed. America has no one remotely his equal in stature.

A Final Comment

Cubans are urged to pay tribute to Fidel by signing an oath, upholding his revolutionary ideals - first pronounced in a 2000 May Day speech, saying:

“Revolution means to have a sense of history. It is changing everything that must be changed. It is full equality and freedom. It is being treated and treating others like human beings.”

“It is achieving emancipation by ourselves and through our own efforts. It is challenging powerful dominant forces from within and without the social and national milieu.” 

“It is defending the values in which we believe at the cost of any sacrifice. It is modesty, selflessness, altruism, solidarity and heroism.”

“It is fighting with courage, intelligence and realism. It is never lying or violating ethical principles. It is a profound conviction that there is no power in the world that can crush the power of truth and ideas.” 

“Revolution means unity. It is independence. It is fighting for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism.”

Fidel said what he meant and meant what he said!

Memorable Tribute to Fidel

by Stephen Lendman

Tuesday in Havana was a night to remember. Fidelistas turned out en masse at the Plaza de la Revolucion to honor their beloved leader, now passed. 

World dignitaries joined them, notably from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. “I am Fidel,” “Viva Fidel,” and “United, the people will never be defeated,” thousands chanted.

Honoring his late brother, Raul Castro said “(w)e and our self-sacrificing, combative and heroic people say to you: Ever onward to victory.” In other comments and tweets, he said:

“When an energetic nation cries, injustice trembles,” quoting Fidel.

“We are here to confirm before Fidel that we will continue the fight.”

“As Fidel said, ‘The youth hold the future in their hands.’ “

“Here with Fidel we declared Cuba free from illiteracy in December of 1961!”

“Faced with aggressions backed by the USA, Fidel proclaimed that behind the revolution and the Cuban flag there is a proud people.”

“Fidel’s principles and words resound in this plaza today.”

“We are thankful for all of the wishes, the solidarity and the kind words.”

As Raul prepared to speak, thousands chanted Hasta Siempre Comandante. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said “(i)t is now up to us to carry the banners of socialism for Fidel, for Marti. And we swear we will.”

Fidel “fulfilled his mission on this earth. Few lives have been so complete, so bright. He left us unconquered.”

He quoted Fidel saying “I already did what I had to do. Now it’s up to you.”

Obama snubbed Fidel’s tribute by  having two administration aides represent him. Trump disgracefully called Fidel “a brutal dictator,” saying “(i)f Cuba is reluctant to reach a better agreement for the Cuban people, for the Cuban-American people and for the United States as a whole, I will put an end to the agreement.”

Obama’s December 2014 pledge about “charting a new course on Cuba” concealed continued dirty business as usual - strategy and tactics alone changing, not objectives.

Embargo, limited US travel and other restrictions remain in place. So does longstanding hostility toward Cuban sovereign independence.

Normalized relations aren’t possible without ending over half a century of lawless embargo, easily accomplished by executive order, no congressional authorization needed.

A previous article asked if Trump intends ending 56 years of lawless US embargo. He pledged more cooperative relations with other countries - diplomacy over confrontation.

His hostile statement isn’t encouraging. Fidel liberated Cuba from US colonial rule. Raul and a new generation of patriots aren’t about to sacrifice it to Trump or anyone else!

Fidel’s Ashes Begin Journey to Final Resting Place

by Stephen Lendman

Since his death last Friday evening, I’ve written daily articles honoring his legacy. America and other Western societies never had leadership remotely approaching his stature - an anti-imperial social and political revolutionary giant.

After two days of emotional tributes in Havana, a “caravan of freedom” began a four-day journey to his final resting place in Santiago, where his revolution began.

Hundreds of thousands massed in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion Tuesday evening to pay him tribute. On Wednesday, his glass-covered flag-draped coffin surrounded by white flowers left Havana, arriving in Santiago on Saturday.

Cubans massed along its route, chanting “I am Fidel” and “Viva Fidel.” Overnight before departure, thousands “lit the night with their phones,” said one report.

En route, Fidel’s caravan stopped symbolically in Santa Clara where Che Guevara’s ashes are interred. Fidel once said at times he dreamed of having conversations with him after his 1967 capture and execution in Bolivia.

On Saturday, December 3, a mass rally will be held in Santiago’s Antonio Maceo Square - burial on Sunday at the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery.

The Kremlin quoted Vladimir Putin, saying “(t)his outstanding statesman is considered to be a symbol of an entire era in modern world history.” 

“A free and independent Cuba built by him and his colleagues has become an influential member of the international community and served as an inspiring example for many countries and nations.”

Putin called Fidel a “sincere and reliable friend of Russia. His memory will always remain in the hearts of the Russian people.”

On Tuesday, ministers Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoigu, along with Russian parliamentarians paid tribute to Fidel at Cuba’s Moscow embassy.

Russia’s upper house Federation Council began a working session with a minute of silence in his honor.

Cuban Doctors Coming to Standing Rock

by Stephen Lendman

Fidel would be proud, smiling from the hereafter, knowing his legacy lives.

Thursday on Facebook, Dr. Revery P. Barnes, a Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine graduate said:

“We answer the call to serve in alignment with the mission and core principles of our alma mater and dedication to our commitment to serve underserved communities in our HOME country.”

“While Cuba instilled in us an unwavering commitment to internationalism, with the acceptance of a full scholarship to medical school at ELAM, we made the moral commitment to respond to the needs of our most vulnerable communities here at home in the US.”

Cuban trained doctors will work with the Standing Rock Medic + Healer Council. It “coordinate(s) supplies, resources, and volunteers between various medic and wellness clinics at the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline Opposition camps.”

Doctors are treating emergency and chronic health conditions for thousands of Standing Rock Sioux water protectors and supporters.

They’re protesting environmentally destructive Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) construction on sacred ancestral land - suffering injuries inflicted by militarized police state viciousness, attacking them with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, water cannons, pepper spray and other forms of mistreatment.

It’s unknown how many Cuban-trained doctors are coming or when they’ll arrive. An earlier article called goodwill, doctors and teachers Cuba’s most important exports.

It operates 21 medical schools, the Havana-based Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) the world’s largest with an enrollment of nearly 20,000 students from scores of countries worldwide.

They get free world-class education in return for committing to provide Cuban-style medical services in home or other countries to low-income, under-served communities in need. 

A holistic approach focuses on individual needs, prevention, lifestyle changes important for good health and community wellness.

Cuba spends a small fraction of the cost of healthcare in America, providing better services overall, everyone treated equally, no one left out, world-class care available.

Since exporting healthcare in 1961, tens of thousands of Cuban doctors and other medical personnel served low-income, usually impoverished communities, in scores of countries worldwide.

Cuba wages goodwill, world-class healthcare and education, its most important exports and homeland services.

America wages state terror, endless wars of aggression, mass slaughter and destruction, disdain for democratic values and immiseration on an unprecedented scale.

On Saturday, Fidel’s Caravan of Liberty completed its four-day journey from Havana to Santiago, where his revolutionary struggle began.

It arrived ahead of Saturday evening’s memorial service, Sunday’s funeral, followed by burial beside “Apostle of Cuban Independence” Jose Marti at the Santa Ifigenia cemetery.

At 7PM on Saturday, President Raul Castro will preside over a state vigil in the Plaza Antonio Maceo. Two dozen or more world leaders and other dignitaries are arriving to pay tribute to Fidel - to honor an anti-imperial revolutionary giant.

Nations represented include Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil (represented by former presidents Lula and Rousseff) Nicaragua, Jamaica, Haiti, Mexico, Russia (Putin staying home), China (Xi at home), Spain (represented by King Juan Carlos), Germany (represented by Gerhard Schroeder), France sending a low-level envoy, South Africa, Angola, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Uruguay, Greece, and Canada (Trudeau not coming) among others.

A low-level two-representative US delegation is attending. Nine official days of mourning end Sunday with Fidel’s funeral and burial.

A new generation of Fidelistas continues his revolutionary struggle. Viva Fidel! Hasta Siempre, Comandante!

Thousands Honor Fidel in Santiago

by Stephen Lendman

Hundreds of thousands turned out Saturday evening for a public vigil honoring Fidel in Santiago’s Plaza Antonio Maceo. 

Raul Castro lead it. Numerous world leaders and dignitaries attended. Later this week, Cuba’s National Assembly will enact legislation, fulfilling Fidel’s wish.

Raul announced it, saying “(t)he leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality and was consistent in that through the last hours of his life, insisting that, once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statutes or other forms of tribute would never be erected.”

Fidel “demonstrated that yes we could, yes we can, yes we will overcome any obstacle, threat, turbulence in our firm resolve to build socialism in Cuba. In front of Fidel's remains…we swear to defend the fatherland and socialism.”

Crowds chanted “Fidel! Fidel! I am Fidel! Until victory always!” Photos showed children with Fidel written on their foreheads.

Mourning him will continue long after the official nine-day period, ending Sunday with his burial in Santiago’s Ifigenia cemetery beside “Apostle of Cuban Independence” Jose Marti.

During Saturday’s vigil, Cuban civil society leaders paid tribute to Fidel. He “showed us that another world is possible,” said Trade Union Confederation of Cuba head Ulises Guilarte.

“We will continue Fidel’s work with sacrifice and dignity," added Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution division general Jose Antonio Carrillo.

Cuban Federation of Women member Teresa Amarelle said “Cuba is invincible. Cuban women are the revolution. Thank you Comandante for your example, for your unshakable faith in Cuban women.”

Separately on Cuban television, retired Argentine football star Diego Maradona called Fidel his “second father,” adding “(h)e was the greatest without a doubt. But now his legend must survive in our hearts. Fidel is not dead.”

“I am a Cuban soldier. I would give my heart and all by body for this flag, for Cuba, Fidel and Che.”

From the early 1950s through his November 25, 2016 passing, he was a redoubtable anti-imperial revolutionary giant - the most extraordinary world figure in my lifetime.

Fidel Laid to Rest

by Stephen Lendman

After nine official days of mourning, following his November 25 passing, along with moving tributes to an anti-imperial revolutionary giant, Fidel was laid to rest Sunday in a private ceremony in Santiago’s Ifigenia cemetery beside “Apostle of Cuban Independence” Jose Marti.

A wooden box containing his ashes was interred, Sunday’s early morning ceremony attended by family members, Cuban political officials and Latin American leaders.

At 6:39 AM, a military caravan bearing his remains in a flag-draped coffin left Santiago’s Plaza de la Revolucion for his simple ceremonial burial.

Thousands lined the two-mile route, waving Cuban flags and chanting “Long live Fidel!” He’s interred in a granite boulder, identified with the name “Fidel” in gold letters on a green marble plaque, the only official monument to his memory - in recognition of decades of service to his country and humanity.

His interment was simple and private with no speeches, a quiet ceremonial tribute.

His flesh is gone. His spirit remains eternal.

Will Trump End 56 Years of US Embargo on Cuba?

by Stephen Lendman

Will Trump seek more cooperative relations with other countries, prioritizing diplomacy over confrontation?

Promised outreach to Russia is encouraging. Days earlier, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke by phone - Xi telling him cooperation is the only choice between both countries.

He responded saying he’s willing to work with Beijing cooperatively, believing bilateral relations can “definitely achieve greater development.” Both leaders agreed to meet soon.

Trump’s intended relations with Cuba remain to be seen. Campaigning in September, he said he’d reverse Obama’s (dubious) diplomatic outreach by executive order unless its government meets US demands - not an encouraging sign.

For 24 consecutive years, General Assembly members voted overwhelmingly for ending US-imposed embargo on Cuba, begun in October 1960 by the Eisenhower administration - violating UN Charter provisions and other international laws, affirming free trade and navigation.

Obama’s 2014 pledge about “charting a new course on Cuba” concealed continuing dirty business as usual, minor easing of restrictions too little to matter - clear from US policies so far. 

Strategy and tactics alone changed, not objectives to exploit the island state. Embargo, limited travel and other restrictions remain unchanged. So does longstanding hostility against Cuban sovereign independence.

Normalized relations aren’t possible without ending 56 years of lawless embargo - congressional authorization not needed, as falsely claimed.

As head of state, Trump can act on his own. Jack Kennedy formalized embargo in 1962 by executive order, using the 1917 Trading With the Enemy Act (TWEA) as authorization, prohibiting trade with US enemies - defined as “any individual (or) government of any nation” at war with America.

Cuba isn’t a US enemy as defined under TWEA. Neither country declared war on the other. No legal authority exists for applying TWEA to US/Cuban relations.

Trump can reverse 56 years of hostile US/Cuban relations with a stroke of his pen - responsibly beginning a new era of political, economic, commercial and financial normalization. It’s long overdue, both nations standing to benefit.

Obama went the other way, showing little changed after his heralded March 2016 visit. Days earlier, the US Treasury Department fined National Oilwell Varco (NOV) and its Dreco Energy Services (NOV Elmar) subsidiary nearly $6 million for doing business with Cuba.

From 2007 - 2009, NOV had 45 transactions totaling about $1.7 million, NOV Elmar two sales for around $103,000 in revenue - the combined total minor compared to potential billions of dollars in bilateral trade between both nations if embargo conditions were lifted.


Since 1960, sanctions cost Cuba $753.7 billion, according to a report its government prepared - punishment for instituting social justice rule under Fidel Castro, ousting brutal despot Fulgencio Bastista, a man Franklin Roosevelt called “our son-of-a bitch.”