sábado, 30 de maio de 2009

La Flecha del Tiempo


Todos os anos desde 1976, no dia 17 Junho a família de Diego Goldberg, fotografo argentino, passa por um ritual privado em que se fotografam. O projecto em curso pode ser visto em La Flecha del Tiempo. Video da ABC News aqui.
Outro projecto interessante é o do fotografo Noah Kalina (Brooklyn, NY) que durante 6 anos se fotografou todos os dias. O resultado pode ser visto aqui.

terça-feira, 26 de maio de 2009

Música africana contemporânea 6 - Rokia Traoré



Rokia Traoré (Mali, 1974)

Leningradskoye Optiko Mechanichesckoye Obyedinenie

LOMO ou Leningradskoye Optiko Mechanichesckoye Obyedinenie (União de Óptica Mecânica de Leningrado) é uma empresa fabricante de equipamentos ópticos em São Petersburgo, Rússia.

A fabrica iniciou a sua produção em 1914, e chegou a ser maior empresa óptica da União Soviética. As primeiras câmaras da marca, surgiram no ano de 1930. Actualmente, as câmaras LOMO são objectos de culto. Originaram uma comunidade internacional de seguidores, a Sociedade Lomográfica Internacional.


terça-feira, 19 de maio de 2009

Robert Capa - II Guerra Mundial

Piloto americano, Tunes 1943.
Um Siciliano indica o caminho a um soldado americano, Sicília, Agosto de 1943.
Libertação de Paris, 26 de Agosto de 1944.
Dia "D" - Omaha Beach, 6 de Junho de 1944.
Um oficial americano brinca com crianças inglesas,
Londres 1943.
O general Charles de Gaulle num cortejo que celebra a libertação de Paris,
26 de Agosto de 1944.
Robert Capa nasceu em Budapeste em 1913 e faleceu ao pisar uma mina na Indochina (actual Vietname) em 1954. Foi um dos maiores repórteres fotográficos da primeira metade do século XX. É considerado por muitos o maior reportér de guerra de todos os tempos. São famosas as sua fotografias da Guerra civil de Espanha e da II Guerra Mundial, particularmente as fotos do desembarque na Normandia no dia D pelas tropas aliadas. Fundou com Henri Cartier-Bresson e David Seymour a agência Magnum Photos.

Mario Benedetti

O poeta Mario Benedetti faleceu domingo, día 17 de maio de 2009, em sua casa de Montevideo, Uruguai, aos 88 anos de idade.


Pasatiempo

Cuando éramos niños
los viejos tenían como treinta
un charco era un océano
la muerte lisa y llana no existía.

Luego cuando muchachos
los viejos eran gente de cuarenta
un estanque un océano
la muerte solamente
una palabra.

Ya cuando nos casamos
los ancianos estaban en cincuenta
un lago era un océano
la muerte era la muerte
de los otros.

Ahora veteranos
ya le dimos alcance a la verdad
el océano es por fin el océano
pero la muerte empieza a ser
la nuestra.

segunda-feira, 11 de maio de 2009

Como falamos a democracia ?

Os nacionalistas africanos não ficaram à espera que um vocabulário apropriado nascesse nas línguas maternas dos seus países.
Mia Couto *

Na bela cidade de Durban, falávamos eu e outros escritores africanos da surpresa do modo como, no Zimbabwe, tantos ainda apoiam Robert Mugabe. Havia, no grupo, escritores de vários países de África. Aproveitámos o que melhor há nas conferências literárias: os intervalos. A nossa perplexidade não se limitava ao caso zimbabweano. Como é que povos inteiros, em outras nações, se acomodaram perante dirigentes corruptos e venais. De onde nasce tanta resignação? Uma das razões dessa aceitação reside na forma como as línguas se relacionam com conceitos políticos da modernidade. Por exemplo, um zimbabweano rural designa os seus líderes nacionais como entidades divinizadas, fora das contingências da História e longe da vontade dos súbditos. O mesmo se passa em quase todas as línguas bantus. A questão pode ser assim formulada: como pensar a democracia numa língua em que não existe a palavra «democracia»? Num idioma em que «Presidente» se diz «Deus»? Nas línguas do Sul de Moçambique, o termo para designar o chefe de Estado é «hossi». Essa mesma palavra designa também as entidades divinas na forma dos espíritos dos antepassados, traduzindo uma sociedade em que não há separação da esfera religiosa. Parece uma questão de ordem linguística. Não é. Trata-se do modo como se organizam as percepções e as representações que uma sociedade constrói sobre si mesma. A sacralização do poder não pode casar com regimes em que se supõe que os líderes são escolhidos por livre votação. Numa sociedade em que os súbditos se convertem em cidadãos. Esse assunto escapa muitas vezes a quem se especializou em organizar seminários sobre cidadania e modernidade em África. A problemática política é vista, quase sempre, na sua dimensão institucional, exterior à intimidade dos cidadãos. Quando o participante do seminário explicar à sua comunidade o conteúdo dos debates usará a sua língua materna. E sempre que se referir ao Presidente ele fará uso do termo «deus». Como pedir uma atitude de mudança nestas circunstâncias? O que se pode fazer? Será que os falantes destas línguas estão condenados à imobilidade por causa desta inércia linguística? Na realidade, existem tensões entre a lógica interna de algumas destas línguas e a dinâmica social. Estas tensões não são novas e sempre foram resolvidas a favor da adaptação criativa e da criação de futuro. Já no passado, as culturas africanas (e todas as outras em todos os continentes) tiveram que se moldar e se reajustar perante aquilo que surgia como novidade. Eu mesmo testemunhei o modo veloz como as línguas moçambicanas se municiaram de instrumentos novos, roubando e apropriando-se de termos não próprios. Com o uso generalizado esses termos acabaram indigenizando-se. Sem drama linguístico, sem apoio de academias nem de acordos ortográficos os falantes dessas línguas «pediram» de empréstimo palavras de outros idiomas. Moçambique é, nesse domínio, um caldeirão dessas mestiçagens. Os nacionalistas africanos não ficaram à espera que um vocabulário apropriado nascesse nas línguas maternas dos seus países. Eles começaram a luta e essa mesma dinâmica contaminou (mesmo com uso de termos e discursos inteiros em português) as restantes línguas locais. Tudo isto nos traz a convicção do seguinte: a capacidade de questionar o presente necessita de língua portadora de futuro. A necessidade de sermos do nosso tempo e do nosso mundo exige línguas abertas ao cosmopolitismo. África – tantas vezes pensada como morando no passado – já está vivendo no futuro no que respeita à condição linguística: quase todos africanos são multilingues. Essa disponibilidade é uma marca de modernidade vital. O destino da nossa espécie é que cada pessoa seja a humanidade toda inteira.

* Crónica de Mia Couto, escritor moçambicano, publicada na edição de Abril da revista África 21

La "maleta mexicana" de Capa arroja luz sobre el exilio español


Los negativos inéditos del fundador de Magnum, Gerda Taro y Chim se revelan como un documento único sobre la Guerra Civil y los horrores que le siguieron
BARBARA CELIS - Nueva York - 05/05/2009


El tesoro fotográfico escondido en la "maleta mexicana" va más allá de la pura fascinación por las imágenes que tres de los mejores fotógrafos de la historia captaron en la Guerra Civil española. La digitalización de los 4.300 negativos que, al igual que miles de españoles, se exiliaron primero en Francia y después en México y permanecieron escondidas en una maleta (que en realidad eran tres cajas) hasta diciembre de 2007, está arrojando nueva luz no sólo respecto al trabajo realizado durante aquel conflicto por Robert Capa, Gerda Taro y Chim (David Seymour), sino también respecto a las condiciones de vida a las que estuvieron sometidos los españoles forzados al exilio.

El pasado viernes, justo después de que el International Center of Photography (ICP) de NuevaYork (fundado por Cornell Capa, hermano de Robert) anunciara que todos los negativos de la maleta recuperada (y que hoy está en sus manos) habían sido escaneados, el Centro Juan Carlos I de la New York University organizó un simposio bajo el título Documentando a los desplazados: imágenes de los refugiados de la Guerra Civil española. Allí se mostraron, entre otras cosas, unas 40 imágenes inéditas, recién salidas de la maleta, que reflejan las condiciones de los campos de refugiados del sur de Francia y que el casi medio millón de republicanos que los sufrieron consideraban campos de concentración. "Así fue como se refirió a ellos mi padre toda su vida", aseguró una de las asistentes, Ángela Giral, nieta de José Giral, quien fue presidente de la Segunda República. Giral recuerda cómo su padre le contaba que los guardas senegaleses del campo de Argèles les pegaban culatazos con sus rifles y después les quitaban el reloj. "La Guerra Civil española es el primer conflicto en que queda visualmente documentada la violencia contra la población civil. Se han escrito muchos libros sobre las condiciones de vida de los españoles en aquellos campos, pero estas imágenes son uno de los primeros documentos visuales. De ahí la importancia, más allá de la fotografía, de estos fotógrafos pioneros" afirma Giral. El padre de Ángela pasó varios días en Argèles, un lugar que las fotos de Robert Capa muestran en toda su crudeza: de la maleta han salido 352 imágenes tomadas en marzo de 1939 allí y en los campos de Bram y Barcarès. "Se conocían unas cinco fotos de cada carrete, pero el resto del material es inédito. Esto nos permite entender también el proceso de trabajo de estos fotógrafos, que encontraron en estos campos la expresión definitiva de la pesadilla de la desolación", explicó durante la presentación Cynthia Young, comisaria del ICP. Las imágenes de los exiliados españoles del sur de Francia estremecen por su parecido con la tragedia que muestran las imágenes de refugiados de cualquier otro lugar del planeta en conflictos actuales. Hombres que yacen en el suelo cubiertos con una manta raída, gente hacinada en tiendas de campaña, filas de personas transportando sus escasas pertenencias...
Entre los muchos tesoros desvelados en el proceso de escaneado de los 136 carretes se ha encontrado el negativo perdido de la foto de Chim Land distribution meeting, tomada en Extremadura en 1936. Un tercio de las imágenes pertenecen a Chim, entre ellas fotos inéditas de La Pasionaria, Federico García Lorca y Azaña, que según Young, "revalorizarán a ese fotógrafo". Sin embargo, pese a que había esperanzas de encontrar el negativo de la imagen más famosa de Robert Capa, El miliciano, su paradero sigue siendo un misterio. La maleta mexicana también se convertirá en documental: Trisha Ziff, responsable de que los negativos viajaran de México al ICP, comienza este mes una coproducción con la productora catalana Mallerich que transformará en película el contenido de la maleta y los relatos que preservaba "para que los jóvenes de hoy conozcan su propia historia".

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/cultura/maleta/mexicana/Capa/arroja/luz/exilio/espanol/elpepucul/20090505elpepicul_3/Tes

quinta-feira, 7 de maio de 2009

The War on Democracy (2007)


Para compreender o que se está a passar na América-latina nos tempos que correm é obrigatório conhecer o seu passado. Se nos concentrarmos nos últimos 50 anos, este documentário do jornalista John Pilger é poderosamente pedagógico ! Altamente recomendado.

Ntoni Denti d'Oro

quarta-feira, 6 de maio de 2009

Expertos alertan sobre guerra biológica y negocio de Donald Rumsfeld con la «gripe porcina»

por Fernando Velázquez*

El informativo Pacífica entrevistó a distintos expertos en Estados Unidos y México, que alertan sobre la elaboración de armas químicas en los laboratorios del Pentágono y los millonarios beneficios para las transnacionales farmacéuticas. En este caso, para los laboratorios Gilead Sciences Inc. dirigidos por Donald Rumsfeld, que tienen los derechos sobre el fármaco "Tamiflu", que se está vendiendo como remedio para la gripe y que ya hizo una recaudación billonaria con la gripe aviar.

Un revelador trabajo de investigación del Informativo Pacífica, elaborado por el colectivo periodístico con base en California Pueblos Sin Fronteras, plantea varias interrogantes que los medios hegemónicos de comunicación han obviado, en su afán por generar terror entre la población.
¿Cuál es el origen del nuevo virus que ya ha matado a más de cien personas en México? ¿A quién beneficia esta epidemia? ¿Qué otras noticias está sepultando? ¿Para qué se está utilizando la emergencia en México?
El reporte de Fernando Velázquez menciona un artículo de la investigadora Lori Price en el sitio web Globalresearch.ca , titulado "La gripe acaba con los memos de la tortura", en el que ésta señala que la influenza porcina, fabricada probablemente en laboratorios militares de Estados Unidos, ha acabado con la noticia de los memos sobre la tortura ordenada por la Agencia Central de Inteligencia (CIA) contra prisioneros en Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, y cárceles secretas.
El artículo mencionado señala que un investigador de biodefensa indonesio declaró el año pasado que Estados Unidos ya podía fabricar armas biológicas en el laboratorio de Los Álamos, usando muestras de la gripe aviar enviadas por Indonesia a la Organización Mundial de la Salud. Detalles sobre el tema aparecen en el libro "Es tiempo de que cambie el mundo: manos divinas detrás de la gripe aviar", escrito por el ministro de Salud indonesio.
Lori Price subraya que la actual histeria provocada por el virus porcino podría dar grandes ganancias a Donald Rumsfeld. El ex secretario de Defensa de Bush es directivo desde hace 20 años del laboratorio Gilead Sciences, Inc. la firma con sede en California que fabrica y tiene los derechos de "Tamiflu", el supuesto remedio contra la influenza que aterroriza al mundo.
Fernando Velázquez también entrevistó para su reporte al periodista Ralph Schoenman, productor del programa radial "Taking Aim" (Apuntando) que se transmite en la emisora WBAI de Nueva York. Schoenman afirma que los laboratorios militarizados a lo largo de Estados Unidos han estado perfeccionando armas biológicas con los virus porcino, aviar, el asiático y otras enfermedades para las que no hay respuesta inmunológica.
"En laboratorios de nivel 4 y 5 en todo el país las enfermedades más virulentas han sido alteradas de tal forma que no hay defensa contra ellas, y han sido arrojadas en varias partes del mundo. Se han dispersado en África, y han sido monitoreadas por militares estadounidenses", afirma Schoenman.
Velázquez también menciona en su reporte el libro "Clouds of Secrecy" (Nubes de secretos), del profesor de políticas de Salud Pública Leonard Cole, quien documenta que por 40 años el Pentágono ha estado esparciendo billones de bacilos I en el metro de Nueva York, en las escuelas públicas de Minneapolis y Saint Louis y, en particular, en la bahía de San Francisco. En esa ciudad, los efectos fueron un incremento en un 10% de meningitis de la espina dorsal. El número de personas impactadas por el bacilo I asciende a 10 millones.
Velázquez recuerda el libro "Matando la esperanza", donde William Bloom describe que en 1971 la central de inteligencia proveyó a exiliados cubanos con un virus que causa fiebre porcina africana. Seis semanas después, un brote de la enfermedad obligó al gobierno cubano a sacrificar a medio millón de puercos. Diez años después la población fue atacada por una epidemia de dengue transmitida por mosquitos, que se extendió por la isla enfermando a más de 300 mil personas y matando a 158 (de los que más de un centenar eran niños menores de 15 años).
Reporta también Fernando Velázquez que documentos desclasificados en 1956 y 1958 revelan que el ejército estadounidense crió grandes cantidades de mosquitos en La Florida y en Georgia para ver si los insectos podían ser usados como armas diseminando enfermedades, y que en 1969 más de 500 estudiantes de 36 países se graduaron en cursos sobre guerra epidemiológica en la escuela de química del ejército en Fort McClellan en Alabama.
Tres millones de dosis
Fuerza Armada de EEUU obtuvo el genoma del virus H1N1: ¿Por qué no hacemos nuestro propio Tamiflu?
El tema de las patentes farmacéuticas ha causado que Roche y Gilead obtengan ganancias multimillonarias. Mientras que los gobiernos no quieren echar para atrás su legislación sobre patentes farmacéuticas, el Instituto de Patología de la Fuerza Armada de EEUU obtuvo el genoma completo del virus de la gripe española, que usa la misma cepa que la gripe aviar y la gripe porcina. ¿Fueron ellos los causantes? No lo sabemos.
Suiza. El grupo farmacéutico suizo Roche dice estar "listo" para enviar al mundo 3 millones de dosis de su medicamento antiviral Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), que la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) recomienda contra el virus de la gripe porcina. Roche, con sede en Basilea, había donado en 2006 esas dosis a la OMS para enfrentar una amenaza de pandemia de gripe aviaria, y las mantiene a disposición de la organización, almacenadas en Suiza y Estados Unidos. Aseguran que la OMS confirmó que el medicamento, recomendado contra la gripe aviaria, también es eficaz contra el nuevo virus de influenza porcina, de tipo A/H1N1.
Para el incauto, el gesto de Roche pareciera ser muy benevolente. Pero es necesario recordar que el medicamento fue desarrollado por la empresa estadounidense Gilead Sciences, que fue presidida entre 1997 y 2001 por Donald Rumsfeld, quien luego fuera ministro de Defensa del presidente George W. Bush. Rumsfeld continúa siendo accionista de Gilead, y cuando se inició la pandemia de gripe aviar, que causó un aumento del precio de las acciones de Gilead, circularon artículos de prensa asegurando que Rumsfeld se estaba beneficiando económicamente de esa pandemia.
Tamiflú y las patentes
El anís estrellado es usado para fabricar uno de los componentes del Tamiflu, el ácido shikimico o siquímico extraído de las vainas de esta planta. También puede extraerse de la planta liquidambar, abundante en toda América. Algunas páginas web explican cómo sintetizarlo, pero el tema de las patentes farmacéuticas generalmente impide que empresas o gobiernos puedan sintetizarlo sin el permiso de Roche.
Como se sabe, las patentes permiten que una empresa que haga descubrimientos o innovaciones mantenga la exclusividad de su fabricación y comercialización. Pero cuando se está hablando de una vacuna que puede salvar la vida de millones de personas, muchas personas se preguntan por qué Roche no dona la vacuna al mundo, o por qué los gobiernos no toman la delantera y anulan estas leyes, al menos para estos casos específicos.
Para nada es el interés de Roche o Gilead colaborar en la solución del problema. Ambas empresas ya ganaron inmensas sumas en 2005, vendiendo millones de dosis de Tamiflu a gobiernos asiáticos que temían un brote de la gripe aviar.
Varios gobiernos (entre ellos la India, el segundo país más habitado del mundo) en efecto pensaron primero en sus ciudadanos antes que en las empresas privadas, y dieron autorización para sintetizar el Oseltamivir (Tamiflu genérico) sin el permiso de Roche. Las dosis genéricas cuestan la mitad que sus pares comerciales; Argentina y Tailandia también consideraron medidas similares.
Hoy, en 2009, Roche y Gilead nuevamente se preparan a vender millones de dosis de Tamiflú, que supuestamente puede curar la gripe porcina aún cuando el gobierno mexicano informó recientemente que ninguna vacuna es eficaz, y ofrece una recompensa de un millón de pesos al investigador que desarrolle una.
Fuerza Armada estadounidense obtuvo el genoma del virus de gripe española, "familiar" de la gripe porcina
La cepa H1N1 de gripe porcina que afecta a la población actualmente es un subtipo del Influenzavirus tipo A del virus de la gripe, de la familia de los Orthomyxoviridae. El H1N1 ha mutado en diversos subtipos que incluyen la gripe española, la gripe porcina y la gripe aviar. Mantiene su circulación después de haber sido reintroducida en la población humana en los años setenta del siglo XX.
En 2004 y 2005 hubo mucha controversia en Estados Unidos por un estudio publicado en la revista Science y otras revistas científicas estadounidenses, donde un grupo de científicos, todos del Departamento de Patología Molecular del Instituto de Patología de la Fuerza Armada estadounidense, examinaron y obtuvieron el genoma completo del virus de la gripe española. Entre los científicos estaban Jeffery K. Taubenberger, Ann H. Reid, Raina M. Lourens, Ruixue Wang, Guozhong Jin y Thomas G. Fanning.
Esto generó mucha controversia, dado que el genoma podría ser usado con facilidad, haciendo unas pocas modificaciones, para construir armas biológicas basadas en nuevas variaciones del virus. Taubenberger también comparó cepas H1N1 de la gripe tradicional, con el virus de 1918, descubriéndose que únicamente ha habido alteraciones en 25 o 30 aminoácidos de los 4.400 que componen el virus, lo que demuestra que pocos cambios en el virus H1N1 de la gripe tradicional, pueden convertirlo en un virus mortal.
¿Está el gobierno o la milicia estadounidense detrás del nuevo brote de gripe porcina? No lo sabemos aún con certeza. Pero, ¿hasta qué punto esperarán los gobiernos para considerar seriamente la eliminación de las patentes farmacéuticas, y otras formas de privatización del conocimiento? Tampoco lo sabemos.
¿Por qué llamarla "gripe porcina" si aún no se ha aislado en animales?
Eso lo pregunta la Organización Internacional de Salud Animal, que pide que el virus sea llamado más bien "virus de Norteamérica" por su origen geográfico, tal y como ocurrió con la gripe española. Señaló que es "urgente" investigar el origen de la gripe.
París.- La Organización Internacional de Salud Animal (OIE) pidió hoy que la gripe porcina se denomine "gripe de Norteamérica" al no haberse aislado el virus en los animales por el momento.
"El virus no ha sido aislado en animales hasta la fecha. Por lo tanto, no se justifica el nombre de esta enfermedad como gripe porcina. En el pasado, muchas epidemias de gripe humana con origen animal han sido nombrados por su origen geográfico, por ejemplo, la gripe española o la gripe asiática. Por lo tanto, sería lógico que esta enfermedad llamada ’gripe del Norte-América’", señaló la OIE en un comunicado, reseñó Efe.
La organización reconoció que, con la información de que dispone, puede existir un vínculo entre los casos humanos y animales, incluyendo los cerdos, aunque todavía no se ha demostrado. Señaló que es "urgente" investigar el origen de la gripe y, si procede, "aplicar medidas de bioseguridad" necesarias, incluida la vacunación para proteger a los animales sensibles. De comprobarse su origen animal, la circulación de animales podría empeorar la situación en la región norteamericana y en el resto del mundo, precisó.
La organización aseguró que por el momento sólo se justifican medidas comerciales sobre la importación de cerdos procedentes de los países en los que se han visto afectados humanos. La OIE se comprometió a continuar su "labor de alerta" y a publicar toda información de que disponga sobre el caso.
La organización aprovechó para pedir que se refuerce la red veterinaria de laboratorios de vigilancia sobre la gripe que impulsa junto con la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Agricultura y la Alimentación (FAO). En este sentido, pidió a sus miembros que den a conocer "cualquier secuencia genética del virus de la gripe que obtengan".
El caso de la gripe surgida en México pone de manifiesto la necesidad de tener en todo el mundo una red veterinaria que permita "la detección precoz de los agentes patógenos emergentes con potencial impacto en la salud pública".
¡Sabrá Dios qué peste soltó el Imperio!
¿Se acuerdan de la gripe aviar? Eso multiplicó en forma exponencial los ingresos de las transnacionales del fármaco-terror durante los años 2006-2007. Asia y Europa entonces fueron los objetivos económicos del terrorismo biológico, ante el pánico que causó la publicidad del mal, y las medidas profilácticas que se tomaron en el mundo por los gobiernos, inclusive aquí­ en Venezuela, como hoy sucede con la gripe porcina en la América toda.
¿Se acuerdan de la gripe aviar? Eso multiplicó en forma exponencial los ingresos de las transnacionales del fármaco-terror durante los años 2006-2007. Asia y Europa entonces fueron los objetivos económicos del terrorismo biológico, ante el pánico que causó la publicidad del mal, y las medidas profilácticas que se tomaron en el mundo por los gobiernos, inclusive aquí­ en Venezuela, como hoy sucede con la gripe porcina en la América toda.
“GRIPE PORCINA DESATA PÁNICO”, titula un matutino gati-pardo de circulación nacional en primera página, el 26 de los corrientes, en la nueva escalada mediática y comercial, siendo los medios de desinformación aliados comerciales fundamentales del farmaco-terror, que no tengo la menor duda, esto es el producto de una acción deliberada producida desde el paí­s del sueño americano, para hacer dinero importándole poco lo que haga para lograr el objetivo; que además de recoger unos cobres, contribuye para desestabilizar la región, y, de ser posible tumba gobiernos. ¿Será que ahora nos toca a nosotros, los latinos un ensayo biológico, ante “ciertas insolencias y ligerezas” que se han dado en el sur, en particular las que ha tenido Felipe Calderón? Con mi Imperio no te metas. Después del petróleo, el mejor negocio es la enfermedad.
No niego la posibilidad de esta enfermedad, lo que cuestiono es su origen. ¿No recuerdan la fiebre porcina que atacó a Cuba? En 1972 fue introducido en Cuba el virus de la fiebre porcina, lo que obligó a sacrificar más de medio millón de cerdos; y, entre 1979 y 1981, cuatro plagas que afectaron a personas y cultivos: la conjuntivitis hemorrágica, el dengue, la roya de la caña de azúcar y el moho azul del tabaco.
No porque en USA ahora tengan presidente negro de origen musulmán, van a cambiar o detenerse los planes imperiales. No olvidemos que la OMS es una expresión de la Naciones Unidas, razón que hace cuestionable su integridad y controvertible su imparcialidad.
Hasta los incautos medios revolucionarios reseñan y cito: Diario VEA: constituye una “situación grave” e “imprevisible” con “potencial pandémico”, … . No hago irrelevante la realidad que enfrentamos, más cuando, repito, “sabrá Dios que peste soltó el imperio” y nosotros le estamos haciendo el juego, pero reservarse el derecho a la duda, también es legí­timo. Veremos las fantabulosas sumas de dinero que se dispensarán por y desde los gobiernos latinoamericanos a la prevención de la gripe porcina, a sabiendas de que para ninguna gripe hay profilaxis, mas allá del control migratorio; si no, recuerden los trajes de marcianos exhibidos por el Ministerio de salud y que demostraron durante una gestión de salud de este gobierno bolivariano, que tuvo que enfrentar la gripe aviar, dio sentimiento de frustración, por que si bien no llegó la peste, la lógica y la sensatez apuntaba a lo que sucedió: nada. Dineros que terminarán en el norte, pues son ellos quienes venden los saumerios, atavíos y contras, de las pestes que ellos mismos nos mandan.
La OMS decide cambiar el nombre de la gripe porcina al de gripe AH1N1
"Hemos abandonado la denominación de gripe porcina por el de gripe AH1N1 porque el virus es cada vez más humano y cada vez tenía menos a ver con el animal", explicó el portavoz de la institución Dick Thomson.
La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) decidió este jueves cambiar el nombre de la hasta la fecha llamada gripe porcina por el de gripe AH1N1.
“Hemos abandonado la denominación de gripe porcina por el de gripe AH1N1 porque el virus es cada vez más humano y cada vez tenía menos a ver con el animal“, explicó el portavoz de la institución Dick Thomson.
“Hemos recibido muchas consultas de asociaciones de animales y productores cuestionándonos sobre el nombre, y finalmente hemos decidido cambiarlo”, agregó el portavoz.
Asimismo, la OMS elevó su recuento mundial de casos confirmados de gripe AH1N1 a 257, comparado con los 148 de ayer (miércoles).
El organismo dijo que el número de casos confirmados en México ascendió a 97, con siete muertos. La cifra de Estados Unidos es de 109 con un muerto.
Alberto Cudemos: El virus no se transmite a través de los cerdos, sino de humano a humano
El mercado porcino ha sido afectado en 80% en España, en 40% en México, mientras que en Venezuela ha sido de 30%. "Es una bomba atómica que se le está dando al sector porcino sin ninguna razón. Porque no hay ni un cerdo afectado", expresó el presidente de Feporcina, Alberto Cudemos.
No hay un solo cerdo afectado por la enfermedad de segunda influencia y en la medida en que van pasando los días se comprueba que no se transmite a través de los cerdos, sino de humano a humano.
Así lo puntualizó, Alberto Cudemos, presidente de Feporcina, durante el programa Despertó Venezuela, que transmite VTV, al desmontar la matriz que se ha impuesto en torno al nuevo virus que ha afectado hasta ahora el hemisferio norte.
Argumentó que todavía no se ha localizado el famoso cerdo que le pegó supuestamente la fiebre amarilla al niño paciente cero en México.
Organizaciones solicitan cambiar nombre al virus
Destacó que la Asociación Mundial de la Salud Animal y la Organización Internacional de Bisontes, entes reconocidos por Naciones Unidas, han señalado que el cerdo no es el causante de la enfermedad. Es por ello que estas organizaciones solicitan junto con Feporcina, que se le designe otro nombre a la enfermedad.
Cudemos resaltó que en Venezuela, existe una comisión de prevención del virus, presidida por el ministro Mantilla, y representantes del Instituto Nacional de Sanidad Agrícola Integral y Feporcina.
Resaltó que el mercado ha sido afectado en 80% en España en 40% en México, mientras que en Venezuela ha sido de 30%. "La producción porcina a escala mundial está siendo afectado", expresó.
Argumentó que no hay otra proteína carnina que pueda competir con el consumo de cerdo a escala mundial y que por ello la economía de alimentación del mundo depende de nuestro sector.
"Es una bomba atómica que se le está dando al sector porcino sin ninguna razón. Porque no hay ni un cerdo afectado".
En materia de salud animal agregó que el Instituto Nacional de Sanidad visita las granjas y fincas y que en el aspecto de sanidad humana, hay un cuerpo de médicos que está recibiendo a los aviones que vienen de México.
Reiteró que no hay ningún riesgo en consumir carne de cerdo, o cualquier producto proveniente del cerdo.

segunda-feira, 4 de maio de 2009

Bernie Madoff

By Michael Moore

Elie Wiesel called him a "God." His investors called him a "genius." But, proving correct that old adage from the country and western song, you never really know what goes on behind closed doors.
Bernie Madoff, for at least 20 years, ran a Ponzi scheme on thousands of clients, among them the people you and I would consider the best and brightest. Business leaders, celebrities, charities, even some of his own relatives and his defense attorney were taken for a ride (this has to be the first time a lawyer was hosed by the client).
We're clearly in one of those historic, game changing years: up is down, red is blue and black is President. Aside from Obama himself, no person will provide a more iconic face of this end-of-capitalism-as-we-know-it year than Bernard Lawrence Madoff.
Which is too bad. Yes, he stole $65 billion from some already quite wealthy people. I know that's upsetting to them because rich guys like Bernie are not supposed to be stealing from their own kind. Crime, thievery, looting — that's what happens on the other side of town. The rules of the money game on Park Avenue and Wall Street are comprised of things like charging the public 29% credit card interest, tricking people into taking out a second mortgage they can't afford, and concocting a student loan system that has graduates in hock for the next 20 years. Now that's smart business! And it's legal. That's where Bernie went wrong — his scheming, his trickery was an outrage both because it was illegal and because he preyed on his side of the tracks.
Had Mr. Madoff just followed the example of his fellow top one-percenters, there were many ways he could have legally multiplied his wealth many times over. Here's how it's done. First, threaten your workers that you'll move their jobs offshore if they don't agree to reduce their pay and benefits. Then move those jobs offshore. Then place that income on the shores of the Cayman Islands and pay no taxes. Don't put the money back into your company. Put it into your pocket and the pockets of your shareholders. There! Done! Legal!
But Bernie wanted to play X-games Capitalism, run by the mantra that's at the core of all capitalistic endeavors: Enough Is Never Enough. You have the right to make as much as you can, and if people are too stupid to read the fine print of their health insurance policy or their GM "100,000-mile warranty," well, tough luck, losers. Buyers beware!
It would be too easy — and the wrong lesson learned — to put Bernie on TIME's list all by himself. If Ponzi schemes are such a bad thing, then why have we allowed all of our top banks to deal in credit default swaps and other make-believe rackets? Why did we allow those same banks to create the scam of a sub-prime mortgage? And instead of putting the people responsible in the cell block in Lower Manhattan, where Bernie now resides, why did we give them huge sums of our hard-earned tax dollars to bail them out of their self-inflicted troubles? Bernard Madoff is nothing more than the scab on the wound. He's also a most-needed and convenient distraction. Where's the photo on this list of the ex-chairmen of AIG, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup? Where's the mug shot of Phil Gramm, the senator who wrote the bill to strip the system of its regulations, or of the President who signed that bill? And how 'bout those who ran the fake numbers at the ratings agencies, the lobbyists who succeeded in making sleazy accounting a lawful practice, or the stock market itself — an institution that's treated like the Holy Sepulchre instead of the casino that it is (and, like all other casinos, the house eventually wins).
And what of Madoff's clients themselves? What did they think was going on to guarantee them incredible returns on their investments every single year — when no one else on planet Earth was getting anything like that? Some have admitted they did have an inkling "something was up," but no one really wanted to ask what it was that was making their money grow on trees. They were afraid they might find out it had nothing to do with gardening. Many of Madoff's victims have told investigators that, over the years, they have made much more than the original investment they gave Bernie. If I buy a stolen car from the guy down the street, the police will take that car from me regardless of whether I knew it was stolen. If I knew it was stolen, then I go to jail for receiving stolen property. Will these "victims" give back their gains that were fraudulently obtained? Will the head of Goldman Sachs reveal what he was doing at the meetings with the Fed chairman and the Treasury secretary before the bailout? Will Bank of America please tell us what they've spent $45 billion of our TARP money on?

That's probably going too far. Better that we just put Bernie on this list.

Moore's new documentary on the wonders of capitalism will be in movie theaters this fall.

Fast Fact: Madoff likes jewelry; he collected watches and had more than one wedding ring

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894410_1893837_1894189,00.html

Casa da Música

sexta-feira, 1 de maio de 2009

Música africana contemporânea 5

Música africana contemporânea 4

Música africana contemporânea 3

Música africana contemporânea 2

Música africana contemporânea 1 - NNEKA

Flying Pigs, Tamiflu and Factory Farms


By F. William Engdahl

If we are to believe what our trusted international media report, the world is on the brink of a global pandemic outbreak of a new deadly strain of flu, H1N1 as it has been labelled, or more popularly, Swine Flu. As the story goes, the outbreak of the deadly flu was first discovered in Mexico. According to press reports, after several days, headlines reported as many as perhaps 150 deaths in Mexico were believed caused by this virulent people-killing pig virus that has spread to humans and now is allegedly being further spread from human to human. Cases were being reported hourly from Canada to Spain and beyond. The only thing wrong with this story is that it is largely based on lies, hype and coverup of possible real causes of Mexican deaths.

April 29, 2009 "Global Research" --- One website, revealingly named Swine Flu Vaccine, reports the alarming news, ‘One out of every five residents of Mexico's most populous city wore masks to protect themselves against the virus as Mexico City seems to be the epicenter of the outbreak. As many as 103 deaths have been attributed to the swine flu so far with many more feared to be on the horizon. The health department of Mexico said an additional 1,614 reported cases have been documented.’ We are told that the H1N1 ‘shares genetic material from human, avian and swine influenza viruses.’1

Airports around the world have installed passenger temperature scans to identify anyone with above normal body temperature as possible suspect for swine flu. Travel to Mexico has collapsed. Sales of flu vaccines, above all Tamiflu from Roche Inc., have exploded in days. People have stopped buying pork fearing certain death. The World Health Organization has declared a ‘a public health emergency of international concern,’ defined by them as ‘an occurrence or imminent threat of illness or health conditions caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or highly fatal infectious agents or toxins that pose serious risk to a significant number of people.’2

What are the symptoms of this purported Swine Flu? That’s not at all clear according to virologists and public health experts. They say Swine Flu symptoms are relatively general and nonspecific. ‘So many different things can cause these symptoms. it is a dilemma,’ says one doctor interviewed by CNN. ‘There is not a perfect test right now to let a doctor know that a person has the Swine Flu.’ It has been noted that most individuals with Swine Flu had an early on set of fever. Also it was common to see dizziness, body aches and vomiting in addition to the common sneezing, headache and other cold symptoms. These are symptoms so general as to say nothing.

The US Government’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta states on its official website, ‘Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.’ Nonetheless they add, ‘CDC has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. However, at this time, it is not known how easily the virus spreads between people.’3

How many media that have grabbed on the headline ‘suspected case of Swine Flu’ in recent days bother to double check with the local health authorities to ask some basic questions? For example, the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 and their location? The number of deaths confirmed to have resulted from H1N1? Dates of both? Number of suspected cases and of suspected deaths related to the Swine Flu disease?

Some known facts
According to Biosurveillance, itself part of Veratect, a US Pentagon and Government-linked epidemic reporting center, on April 6, 2009 local health officials declared a health alert due to a respiratory disease outbreak in La Gloria, Perote Municipality, Veracruz State, Mexico.

They reported, ‘Sources characterized the event as a ‘strange’ outbreak of acute respiratory infection, which led to bronchial pneumonia in some pediatric cases. According to a local resident, symptoms included fever, severe cough, and large amounts of phlegm. Health officials recorded 400 cases that sought medical treatment in the last week in La Gloria, which has a population of 3,000; officials indicated that 60% of the town’s population (approximately 1,800 cases) has been affected. No precise timeframe was provided, but sources reported that a local official had been seeking health assistance for the town since February.’ What they later say is ‘strange’ is not the form of the illness but the time of year as most flu cases occur in Mexico in the period October to February.
The report went on to note, ‘Residents claimed that three pediatric cases, all under two years of age, died from the outbreak. However, health officials stated that there was no direct link between the pediatric deaths and the outbreak; they stated the three fatal cases were "isolated" and "not related" to each other.’
Then, most revealingly, the aspect of the story which has been largely ignored by major media, they reported, ‘Residents believed the outbreak had been caused by contamination from pig breeding farms located in the area. They believed that the farms, operated by Granjas Carroll, polluted the atmosphere and local water bodies, which in turn led to the disease outbreak. According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to "flu." However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.’4
Since the dawn of American ‘agribusiness,’ a project initiated with funding by the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1950’s to turn farming into a pure profit maximization business, US pig or hog production has been transformed into a highly efficient, mass production industrialized enterprise from birth to slaughter. Pigs are caged in what are called Factory Farms, industrial concentrations which are run with the efficiency of a Dachau or Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They are all conceived by artificial insemination and once born, are regularly injected with antibiotics, not because of illnesses which abound in the hyper-crowded growing pens, but in order to make them grow and add weight faster. Turn around time to slaughter is a profit factor of highest priority. The entire operation is vertically integrated from conception to slaughter to transport distribution to supermarket.
Granjas Carroll de Mexico (GCM) happens to be such a Factory Farm concentration facility for hogs. In 2008 they produced almost one million factory hogs, 950,000 according to their own statistics. GCM is a joint venture operation owned 50% by the world’s largest pig producing industrial company, Smithfield Foods of Virginia.5 The pigs are grown in a tiny rural area of Mexico, a member of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and primarily trucked across the border to supermarkets in the USA, under the Smithfields’ family of labels. Most American consumers have no idea where the meat was raised.
Now the story becomes interesting.
Manure Lagoons and other playing fields
The Times of London interviewed the mother of 4-year-old Edgar Hernandez of La Gloria in Veracruz, the location of the giant Smithfield Foods hog production facility. Their local reporter notes, ‘Edgar Hernández plays among the dogs and goats that roam through the streets, seemingly unaware that the swine flu he contracted a few weeks ago — the first known case — has almost brought his country to a standstill and put the rest of the world on alert. ‘I feel great,’ the five-year-old boy said. ‘But I had a headache and a sore throat and a fever for a while. I had to lay down in bed.’’
The reporters add, ‘It was confirmed on Monday (April 27 2009-w.e.) that Edgar was the first known sufferer of swine flu, a revelation that has put La Gloria and its surrounding factory pig farms and ‘manure lagoons’ at the centre of a global race to find how this new and deadly strain of swine flu emerged.’ 6
That’s quite interesting. They speak of ‘La Gloria and its surrounding factory pig farms and ‘manure lagoons.’’ Presumably the manure lagoons around the LaGloria factory pig farm of Smithfield Foods are the waste dumping place for the feces and urine waste from at least 950,000 pigs a year that pass through the facility. The Smithfield’s Mexico joint venture, Norson, states that alone they slaughter 2,300 pigs daily. That’s a lot. It gives an idea of the volumes of pig waste involved in the concentration facility at La Gloria.
Significantly, according to the Times reporters, ‘residents of La Gloria have been complaining since March that the odour from Granjas Carroll’s pig waste was causing severe respiratory infections. They held a demonstration this month at which they carried signs of pigs crossed with an X and marked with the word peligro (danger).’7 There have been calls to exhume the bodies of the children who died of pneumonia so that they could be tested. The state legislature of Veracruz has demanded that Smithfield’s Granjas Carroll release documents about its waste-handling practices. Smithfield Foods reportedly declined to comment on the request, saying that it would ‘not respond to rumours.’8
A research compilation by Ed Harris reported, ‘According to residents, the company denied responsibility for the outbreak and attributed the cases to ‘flu.’ However, a municipal health official stated that preliminary investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.’9 That would imply that the entire Swine Flu scare might have originated from the PR spin doctors of the world’s largest industrial pig factory farm operation, Smithfield Foods.
The Vera Cruz-based newspaper La Marcha blames Smithfield’s Granjos Carroll for the outbreak, highlighting inadequate treatment of massive quantities of animal waste from hog production.10
Understandably the company is perhaps more than a bit uncomfortable with the sudden attention. The company, which supplies the McDonald’s and Subway fast-food chains, was fined $12.3 million in the United States 1997 for violating the Clean Water Act. Perhaps they are in a remote tiny Mexican rural area enjoying a relatively lax regulatory climate where they need not worry about being cited for violations of any Clean Water Act.
Factory Farms as toxic concentrations
At the very least the driving force for giant industrial agribusiness outsourcing of facilities to third world sites such as Veracruz, Mexico has more to do with further cost reduction and lack of health and safety scrutiny than it does with improving the health and safety quality of the food end product. It has been widely documented and subject of US Congressional reports that large-scale indoor animal production facilities such as that of Granjos Carroll are notorious breeding grounds for toxic pathogens.
A recent report by the US Pew Foundation in cooperation with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health notes, ‘the method of producing food animals in the United States has changed from the extensive system of small and medium-sized farms owned by a single family to a system of large, intensive operations where the animals are housed in large numbers in enclosed structures that resemble industrial buildings more than they do a traditional barn. That change has happened primarily out of view of consumers but has come at a cost to the environment and a negative impact on public health, rural communities, and the health and well-being of the animals themselves. 11

The Pew study notes, ‘The diversified, independent, family-owned farms of 40 years ago that produced a variety of crops and a few animals are disappearing as an economic entity, replaced by much larger, and often highly leveraged, farm factories. The animals that many of these farms produce are owned by the meat packing companies from the time they are born
or hatched right through their arrival at the processing plant and from there to market.’ 12

The study emphasizes that application of ‘untreated animal waste on cropland can contribute to excessive nutrient loading, contaminate surface waters, and stimulate bacteria and algal
growth and subsequent reductions in dissolved oxygen concentrations in surface waters.’13

That is where the real investigation ought to begin, with the health and sanitary dangers of the industrial factory pig farms like the one at Perote in Veracruz. The media spread of panic-mongering reports of every person in the world who happens to contract ‘symptoms’ which vaguely resemble flu or even Swine Flu and the statements to date of authorities such as WHO or CDC are far from conducive to a rational scientific investigation..

Tamiflu and Rummy

In October 2005 the Pentagon ordered vaccination of all US military personnel worldwide against what it called Avian Flu, H5N1. Scare stories filled world media. Then, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced he had budgeted more than $1 billion to stockpile the vaccine, Oseltamivir sold under the name, Tamiflu. President Bush called on Congress to appropriate another $2 billion for Tamiflu stocks.

What Rumsfeld neglected to report at the time was a colossal conflict of interest. Prior to coming to Washington in January 2001, Rumsfeld had been chairman of a California pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences. Gilead Sciences held exclusive world patent rights to Tamiflu, a drug it had developed and whose world marketing rights were sold to the Swiss pharma giant, Roche. Rumsfeld was reportedly the largest stock holder in Gilead which got 10% of every Tamiflu dose Roche sold. 14 When it leaked out, the Pentagon issued a curt statement to the effect that Secretary Rumsfeld had decided not to sell but to retain his stock in Gilead, claiming that to sell would have indicated something to hide.’ That agonizing decision won him reported added millions as the Gilead share price soared more than 700% in weeks.

Tamiflu is no mild candy to be taken lightly. It has heavy side effects. It contains matter that could have potentially deadly consequences for a person’s breathing and often reportedly leads to nausea, dizziness and other flu-like symptoms.

Since the outbreak of Swine Flu Panic (not Swine Flu but Swine Flu Panic) sales of Tamiflu as well as any and every possible drug marketed as flu related have exploded. Wall Street firms have rushed to issue ‘buy’ recommendations for the company. ‘Gimme me a shot Doc, I don’t care what it is…I don’ wanna die…’

Panic and fear of death was used by the Bush Administration skilfully to promote the Avian Flu fraud. With ominous echoes of the current Swine Flu scare, Avian Flu was traced back to huge chicken factory farms in Thailand and other parts of Asia whose products were shipped across the world. Instead of a serious investigation into the sanitary conditions of those chicken factory farms, the Bush Administration and WHO blamed ‘free-roaming chickens’ on small family farms, a move that had devastating economic consequences to the farmers whose chickens were being raised in the most sanitary natural conditions. Tyson Foods of Arkansas and CG Group of Thailand reportedly smiled all the way to the bank.

Now it remains to be seen if the Obama Administration will use the scare around so-called Swine Flu to repeat the same scenario, this time with ‘flying pigs’ instead of flying birds. Already Mexican authorities have reported that the number of deaths confirmed from so-called Swine Flu is 7 not the 150 or more bandied in the media and that most other suspected cases were ordinary flu or influenza.

(To be continued) F. William Engdahl is author of Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation (Global Rersearch, 2007, see below) and A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order (Pluto Press). His new book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order (Third Millennium Press) is due out end of May. He may be contacted through his website: http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/.


Notes

1 Health Advisory, accessed in http://www.swine-flu-vaccine.info/.
2 Ibid.
3 Centers for Disease Control, Swine Influenza and You, accessed in http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/swineflu_you.htm.
4 Biosurveillance, Swine Flu in Mexico- Timeline of Events, April 24, 2009, accessed in http://biosurveillance.typepad.com/biosurveillance/2009/04/swine-flu-in-mexico-timeline-of-events.html.
5 Smithfield Foods website, accessed in http://www.smithfieldfoods.com/our_company/our_family/Norson.aspx.
6] Ruth Maclean in La Gloria and Chris Ayres in Mexico City, I had a headache and fever’ says boy who survived, London Times, April 28, 2009.
7] Ibid.
8 Ibid.
9 Ed Harris, Bloggers Examine Environmental Role in Mexico Swine Flu Outbreak, April 27, 2009, accessed in http://www.planetthoughts.org/?pg=pt/Whole&qid=2870.
10 Ibid.
11 The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm
Animal Production in America, accessed in http://www.ncifap.org/_images/PCIFAPFin.pdf.
12 Ibid.
13 Ibid.
14 F. William Engdahl, Is Avian Flu another Pentagon Hoax?, GlobalResearch, October 30, 2005.
© Copyright F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 2009
http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22518.htm

Why the US still hates Cuba


By Federico FuentesApril 28, 2009 "Green Left"


At the centre of the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago over April 17-19, was the only country from the hemisphere not present — Cuba.
Speaking at the opening session, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted that while a large majority of the heads of states of the Americas were present, “there are two major absentees”. The first was “Cuba, whose crime has been to fight for its independence, for the sovereignty of the peoples; lending solidarity, without conditions, to our peoples, and for that it is being sanctioned, for that it is being punished, for that it is being excluded.” The second was the nation of Puerto Rico, which continues to be an official colony of the United States — denied independence. In 1962, Cuba was expelled from the Organisation of American States for having openly declared the nature of its revolution to be socialist — based on the ideology of “Marxism-Leninism”. Despite its exclusion, Cuba’s presence was felt at the summit. In his April 4 column, “Why is Cuba being excluded?”, former Cuban president Fidel Castro explained that Ortega “gave me a large number of paragraphs that are being debated about the final declaration of the upcoming Port of Spain Summit”. Arguing that there were “a great number of inadmissible concepts”, he said that the summit would be a “litmus test for the peoples of the Caribbean and Latin America”. Cuban President Raul Castro attended the Bolivarian Alternatives for Our Americas (ALBA) Summit in Cumana, Venezuela, over April 16-17, in which the anti-imperialist bloc sought to “prepare its artillery”. The ALBA countries (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Dominica) issued a public document declaring their opposition to the draft declaration of the Summit of the Americas. Part of the reason was the exclusion of Cuba and the refusal of the US to lift its nearly five decade-long economic blockade. At the summit, Latin American president after president denounced the US blockade and called for Cuba’s inclusion in the summit. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed the next summit be held in Havana. Others raised the need for an Organisation of Latin American and Caribbean States, including Cuba but not the US or Canada. The March decisions by the Costa Rican and El Salvadoran government to renew diplomatic ties with Cuba left the US as the only country in the Americas without official ties with Cuba’s socialist government. This is a long way from previous decades, when only a handful of regional governments kept links and the OAS backed US anti-Cuba policy. In light of this hemispheric shift, the Obama administration recently moved to lift travel restrictions to Cuba for Cubans living in the US. It also eased restrictions on remittances from Cuban immigrants in the US sent home. However, Obama remains firm on keeping the US blockade, despite speculation of more changes to come.. On April 20, the Washington Post reported Obama as saying: “The policy that we’re had in place for 50 years hasn’t worked the way we want it to.” This is because, Obama said, “The Cuban people are not free”. But, as Shamus Cooke noted in PEJ News that same day, the “purpose of the embargo is not to pressure Cuba into being more democratic: this lie can be easily refuted by the numerous dictators the U.S. has supported in the hemisphere, not to mention dictators the U.S. is currently propping up all over the Middle East and elsewhere”. The real cause of continued US hostility is that “Cuba remains a solid source of pride” for the continent. Cuba achieved impressive social gains, including an extensive and completely free education system and a lower infant mortality rate than the US. It has achieved these gains despite the US blockade and the economic crisis caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The US government and its apologists accuse Cuba of a lack of democracy. Cuba’s system is not perfect. However, not only is access to housing, jobs, education and health care (guaranteed in Cuba) pre-requisites for democratic participation, Cuba’s political system is based on “people’s power”. Cuban citizens are able to exercise significant control over the system — including the right to recall elected officials. “Where is there more democracy, in the United States or in Cuba?”, Chavez said. “Who has the democracy meter? I have no doubt that there is more democracy in Cuba than in the United States.” Speaking at the ALBA summit, Bolivian President Evo Morales said, “The US has no right or authority to speak of democracy, because they are the ones that foster coups”. He said Cuba exercised a democracy, in which million-dollar electoral campaigns don’t exist Cuba’s crime is the political and economic independence won through the revolution. Cooke said: “Defeating the U.S. Bay of Pigs invasion [in 1961] while remaining fiercely independent in a region dominated by U.S. corporations and past government interventions has made Cuba an inspiration to millions of Latin Americans. This profound break from U.S. dominance — in its ‘own backyard’ no less — is not so easily forgiven. “There is also a deeper reason for not removing the embargo. The foundation of the Cuban economy is arranged in such a way that it threatens the most basic philosophic principle shared by the two-party system: the market economy (capitalism).” Cooke said that “the current crisis of world capitalism is again posing the question: is there another way to organize society?”

http://informationclearinghouse.info/article22512.htm