terça-feira, 25 de março de 2014

The U.S.’s Terrorism Double Standard - The Vicious Campaign Against Cuba

During the last 50 years, the United States has suffered from a constant stream of vicious terrorist acts, first carried out by the Cuban government and then later outsourced to anti-capitalist groups who were given safe haven in the country. The human toll is enormous – 3,478 dead, 2,009 injured, and many more suffering the mental health problems associated with traumatic stress.  The terrorist attacks include blowing up a civilian airplane, bombing hotels and restaurants in tourist neighborhoods, machine gun attacks from speed boats against coastal towns, introduction of chemical and biological agents such as dengue fever, and a program of conspiracy between the Cuban state and the Catholic church to remove thousands of children from their parents and the U.S.
All of this is true – only in reverse. The victim of the hostile aggression has always been Cuba. The country may be the worst victim of terrorism in the Post-WWII era. But in the bizarro world of the U.S. government, in a textbook case of projection, it is the Cuban government who is responsible for sabotage, destabilization and interference. The U.S. has even designated Cuba as a “state sponsor or terror.” In a historic irony, it was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq that was removed from the list to make room for Cuba in the early ’80s.
Terrorism was the main tactic in the campaign of subversion and interference that started immediately after the success of the revolutionary movement led by Fidel Castro. In March 1960,President Eisenhower green-lighted the first funds for the CIA to overthrow the new government. It is safe to say that Eisenhower did not lose any sleep over the mandate in the U.N. Charter that nations must refrain from the threat or use of force against another sovereign nation. By the time the Bay of Pigs Invasion was carried out, after being approved by new President John F. Kennedy, it was a full-scale ground operation launched in April 1961, consisting of 1,400 paramilitary troops and air support from B-26 bombers.  The Cuban Army was quickly able to beat back the invasion, and the terrorist and mercenary forces quickly surrendered.
While all of Latin America rejoiced at the imperialist U.S.A. walking away with its tail between its legs, the military planners in Washington were just getting started. Their response to the humiliating defeat was not to obey international law and leave the rightful Cuban government alone, but to double down. The result was Operation Mongoose, which was authorized by President Kennedy in November 1961.  Operation Mongoose involved thousands of people, millions of dollars and a violation of the Neutrality Act, which prevented CIA Operations in the United States, according to Noam Comsky.
“These Operations included bombing of hotels and industrial installations, sinking of fishing boats, poisoning of crops and livestock, contamination of sugar exports, etc. Not all these actions were specifically authorized by the CIA, but no such considerations absolve official enemies,” Chomsky writes.
Harvard historian Jorge Dominguez, in his review of thousands of declassified documents regarding the terrorist campaign against Cuba notes the complete lack of indifference toward human life.
“Only once in these nearly thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S.-government sponsored terrorism’: a member of the NSC staff suggested that it might lead to some Russian reaction, and raids that are ‘haphazard and kill innocents … might mean a bad press in some friendly countries,’” Dominguez says.
The hysteria of the U.S. military planners is evident by looking at the proposed terrorist campaign Operation Northwoods, a series of false flag attacks to be carried out within the United States and blamed on Cuba to create public support for a U.S. military invasion to overthrow Castro once and for all. The project made it as far as getting approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but thankfully President Kennedy showed some semblance of humanity by rejecting terrorism against his own citizens.
Terrorism against Cuba continued throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but eventually operations were left to right-wing anti-Castro militants based in Miami. The new government strategy was to turn a blind eye. Many of the people in these terrorist organizations were former CIA agents and paramilitaries who were veterans of the Bay of Pigs invasion. The two most prominent and dangerous such agents were Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch.
Posada and Bosch were suspected in the bombing of Cubana de Aviación Flight 455 in 1976 that killed all 78 people on board. The victims included all 24 member of the Cuban national fencing team that was returning with gold medals, after being victorious in the Central American Championships. Also on board were a group of fisherman who had completed a contract fishing in Guyana. Two men who boarded the plane and later disembarked before the plane took off from its final stop in Jamaica  were later caught.  Both confessed that Posada and Bosch were the masterminds behind the plot. A declassified FBI report quotes a reliable source confirming that Posada was involved in the planning.
Both men later ended up living in the U.S. Bosch would die in Florida a free man in 2011, after years of involvement with militant anti-Cuban organizations.  He was jailed on unrelated charges in the ’80s, but pardoned in 1990 by George H.W. Bush.  The first President Bush did so at the request of his son Jeb, who was acting on behalf of his allies in the powerful Miami anti-Castro community.  The President issued his pardon despite warnings from his own Attorney General who called Bosch and “unrepentant terrorist.”
Posada has also wound up in U.S. jails but is now free living in the Miami area. The U.S. has refused to extradite him to either Venezuela or Cuba. He continued his terrorist career and was responsible for more deaths.  Speaking to the New York Times, Posada admitted: “he organized a wave of bombing in Cuba [in 1997] at hotels, restaurants and discotheques, killing an Italian tourist and alarming the Cuban Government.” Mr. Posada, the article states, “was schooled in demolition and guerilla warfare by the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960′s.”
The former CIA terrorist also admitted the involvement of other groups based in Florida.  He said: “the hotel bombings and other operations had been supported by leaders of the Cuban-American National Foundation. Its founder and head, Jorge Mas Canosa, who died [in 1997], was embraced at the White House by Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton.”
Today Posada lives as a free man in Miami, as Bosch had before he passed away. Posada is still active in supporting anti-Castro groups such as the Ladies in White, who generated much controversy recently when members were detained in Havana for several hours upon protesting publicly.
Another example of horrific terrorist acts against Cuba are the numerous instances of chemical and biological warfare. The worst may be the alleged introduction in 1981 of dengue fever, whichkilled hundreds and sickened thousands more. Many other cases involving poison and sabotage of tobbaco and sugar crops have been reported.
In his excellent book “Voices from the Other Side: An Oral History of Terrorism Against Cuba,” Keith Bolender interviews survivors and relatives of terrorism victims in Cuba.  His many interviews include a woman who lost her leg as a child from machine gun fire by terrorists from Miami attacking her coastal village; the wife of the pilot of Flight 455; a mother who lost her daughter to dengue fever; and a man who as a teenager found an unexploded bomb at a hotel while waiting to play in a chess tournament.
Bolender also puts the terrorist actions in the context of American policy.
“American aggression ran from the embargo, propaganda, isolation, and the Bay of Pigs military invasion. As the rhetoric increased, terrorist acts were formulated and carried out.. American officials estimated millions would be spent to develop internal security systems, and State Department officials expected the Cuban government to increase internal surveillance in an attempt to prevent further acts of terrorism.  These systems, which restricted civil rights, became easy targets for critics,” he writes.
There are many other terrorist organizations who live openly in Florida. With names such as Omega 7, Comandos F4, Brigade 2506 and Alpha 66, these groups have admitted to killing people in the past and announce their intention to do so in the future.
“Other than an occasional federal gun charge, nothing much seems to happen to most of these would-be-revolutionaries,” write Tristram Korten and Kirk Nielsen in Salon. “They are allowed to train nearly unimpeded despite making explicit plans to violate the 70-year-old U.S. Neutrality Act and overthrow a sovereign country’s government… No one has ever been charged for anti-Cuban terrorism under [anti-terror] laws.”
The article goes on to mention how the federal government has failed to extradite other militants accused of terrorism and murder such as Luis Posada Carriles.
Anyone who has use of his brain can see the hypocrisy in the U.S.’s official position on terrorism enunciated by George W. Bush in an address to Congress the week after September 11, 2001.
“From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we’re not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans,” Bush said. Shortly after, he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan after refusing to provide the Taliban regime with any evidence that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
According to his own doctrine, Bush himself would be fair game for a Venezuelan commando raid on his Crawford ranch. And his father would likewise be a legitimate target in his Kennebunkport home for a Panamanian commando squad. Cuban jet fighters and drones would be completely justified in launching attacks in Miami whenever they saw fit.
In reality, the Cuban government has decided to follow the course of international law in its efforts to combat terrorism. They have managed to infiltrate right-wing militant groups in Florida to prevent future plots. After gathering evidence and making a case for what these groups were planning, Cuban authorities shared their intelligence with FBI officials in 1997.  The FBI listened to Cuba’s case, took the information back to the States – and arrested the Cubans who had foiled the plots. (For comparison, after catching the paramilitaries who physically invaded Cuba on a military mission to overthrow the government at the Bay of Pigs, most invaders were questioned and sent back to the U.S.)
The Cuban Five, as those imprisoned for fighting terrorism are called, are hardly known, if at all, in the United States. But they are heroes in the native country.
Stephen Kimber, writing in the Washington Post, tries to put the story of the Cuban Five in perspective: “Consider for a moment what would happen if American intelligence agents on the ground in a foreign country uncovered a major terrorist plot, with enough time to prevent it. And then consider how Americans would react if authorities in that country, rather than cooperate with us, arrested and imprisoned the U.S. agents for operating on their soil.
“Those agents would be American heroes. The U.S. government would move heaven and Earth to get them back.”
Members of Seal Team 6, who carried out an illegal premeditated assassination of Osama bin Laden in the sovereign territory of Pakistan, have been treated as heroes. As are soldiers who have served in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. How can the U.S. expect to have any credibility in the world when it acts with such blatant hypocrisy?
As Noam Chomsky points out, the U.S. has a long history of hypocrisy when it comes to terrorism. In the ’80s, after Reagan announced his desire to wipe out “the evil scourge of terrorism,” the United Nations took up the issue with a resolution announcing “measures to prevent international terrorism which endangers or takes innocent human lives or jeopardizes fundamental freedoms.”
The bill was passed with virtual unanimous approval of the entire world by a vote of 153 to 2. In opposition were the United States and its client state Israel.
Chomsky describes the U.S. use of the “propagandistic approach” to terrorism. “We begin with the thesis that terrorism is the responsibility of some officially designated enemy. We then designate terrorist acts as ‘terrorist’ just in the cases where they can be attributed (whether plausibly or not) to the required source; otherwise they are to be ignored, suppressed, or termed ‘retaliation’ or ‘self-defence.’”
A look at the U.S.’s flagrant disregard for international law and principles reveals actions such as denial of habeas corpus and due proccess (originated in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago); unilaterally undertaking aggressive wars; “shock and awe” bombings; extraordinary renditions; and extrajudicial assassinations, including with drone strikes and Hellfire missiles. These all demonstrate the extent to which the U.S. is willing to disobey all legal and moral conventions to achieve its political goals, all in the name of fighting terrorism.
To deny that Cuba and its residents have been, and are the victims of terrorism for more than half a century is an outrage. To add insult to injury by labeling the Cuban government a sponsor of terrorism because of political considerations is just cruel.
The many victims of terrorism in Cuba may never see justice carried out by those responsible. But their suffering is the same as that felt by Americans after 9/11.  The least we can do is admit that, and stop allowing our government to use terrorism as a propaganda tool for its own convenience while the real human cost is ignored in countries other than our own.

quarta-feira, 19 de março de 2014

New York 1932

Fotografo desconhecido

E o melhor cartoon de imprensa de 2014 é... português !

O Grande Prémio da edição deste ano do Press Cartoon Europe distinguiu Rodrigo de Matos, por um trabalho publicado no último ano no semanário Expresso. A distinção internacional foi-lhe atribuída por um trabalho publicado no Expresso Economia onde retrata a forma como o apuramento da selecção nacional de futebol para o Mundial no Brasil distraiu toda a gente da difícil situação económica atravessada por Portugal, onde perante as dificuldades e as políticas de austeridade esta surgiu como única alegria.

terça-feira, 18 de março de 2014


Despite blindness, multiple sclerosis, and lung cancer, photographer Flo Fox continues to shoot the streets of New York City. No longer able to hold a camera, she instructs her aides to take photos for her. She’s an incredible woman with a feisty spirit, sharp wit, and dirty sense of humor.
For more information on Flo visit flofox.com/

domingo, 16 de março de 2014

DR. Melgaço

Documentário "Doutor Melgaço" - Os médicos cubanos na cidade com menor IDH do Brasil. Os moradores da cidade de Melgaço, no interior do Pará, acabaram de receber seus primeiros médicos cubanos e contam ao repórter como era a vida na comunidade e o que mudou.

Via: blog Solidários

segunda-feira, 10 de março de 2014

Preguntas que hacen dudar de la violencia en Venezuela

Entre toda esa lluvia de artículos, mensajes y análisis; me llego uno titulado: “Preguntas que hacen dudar de la violencia en Venezuela”; escritas por el sacerdote jesuita panameño Jorge Sadameda Del Cid, que no tiene desperdicio alguno; donde su autor pone en tela de juicio el accionar de estos neofascistas de los más recalcitrantes de la ultra derecha y en medio de interrogantes va numerando una a una va aflorando verdades, como un grupúsculo sin razón alguna, se ha metido entre ceja y ceja incendiar. Veamos las interrogantes:

1.” ¿Por qué se dice que en Venezuela se sufre tan grave falta de alimentos que justifica destrozos e incendios, si fue uno de los cuatro países con menos hambre de América Latina en 2012 (de acuerdo con FAO y OMS), esto es inferior al 5 por ciento, y uno de los países con mayor índice de niños y jóvenes obesos?

Siguiendo la lógica dominante, ¿por qué no hay peores desmanes en un país hermano como Colombia, en el cual el hambre fue sufrida por el 12.6 por ciento de la población, es decir casi el triple que en Venezuela?

2. ¿Por qué si las causas de los destrozos, incendios y manifestaciones es la escasez de productos básicos, se observan acciones de tipo político y no saqueos de tiendas y almacenes, que es lo normal y esperable cuando de carencia generalizada se trata? ¿Por qué uno de los dirigentes opositores, Henrique Capriles, afirma que se debe a “falta de medicinas” si los avances en salud en Venezuela están entre los más destacados de la región?

3. ¿Por qué tanta violencia por supuesta “ausencia” o falta de acceso a comida si The Economist publicaba esta semana que la escasez sólo ha afectado a un 28 por ciento de los productos? ¿Por qué los mismos analistas no prevén algo igual en República Dominicana, país en el cual el Latinobarómetro detectó que alrededor del 70 por ciento de la población no tiene dinero suficiente para comprar la comida del mes?

4. ¿Por qué el epicentro de las protestas por la “escasez” es Plaza Altamira, en medio de urbanizaciones de clases acomodadas y habitantes con piel tan blanca, y no como es más lógico en barrios pobres y población mestiza, siendo Venezuela el país con mayor proporción de afrodescendientes de Sudamérica, exceptuando Brasil?

5. ¿Por qué Unesco reconoce a Venezuela como el quinto país con mayor matrícula universitaria del mundo, que ha crecido en más de un 800 por ciento, siendo alrededor del 75 por ciento educación superior pública, y sin embargo no se conoce una sola lucha del “movimiento estudiantil” actual para lograrlo, mientras hay “estudiantes” marchando contra “torturas” y por “comida”?

6. ¿Por qué si los estudiantes de la educación superior en Venezuela ya superan los dos millones 600 mil (es decir, alrededor de 20 veces lo que existe en Panamá) las manifestaciones que se observan son más bien en forma de focos o grupos de decenas o, a lo sumo, cientos de personas?

 7. ¿Por qué si lo habitual y normal es que los estudiantes o sindicatos marchen por más bienes y servicios públicos, y leyes más democráticas y equitativas, los “estudiantes” que marchan en Venezuela lo han hecho por papel higiénico, defendiendo la propiedad privada sobre medios de prensa o negocios de consumo?

8. ¿Por qué no se conoce aún el nombre de ninguna federación u organización estudiantil, ningún pliego de demandas ni el nombre de ninguno de sus más importantes dirigentes o miembros de directivas, y sí se conocen los nombres de connotados y antiguos líderes de la oposición partidista y electoral, involucrados en las acciones golpistas de 2002 y 2013?

9. ¿Por qué y quiénes producen las imágenes falsas de torturas, asesinatos y vejaciones posteriores a los confusos hechos del 12 de febrero de 2014, manipulando fotos de Chile, Europa o Siria para que aparezcan en las redes sociales y hasta en medios como CNN como si ocurriesen en Venezuela? ¿Qué liderazgo democrático y civilista se ha valido de algo así en la historia universal?

 10. ¿Por qué si los bolivarianos y sus aliados han ganado las elecciones de 2012 y 2013, incluidas las municipales de diciembre recién pasado cuando obtuvieron el 55 por ciento de los votos y el 76 por ciento de las alcaldías, se habla de que el oficialismo es hoy “minoría? ¿Por qué se propone su renuncia como salida a “la crisis” o un referéndum revocatorio, fuera de todos los plazos y procedimientos legalmente establecidos para ello en la Constitución hecha con el propio liderazgo bolivariano?

11. ¿Por qué se invoca la falta de diálogo si hace apenas dos meses se dio en Venezuela un encuentro histórico entre el Ejecutivo nacional y todos los alcaldes recién electos, incluyendo oficialistas y opositores, y por tanto con la participación de todos los partidos y posiciones? ¿Con quién se dialoga, quién dirige o lidera “la crisis”?

12. ¿Por qué el principal -y prácticamente único- vocero de las manifestaciones, supuestamente pacíficas y alentadas por la ineficiencia” del gobierno, es Leopoldo López, persona que no cuenta con ninguna representación salvo la de su minúsculo partido, y su llamado más importante es, desde hace meses, “sacar a quienes gobiernan”? ¿Qué tiene que ver el Tea Party (ultraderecha de EE. UU.) con esto, ya que se conoce la relación muy cercana con López?

13. ¿Por qué no usan las gobernaciones, alcaldías y curules en las Asambleas nacional y estatales para proponer un curso de acción pacífico y político, y por qué no canalizan a través de su enorme incidencia mediática las denuncias de “corrupción”, “fraude”, “totalitarismo”, “hambre y “represión” con pruebas contundentes e irrefutables -no por twitts ni cápsulas de Youtube- como sí hacían las oposiciones a Trujillo, Balaguer, Pinochet o Videla?

 14. ¿Por qué se protesta si en Venezuela más de 42 por ciento del presupuesto del Estado se destina a las inversiones sociales? Según datos internacionales, cinco millones de personas han salido de la pobreza, entonces ¿quiénes protestan?, ¿por qué se protesta si se erradicó el analfabetismo?, ¿de qué se quejan los estudiantes si se multiplicó por cinco el número de maestros en las escuelas públicas (de 65 mil a 350 mil) y se crearon 11 nuevas universidades?

15. ¿Por qué? Podríamos seguir añadiendo preguntas. Lo cierto es que mientras entre latinoamericanos nos insultamos, acusamos y descalificamos, los “grandes del mundo” hacen sus cálculos para quitarnos el petróleo, el cobre, el litio, el agua y tantas riquezas como tenemos. Ahí es donde tenemos que poner nuestra atención”.
Por Luís Roa para aporrea.org

sexta-feira, 7 de março de 2014

Lisboa 2014

7 de Março de 2014, Lisboa. Dispositivo policial nas escadarias da assembleia da república, durante a manifestação das forças de segurança. Fotografia de Miguel Manso (Público)

segunda-feira, 3 de março de 2014

Dead Combo - A Bunch of Meninos

Bruce Davidson, Master of the Subway

Coney Island, NY. 1959. From Brooklyn Gang.
Coney Island, NY. 1959. From Brooklyn Gang - Bruce Davidson/Magnum
We can all learn a great deal by studying the work of photographer, Bruce Davidson. Born near Chicago in 1933, Davidson has extensively photographed for over 50 years, including subjects such as the Civil Rights Movement in the early ’60s, circus performers, a Brooklyn gang, Spanish Harlem, and a five year project on New York’s subway system in the gritty days of the ‘80s. A few of his main influences were Robert Frank, W. Eugene Smith, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Davidson joined the Magnum photo agency in 1958. Besides Davidson’s intimate photographic style, which you need to view a few of his projects in their entirety to get a feel for, there are a few very important lessons that he can teach you about your own work. Much of Davidson’s work was focused on series and projects. One of his most important works is East 100th Street, where he captured life within a single block in East Harlem in the late ’60s. While many photographers may have tried to capture East Harlem in its entirety, Davidson honed in. He got familiar with a smaller area with a lot of life, and told broad stories by narrowing the subject matter. By focusing on a small part of a large area, he was able to become much more familiar and intimate with his subjects.
East 100th Street, Spanish Harlem, 1966.
East 100th Street, Spanish Harlem, 1966 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
Davidson also spent time following a Brooklyn gang of youths called the Jokers in 1959, and he created a series of civil rights work when he following a group of freedom riders in the south (in 1961) through dangerous situations. Besides his technical ability, one of Davidson’s main strengths was figuring out where the interesting stories were and putting himself where the action was. Then, he got close and familiar to his subjects. That idea might make you nervous, but based on some of his writings you can see that he was nervous at points as well. However, he did not let that stop him from doing it. He got close with his subjects and this closeness is shown within his images. It is one of the most important aspects of why his photographs are so successful.
New York City, 1962.
New York City, 1962 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
While this intimacy was very important in his work, Davidson did not seem to think of himself as a documentary photographer, stating, “Documentary photography suggests you just stand back, that you’re not in the picture, you’re just recording. I am in the picture, believe me. I am in the picture but I am not the picture.” Starting in 1980, Davidson began an extensive five year project documenting the New York Subway system. The subway project is what hits closest to home for me, and it is inspiring to read about. When you visit New York City it is interesting to compare his photographs to the modern day look of the subway system. It helps to see your own work through this perspective. How would he do his project today? The subway system looks so much different, so how can I also capture it in an interesting way?
NYC Subway, 1980.
NYC Subway, 1980 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
When talking about prolific photographers, it is easy to think that we cannot repeat their success. They seem bolder and more fearless. However, when you read Davidson’s quotes about the project, he does not sound much different than any of us would probably feel. He was just self aware enough and able to push through it. It is inspiring to say the least.
“As I went down the subway stairs, through the turnstile, and onto the darkened station platform, a sinking sense of fear gripped me. I grew alert, and looked around to see who might be standing by, waiting to attack. The subway was dangerous at any time of the day or night, and everyone who rode it knew this and was on guard at all times; a day didn’t go by without the newspapers reporting yet another hideous subway crime. Passengers on the platform looked at me, with my expensive camera around my neck, in a way that made me feel like a tourist—or a deranged person.
It was hard for me to approach even a little old lady. There’s a barrier between people riding the subway—eyes are averted, a wall is set up. To break through this painful tension I had to act quickly, on impulse, for if I hesitated, my subject might get off at the next station and be lost forever. I dealt with this in several ways. Often I would just approach the person: “Excuse me. I’m doing a book on the subway and would like to take a photograph of you. I’ll send you a print.” If they hesitated, I would pull out my portfolio and show them my subway work; if they said no, it was no forever. Sometimes, I’d take the picture, then apologize, explaining that the mood was so stunning I couldn’t break it, and hoped they didn’t mind. There were times I would take the picture without saying anything at all. But even with this last approach, my flash made my presence known. When it went off, everyone in the car knew that an event was taking place—the spotlight was on someone. It also announced to any potential thieves that there was a camera around. Well aware of that, I often changed cars or trains after taking pictures.”
Read more from Davidson on this project: Train of Though: On the ‘Subway’ Photographs. Now it’s time to explore Davidson’s work and think about a photographic project that you can do in your own area.
NYC Subway, 1980.
NYC Subway, 1980 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
Brooklyn Gang, 1959.
Brooklyn Gang, 1959 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
East 100th Street, Spanish Harlem, 1966.
East 100th Street, Spanish Harlem, 1966 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
The Dwarf, Circus, Palisades, NJ. 1958
The Dwarf, Circus, Palisades, NJ. 1958 – Bruce Davidson/Magnum
Birmingham, Alabama, 1963 by Bruce Davidson
Birmingham, Alabama, 1963 by Bruce Davidson/Magnum