Archive | February 2015

Celebrating a decade of Zapatismo in New York*

Celebrating a decade of Zapatismo in New York*

Some keep repeating the mantra that Americans are sheeple and that’s why there has not been a 21st century revolution taking place. However, some Americans are revolting, not on the streets, but by taking control of their own lives. From Brick-by-brick: Missouri Judge Rules Common Core Unconstitutional* to Water Pipes that Generate Electricity in Portland*, This Edible Park Feeds 200,000 Hungry People Every Month* to How Nebraskans took Control of their Energy Grid*. From 90yr old US Veteran Arrested for feeding homeless Changes the Law* to High School Students Refuse to Take State-wide Tests*. From One Public Bank’s Success Story Outperforms Goldman Sachs* to A U.S. County Votes in Self-Governance*. And so it goes on…

By Jessica Davis

For ten years the local people of El Barrio have been organizing horizontally to create non-authoritarian spaces of urban resistance and solidarity.

We fight so that:
The oceans and mountains will belong to those who live in and take care of them;
The rivers and deserts will belong to those who live in and take care of them;
The valleys and ravines will belong to those who live in and take care of them;
Homes and cities will belong to those who live in and take care of them;
No one will own more land than they can cultivate;
No one will own more homes than they can live in.

Ten years ago, in an area of East Harlem known as El Barrio, women from fifteen Mexican immigrant families came together to see how they could achieve decent housing in their community. They were fighting against gentrification and displacement, as their landlord was trying to force them out of their homes to attract wealthier tenants and transform their neighborhood. Since they had no previous organising experience, they knew there was much to learn. They listened to and supported each other, and in December 2004 they founded the Movement for Justice in El Barrio (The Movement).

The Movement is made up of low-income tenants, the majority of whom are immigrants. Many are also indigenous. Forced by poverty to leave their beloved Mexico, they built a strong community in El Barrio, and were determined not to allow themselves to be displaced yet again. They understood that their struggle was against a neoliberal system made up of abusive landlords, property speculators, multinational corporations, corrupt politicians and government institutions seeking to push them away from their much-loved community.

Autonomy and self-determination

We believe that those who suffer injustice first-hand must design and lead their own struggles for justice.

The movement is built around the principles of autonomy, self-determination, and participatory democracy, and it is based on horizontal, leaderless forms of organization. Their goal is to create spaces where people can come together as a community to share their problems. In this way they can collectively come up with solutions, and it is the community itself that has the power. The Movement believes that not being dependent on anyone to tell them what to do creates a strong foundation that can never be destroyed.

Consulting the community is the basis of The Movement’s organizing activity. Its members go door to door, building by building and block by block, getting to know people and forging strong relationships. Committees are formed in each building, and once a whole building is organized, they become members. Each building agrees on its own actions and forms of struggle. The Movement is also deeply committed to fighting all forms of discrimination and respecting differences. Above all, this means listening to one another.

The group operates on many levels. In addition to door-knocking, it holds town hall meetings, community dialogues, street outreach, house meetings, and community-wide votes. It organises protests, marches and direct action. It makes clever use of the media, gives interviews and talks, and organizes gatherings. It uses tactics such as court actions and public condemnation, and once community consultations have been carried out, it campaigns on specific issues.

We all share a common enemy and it is called neo-liberalism. Neo-liberalism wishes to divide us and keep us from joining forces. We will defeat this by continuing to unite our entire community, until we achieve true liberation for all.

The organization faces many challenges. Most of its members speak no English and have had few opportunities for education. They have little access to media and information; very few of them have computers. In addition to all of the responsibilities that come with family life, they are forced to work ten- to fourteen-hour days, six or seven days a week. This makes it difficult for them to also attend four- or five-hour meetings to make decisions, and it is difficult for everyone to come together at the same time. Because everyone must be consulted, and all decisions are made collectively, it can take a long time to reach an agreement. Yet in spite of all these difficulties, the commitment and achievements of its members have been remarkable.

In keeping with its principles, The Movement accepts no government funding and has no involvement with politicians or political parties. Its members know that it is essential to build bridges with other ignored, forgotten and marginalized communities including women, migrants, people of colour, and the LGBT community, and to build relationships with members of these organizations, who are also fighting against multiple forms of oppression.

Building community

Together, we resist with dignity and fight back against the actions of capitalist landlords and multinational corporations who are displacing poor families from our neighborhood. We fight back locally and across borders. We fight back against local politicians who refuse to obey the will of the people. We fight back against the government institutions that enforce a global economic, social and political system that seeks to destroy humanity.

Human beings were born to live in community — we cannot survive without each other. A society and culture that promotes individualism, everyone for themselves, also promotes loneliness, isolation and despair. Ten years ago, The Movement’s current members did not even know each other, and they had no fellowship with the other inhabitants of their building. Now they resist, organize and celebrate victories together. They have built a community of friendship, love, trust and solidarity, and transformed their lives.

Many of the members of this remarkable organization believe that their greatest achievement over the last ten years has been to build a culture of resistance. This has led to a sense of identity and self-worth, of being a part of something that gives purpose and meaning to their lives. A new generation of children are growing up in an amazing environment of organizing, marching and of collective decision-making, and it makes a lasting impact on their lives, shining through in their vibrant community spirit.

The strength of the community The Movement has created is reflected in the astonishing fact that not one of its members has been displaced over the last ten years. In fact, so far, they have won every battle with which they have been confronted. It is no wonder that Village Voice chose The Movement as the “Best Power to the People Movement in New York City.”

Learning from other struggles

We have found ways to make our voices heard and to let our voices echo with the voices of other marginalized people resisting across the world.

When The Movement was founded in December 2004, its members had no previous organizing experience. They began to look for other dignified struggles to learn from. When they read the Zapatista’s Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, released in June 2005, members saw a mirror of themselves reflected in it. Since then, they have developed their own form of urban Zapatismo, and continue to look to their Zapatista compañeras and compañeros for inspiration in their daily struggle for justice and collective liberation.

With the women, as always, at the forefront, The Movement has applied tools and ways of organizing they learned from the Zapatistas in their own local struggle. The Consultas de Barrio are fundamental to their work. These are neighborhood consultations that enable all local residents to identify the issues which most concern them. These consultations build and strengthen the community at the local level, helping them bring more people into the struggle, and ensure that all of their campaigns are driven by the entire El Barrio community.

Encuentros is a well-known Zapatista tradition that The Movement has made its own in both New York and in Mexico. It serves as a way to link struggles and to build networks of solidarity. They say:

An Encuentro is a space for people to come together; it is a gathering. An Encuentro is not a meeting, a panel or a conference. It is a way of sharing developed by the Zapatistas as another form of doing politics: from below and to the left. It is a place where we can all speak, listen and learn. It is a place where we can share the many different struggles that make us one.

The next ten years

As they celebrate their tenth anniversary, The Movement now has 900 members, 80% of whom are women, spread out over 85 building committees. Its dignified resistance continues to grow. The Movement and its members have won numerous victories against the brutal landlords and multinational corporations who try to take away their homes and destroy their community. They have held politicians and city institutions to account and constructed a culture of resistance and a community of solidarity. They have formed strong bonds with groups in many countries, and their word has been heard around the world. As the Zapatistas say, the struggle continues.

We are struggling for housing, for education, for health, for freedom, for justice, for love, for a voice, for a space to exist, for peace, for respect, for ourselves, for our community, for dignity…for humanity. We stand in resistance, here, in our corner of the world. Together we will build a world where many worlds fit — un mundo donde quepan muchos mundos.

Source*

Related Topics:

Zapatista Resistance Festival Sheds Light on Those Above who Destroy while Those from Below Build*

We Societies

Change the Story, Change the World*

Dying to Live: Unity and Oneness, vs. Corporate Enslavement

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Virginia to Compensate Victims of Forced Sterilization*

Virginia to Compensate Victims of Forced Sterilization*

Legislators in the U.S. state of Virginia voted Thursday to allow compensation for victims of forced sterilization, though few survivors are alive today.

“I think it’s a recognition when we do something wrong we need to fix it as a government,” said Democrat delegate Patrick Hope.

“Now we can close this final chapter and healing can begin.”

Close to US$400,000 is available in a fund earmarked for compensation payments, though only around 11 sterilization victims in the state are known to be alive today. However, Hope stated if any new victims come forth, they too could be eligible for compensation.

From 1924 to 1979, over 8,000 people were forcibly sterilized in Virginia. The victims ranged from people with psychiatric disorders to people considered social misfits. While most victims were patients at state mental institutions, some were homeless people who were sterilized to reduce poverty figures. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 22% of victims were African-Americans, and 66% were women. At the time of sterilization, most victims were misled, being told they were undergoing surgical procedures for miscellaneous health issues.

Virgina’s program has often been credited with inspiring the Nazis, who used the state’s methods as a model for their own eugenics project.

Yet the program was just part of a broader and often state -sanctioned eugenics movement that flourished across the United States in the first half of the 20th Century. Like the Nazis, U.S. eugenics advocates believed they were improving the genetic purity of the population by sterilizing those with traits deemed undesirable, such as the impoverished. In some states, ethnic minorities were also targeted. No federal law existed to cover sterilization in the first half of the century, meaning states were left to regulate the practice. While most states only allowed for surgical sterilization aimed at making reproduction impossible, some went as far as allowing male victims to be castrated.

At the height of the movement, over 30 U.S. states practiced some form of forced sterilization. An estimated 65,000 people were sterilized before the practice ended nationally in the early 1980s.

Source*

Related Topics:

Rockefellers Funded Eugenics Initiative to Sterilize 15 Million Americans*

Eugenics: Compensation for the Homeless*

Black Women Targeted with Eugenics Drug*

The Eugenics of HPV Vaccine*

American and British Taxes Paying for Eugenics in India*

Eugenics: Kenya’s Catholic Bishops Charge U.N. for Sterilizing the Population*

Bishop Badejo: U.S. won’t fight Boko Haram because of their Eugenics Agenda in Africa*

The Sinai Portrayed by Egyptian Media is not Sinai*

The Sinai Portrayed by Egyptian Media is not Sinai*

Egyptian security personnel check cars at a checkpoint near the site where separate attacks on security forces in North Sinai in the preceding days killed 30 people, in el-Arish, north Sinai, Jan. 31, 2015. (photo by REUTERS)

 

“You’re supporting terrorism,” the man said before he realized the cruelty of his accusation.

“There are traitors in Sinai,” added the retired major general affiliated with the Egyptian liberal parties.

This is how he began his conversation with me when we happened to find ourselves sitting at the same table with a group of his friends during an event in Cairo. The major general’s statements, published on condition of anonymity, illustrate how badly the Egyptian people are being informed about events in the Sinai Peninsula, be they politicians, security elites or ordinary people. What, however, is the source of such misconceptions about Sinai residents?

A Sinai sheikh requesting anonymity answered the question, stating,

“The deliberate media blackout based on security directives is one of the reasons that has led to the growing suspicion and mistrust among the Egyptian people about Sinai. Egypt’s newspapers and satellite TV only report news about the death of military members shot by extremist religious groups in the Nile Valley provinces. These outlets fail, however, to convey the suffering of the Sinai people, who are plagued by repressive security practices and the dominance of armed religious extremism.”

Asked about the reasoning behind the security directives involving the media, the sheikh said,

“The successive Egyptian regimes, especially President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime, have succeeded in separating Sinai from the rest of the Egyptian governorates by tarnishing our image through pro-regime reporters working for Egyptian newspapers and satellite channels. These reporters depict us as fighting, instead of supporting, the state in order to serve political agendas, as well as regional and international interests aimed at ensuring the survival of the Egyptian regime and its allies in the region, and to implement the buffer zone project, which serves Israeli national security interests.”

The people of Sinai often accuse the Sisi regime of tarnishing their image in Egyptian media, which tend to be owned by businessmen loyal to the military regime. Mohamed Hassan, a resident of Sheikh Zuweid, a border city, told Al-Monitor,

“The Egyptian media outlets are biased. They call for our systematic extermination in an attempt to rally the Egyptian people around the ruling regime in carrying out ethnic massacres in Sinai to set the stage for their plans and suspicious interests.”

Mahmoud al-Kirdawsy, a pro-regime writer for the Al-Watan newspaper, requested in a Jan. 31 article that Sisi torch Sinai with napalm bombs. In an Oct. 25 article in Al-Masry al-Youm, the pro-regime author Suleiman Judeh called for the complete destruction of Sinai:

“If Sinai continues to cause a chronic headache for us, then let us destroy it and burn it down. Let us chase them from the first to the last inch, so that it will be devoid of any human being.”

Activists in Sinai describe such articles as “systemic media fascism” and have countered them by writing on social networking websites about the heroism of Sinai residents throughout history in protecting the Egyptian border, helping the army achieve victories and refusing to internationalize Sinai in 1968. Meanwhile, an army officer involved in the current military campaigns in Sinai complained to Al-Monitor about “the reluctance of the people of Sinai to help the military with information or guidance in areas where the terrorists are hiding.”

On Aug. 11, 2012, Khalaf al-Menahy, a prominent tribal leader of the Sawarika tribe, the largest on the peninsula, was shot and killed by gunmen affiliated with Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis.

On Aug. 7, 2013, the parliamentarian Abdel Hamid Silmi, a prominent figure of the al-Fawakhiriya family, the largest in el-Arish, was shot dead by the same group. Immediately afterward, the family announced its full support for the army in its war on terror. Dozens of Sinai tribal leaders and members, in addition to Menahy and Silmi, have been killed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis because of their support for the army. Local residents accuse the Egyptian media of ignoring such crimes.

Speaking to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity for security reasons, an activist from the border town of Rafah said,

“Following the 2011 January revolution, we were extremely delighted that the army had entered Sinai for the first time after the withdrawal of the police, which symbolized pain and suffering for the Sinai residents. The residents unanimously agreed on the need to support the army and to turn a new page with the ruling authorities. So, we were surprised that in its crackdowns over the past two years, the army did not differentiate between the extremists and us. The civilians are being harassed and are suffering, while terrorists are moving freely every day.

Greater Israel

The activist confirmed that some Sinai residents are indeed refraining from assisting the army. He said,

“Most of the residents are not helping the army in the war on terrorism for several reasons. First, all civilians, without exception, were subjected to injustice by the military crackdowns in the towns of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah, without doing anything wrong and without being differentiated from the terrorists. Second, the army did not protect the civilians who provided them with information about the extremists. Third, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis beheaded dozens of Sinai residents for cooperating with the army, which explains the fear of beheading felt by the residents in the absence of the army’s protection. Fourth, the media did not shed light on our efforts and continues to marginalize us and depict us as demons.”

The town al-Shalaaq, in western Sheikh Zuweid, a member of the Sawarika tribe stood next to the road leading to the town of al-Arisha at a tree under which dark blood stains were visible. The man, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor that the blood stains are from one of his relatives, who was beheaded next to the family house Jan. 14 by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in retaliation for his cooperation with the army, including providing information on members’ hiding places.

He added that a week before his relative was killed, he had been kidnapped by gunmen. His relatives approached the army to help try to find him. The army, however, showed no interest, which greatly saddened his relatives.

Ahmed, who would only provide his first name and is a member of the Armilat tribe, one of the largest in Sinai, said,

“I was shocked by the talk in the media that the beheading of the Copts in Libya was the first beheading of Egyptians by the Islamic State. This is while the group is beheading dozens of Sinai residents along public roads for helping the army.” Ahmed added,

“What hurts the most is that the EU has condemned the beheading of the Sinai residents by terrorists, while the voice of the officials and journalists, who are inciting [Egyptians] against us, has not been raised.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Sisi’s offer of Kicking People out of their Own Land Welcomed by Israel*

Sinai Bedouin and The Revolution – Video Statement

Sinai Liberation Day

Egyptian TV Presenter: Israelis Control Egyptian Media*

Egypt: Israel to Support Sisi’s Regime*

LiveLeak.com – FLU SHOT PROVEN INEFFECTIVE BY U.S. NAVY

Flu Shot Proven Ineffective By U.S. Navy

via LiveLeak.com – FLU SHOT PROVEN INEFFECTIVE BY U.S. NAVY.

Related Topics:

Blind Belief: The £560m U.K. Bill on Unproven Flu Shots*

‘Get Flu Shots or We’re Taking Your Baby’

A Two-week Old to be Confiscated if Entire Family doesn’t get Flu Shots*

Infant Dies after 8 Vaccines, Family Gets Him Back from Hospital Cremated*

Drugs that Damage your DNA: When Dementia isn’t Alzheimer*

CVS Flu Shot Kills 23 Senior Citizens

Increased Reaction to Drugs Caused By Vaccines

Victim of Flu Vaccine Paid off by Aussie Government*

From Flu to Ebola: CDC a Corrupt and Dangerous Organization*

Rockerfeller’s Flu Pandemic*

 

Coup #2 2015: Obama Incites Bloodshed in Venezuela*

Coup #2 2015: Obama Incites Bloodshed in Venezuela*

By Nil Nikandrov

Venezuela’s National Guard form a line during a protest by opponents of the government of President Nicolás Maduro , on Feb. 18, 2015.

The US special services together with their “assistants” from Canada and Great Britain tried again to stage a coup in Venezuela.

In the middle of February, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the national security services frustrated the plans of US embassy and put an end to its hostile actions. As a result, a number of people were arrested, including Venezuelan air force officers and activists of radical opposition.

The subversive activities were guided by Western diplomatic missions. The names of those behind the plot are known but they cannot be brought to justice being protected by diplomatic immunity. The President said the plotters wanted to assassinate him. The United States embassy guaranteed that the perpetrators would be granted asylum in America.

The Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (El Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional – SEBIN) had been warned about the conspiracy preparations. A Super Tucano aircraft (a light, highly agile Brazilian aircraft designed principally for pilot training and counterinsurgency operations) used before for special operations by Academi (former Blackwater), an American private military company, was handed over to plotters in the United States. The plane had the insignia of Venezuelan air force. It was armed and prepared to make a flight from Columbia to the island of Curacao where a US forward operating location is stationed. The CIA-recruited pilots, who betrayed the Bolivarian regime and their home country, learned well which targets they had to strike: the presidential palace, the buildings of ministries of Defense and General Staff and TV company TeleSUR. Security agencies found caches of arms, the equipment to provide guidance to the target and a video footage showing air force officers and opposition leaders involved in the plot addressing people. The video footage was given in Miami to journalist Patricia Poleo, a fierce opponent of the current Venezuelan government. She was to make it go on air but the plan was thwarted. The video material got into the hands of SEBIN operatives.

The video showed the plotters with balaclavas on their heads announcing the beginning of insurgency in the armed forces and the establishment of interim government. It was prepared to be made public by El Nacional newspaper at the time of coup. Three key figures of the Venezuelan opposition – Leopoldo López, the mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, the leader of Voluntad Popular (People’s Will) and former member of parliament Maria Corina Machado signed and distributed a joint communique on February 11, just one day before the planned coup plot that President Nicolas Maduro denounced was to take place. All these people were known to be close to the United States. Entitled “The Call for a National Transition Agreement,” the statement calls for unification of Venezuelans behind a national plan aimed at supplanting the current socialist administration of President Nicolas Maduro. It says the country was going through hardships unparalleled in its history. It is the fault of regime that has been trying for sixteen years to impose a failed system. In the text the current government is described as a “failed” “corrupt” and “inefficient” regime, made up of an “elite of no more 100 people” who have pilfered public funds “which could have been used for the benefit of all”. It also states that Venezuela is on the brink of a “humanitarian crisis” whilst the Maduro government is “delegitimised” and in its “terminal phase”. It says nothing about the hard struggle against the United States trying to overthrow the regime fallen out of its favour.

In the effort to achieve the goal, the US uses all any methods without hesitation, including economic sabotage, subversive activities against oil and energy sectors, never ending information war, organizing street protests in big cities and the use of local criminals and Columbian paramilitaries to destabilize the situation in the country. The list also includes artificially created shortages of food and basic consumer goods.

The operations against Salvador Allende in Chile come to mind. The US uses the same dirty methods in Venezuela. Waiting in line has become a common occurrence in Venezuelan cities since 2013. Different prices in Columbian and Venezuelan shops are one of the reasons. Almost everything is smuggled to Columbia – from super cheap gas to corn meal and sugar. To some extent the military called by President Maduro to fight the cross border smuggling helped to control the situation.

According to the plotters’ plans, Maria Corina Machado was to head the new government. She has been patronized by former US President George Bush Jr. The Machado’s three minute meeting in the White House with the President of the United States in March 2005 attracted unusually high attention of pro-US media. Maria was painted as the most promising politician able to defeat President Hugo Chavez and become a Venezuelan President absolutely loyal to the United States. The revelations about the Machado’s ties with US intelligence services spoiled the plans. She was the founder, former vice president, and former president of the Venezuelan volunteer civil organization Sumate that used US-provided funds. When it was revealed that Machado got large sums of money from special services, she had to keep away from spotlight. Today the United States needs her again. She is ready to go to any length in an effort to overthrow Nicolas Maduro. Washington wants her to lead the country.

The planning has been done. A group of pro-US Latin American presidents is carrying out the mission. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera and former Colombia President Andres Pastrana came to the country under the pretext of expressing their support for Leopoldo López. The real purpose was to see the real situation in the country. Nicolas Maduro never stood in their way. He only said that these people came to support ultra-right wing radicals who do not recognize the government and call for a bloody coup. Maduro warned that the visitors would have their hands soaked in blood if they hobnob with this kind of people.

Of those who signed the statement Machado is the only one who is still at large. A year ago Leopoldo López was put behind bars for inciting street protests resulting in dozens of victims. Antonio Ledezma was detained a few days ago charged with involvement in coup attempt. The conditions of detainment are not so tough; he can continue the struggle against the Bolivarian regime. Recently he sent a letter to media outlets calling for continuing protests and peaceful struggle against Nicolas Maduro to make the current President resign. In the letter he stuck rigidly to the constitution. It says

“We must keep up the struggle in the street, in a civil manner with the constitution in our hands and with the truth in front of us” Ledezma wrote.

“They [the government] have the weapons but we have the ideas to unite the Venezuelan people. Violence is a pointless vacuum that leads nowhere.”

He wants no mercy and calls for solidarity to protect democratic values in Venezuela. He stands out among Venezuelan politicians for his aggressive style and vindictiveness. It is suggested that if the plotters won, he would have headed the Interior Ministry to cleanse the national politics from Bolivarians, Chavistas and other elements hostile to the United States.

After the leading plotters were arrested and their ties with special services and embassies of the United States, Canada and Great Britain were revealed, Nicolas Maduro could say with certainty that another coup attempt orchestrated by Washington was effectively foiled.

The tension in the relationship with the United States remains. In December 2014, President Obama endorsed sanctions against top officials of Venezuela accused by Washington of human rights violations. Maduro warned Americans that arbitrary sanctions and other attempts to exert pressure would deteriorate the bilateral relationship even further. He said the United States tried to stage coups in Venezuela a number of times. The US interference into the internal affairs of other countries has become a constant factor to negatively affect the situation in the world.

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, as usually rejected all the accusations of US involvement into the conspiracy to organize a coup in Venezuela.

“Well, I think we’ve seen continued accusations, no question, that are false and baseless. And our view continues to be that political transitions must be democratic, constitutional, peaceful, and legal. We do not support a political transition in Venezuela by non-constitutional means. We’re not promoting unrest in Venezuela, nor are we attempting to undermine Venezuela’s economy or its government. And this is a continued effort – ongoing, because I do feel like we talk about these incidents once a week at least – about – of the Venezuelan Government to try to distract attention from the country’s economic and political problems and focus and try to distract and make these false accusations.”

Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica spoke about the political tension in Venezuela and warned that he fears a ” leftist military coup” in Caribbean country.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues. Nicolas Maduro says Antonio Ledezma tried to abuse his position to organize a violent coup and destabilize the country. New arrests are to follow. The government of Venezuela is adamant in its desire to prevent the events unfolding according to a scenario worked out by the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

Source*

Related Topics:

The U.S. Coup against Venezuela has Served to Strengthen Caribbean Unity

Investigating Hugo Chávez’s Death

The U.S. Coup against Venezuela has Served to Strengthen Caribbean Unity

The U.S. Coup against Venezuela has Served to Strengthen Caribbean Unity*

As the Caricom biannual heads of state meeting ends, leaders stress the importance of Venezuela for the region, and denounce the recent coup attempt.

The Caribbean Community expressed its support for Venezuela and the continuing energy alliance in the region during its biannual meeting of heads of state held this Thursday and Friday in Nassau, The Bahamas. Regional leaders also condemned the most recent coup attempt in Venezuela from the ultra right wing within the country.

In an interview with teleSUR, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said

“You can’t try to overthrow a democratically-elected government, this is fundamental, you change a government through democratic means, this is a high constitutional principle and we are supporting Venezuela.”

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who is also the outgoing pro tempore Caricom president, also weighed in on the importance of Venezuela’s foreign policy with regard to Caribbean states. He stressed that democracy should be respected and thanked Venezuela’s President Maduro for the financial help the country has given Caribbean nations, especially given the international financial crash.

Browne also called on the U.S. congress to end its “senseless” blockade of Cuba.

Energy was a big theme of this, the 26th biannual meeting of the 15 island nations. Browne explained,

“We continue to stand with Venezuela, and, in as much as we accept that there must be some diversification into alternative energy, the reality is fossil fuel will be around for decades to come, so the importance of Venezuela will remain.”

Venezuela, which is also a Caribbean nation, has joined together with its island neighbours in the PetroCaribe venture. Suriname’s Vice President Robert Ameerali says,

“Energy is one of the big issues, Suriname was one of the countries that was in favour of PetroCaribe.”

While the United States has recently tried lure Caribbean away from PetroCaribe, Browne made it clear that this is not the way Caricom should go. He said that the United States does not hold the answer to the problems in the Caribbean with regard to energy, and that PetroCaribe offers a good solution and it is good for relations between the islands and Venezuela.

Another significant decision made at the meeting was the decision not to renew the Dominican Republic’s member status. They stressed that they are not trying to meddle in the country’s decision to refuse citizenship to descendants of Haitians, but are making the point out of respect for human rights, and are urging the two countries to discuss their differences.

Caricom continues to condemn this decision which leaves more than 200,000 Haitians born in the Dominican Republic in limbo,” said outgoing Caricom chief Gaston Browne.

Other decisions were made in agriculture, tourism, the use of medical marijuana, slavery and genocide reparations, and investment in human capital and culture (See below for the final statement). Jamaica, which legalized the consumption and production of small amounts of marijuana this Wednesday, led the call for its neighbours to do the same.

The Caricom member states are The Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

From The Bahamas Weekly

The following are remarks made by CARICOM Chairman, the Rt Hon. Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the Closing of the 26th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at Melia Nassau Beach Resort, on February 27:

We have had a most productive two days and decided on a number of issues.

One of the key items related to the leverage of our human, natural and cultural assets for the benefit of our Community. We agreed that emphasis should be placed on developing the cultural and creative industries and the sport sector in a manner that would benefit the economies and the society as a whole.

Specifically we have agreed to create the necessary legislation to advance the creative industries and establish a sustainable financing mechanism for the sector in collaboration with the CARICOM Development Fund and the Caribbean Development Bank and the private sector.

Looking at the realignment of the education system to accommodate our thrust in those areas and in that context the work of our Commission on Human Resource Development will be key.

Marijuana

We have agreed on the composition of the Marijuana Commission which we expect would soon begin its work to look into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding the use of marijuana and to consult with stakeholders to get a view on the issue

Committee of Ambassadors

To improve implementation and overall governance of the Community we approved the Functions of the Committee of Ambassadors. The Committee will work closely with the Organs and Bodies of the Community, the CARICOM Secretariat and the Community Institutions and Associate Institutions to establish and maintain an efficient system of consultations at the national and regional levels. It will also advance implementation, at the national level.

Banking

Heads of Government agreed to establish a Committee of Finance Ministers to work with the Caribbean Association of Banks to develop a plan to deal with our Region being unjustly labelled as a high-risk area for financial services.

Because in many cases our indigenous banks cannot provide a high level of reward, correspondent banks are closing their relationships with them because of the claim that the Caribbean is a high risk area for financial services.

Unless this situation is addressed with urgency, the indigenous banks in each of our countries will be adversely affected in their operations.

Reparations

The meeting agreed to pursue the cause of reparatory justice through a process of engagement with the relevant countries.

FAO

We exchanged views with Dr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and thanked him for the work being done in the Region particularly with respect to Black Sigatoka disease and the increase in programme budget in the Caribbean.

Source*

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The Sacred Geometry of Consciousness*

Those that seek to control us know that the key to who we really are, and what is within us to become is embedded in our hearts, our souls, our bodies, our environment and all nature above and below. That is why they like the gods of ancient Greece have sought to circumvent this potential by bringing us (Prometheus) to a point of ignorance of ourselves through distractions, like modern technology, centralizing all the knowledge and repackaging it so that we increasingly become subservient and catered for leaving them free to do as they please. However, the universe is mightier than their sword, and evolution has unfolded a 4th strand of DNA in humankind, and modern technology, medicine, food production, and what we are taught is to prevent this unfolding from happening.

This video, though overly packed with information, should be listened to time and again, because in this way what is not understood the first time round, will be understood eventually on the path to fulfilling what it means to be alive in the present instead of the ‘tomorrow’ that never comes or the ‘special delivery’ delivery through the same means through which they control/try to control us at a painful level of existence….

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