The orchestration of war against Iran gathers pace

4th June 2019

As US President, Donald Trump, arrives in the UK increased tension in the Middle East raises the real possibility of further conflict in the region.  Jane Green for the Committee for the Defence of the Iranian People’s Rights (CODIR) assesses the dangers.

anti Trump

Anti Trump protesters fill the streets of London – 4th June 2019

The visit of United States President, Donald Trump, on a state visit to the UK, coincides with the most belligerent and threatening period of US foreign policy since the war on Iraq in 2003.  The focus of the Trump administration upon the Islamic Republic of Iran, clearly the new public enemy no.1 for the US, has escalated in recent weeks to the point where Iran is being accused directly of terrorist action against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

The incident, which occurred early in May, remains shrouded in mystery.  However, the suspicious issue of the attacks on four Saudi tankers, at the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, on 12th May has clearly been used to engineer an anti-Iran climate.

At the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, convened in Saudi Arabia last weekend, King Salman used his opening address to condemn the attacks, stating,

“We emphasise that these subversive terrorist acts are aimed not only at the kingdom and the Gulf region, but also on the security of navigation and energy supplies to the world.”

The Saudis clearly blame Iran for the attacks and are attempting to unite Muslim and Arab opinion against Iran.

US national Security Adviser, John Bolton, speaking in London last week claimed that he will be able to present evidence that Iran was behind the attacks, although it was evident that producing evidence was not the main issue for Bolton, who stated,

“I don’t think anybody who is familiar with the situation in the region, whether they have examined the evidence or not, has come to any conclusion other than that these attacks were carried out by Iran or their surrogates.”

In the year since President Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal which lifted sanctions in exchange for Iran reducing its nuclear programme, pressure upon the Iranian regime has been steadily increased.  Sanctions have been tightened to the point where Iran’s oil exports, its main foreign currency earner, have been reduced to zero.

In April the US designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group with Trump stating that the move “recognises the reality that Iran is not only a state sponsor of terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft”.

The policies of US administrations for over 40 years, from Jimmy Carter and Reagan to Trump, have consistently focussed on how to engineer regime change in Iran.  The United States remains keen to see Iran return to its role following World War Two.  During that period Iran was the most reliable ally of the US in the Middle East, both in terms of supporting US strategic interests and in securing the flow of cheap oil to the US, Europe and Japan.

Opposition to the Iranian revolution was most brutally manifest in US support for the attack of Saddam Hussein upon Iran, which led to the 8-year long war with Iraq in the 1980s and hostile relations with the regime ever since. The US has supported all attempts to destabilise and overthrow the regime. George Bush famously characterised Iran as being one of the countries in his ‘axis of evil’ and threatened regime change.

Even after the JCPOA agreement reached in 2015, which supposedly lifted sanctions, the US continued to maintain paralysing banking sanctions on Iran that prevented it from trading easily with the rest of the world. Since May 2018 the sanctions regime has become untenable.

In a tweet on 18th August 2018 Trump boasted that: “The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.  I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!”

The irony of this statement aside, it is clear that the actions of the US do not tend towards peace, either in the world or in the Middle East.  Provocation, duplicity and lies have been the stock in trade of US foreign policy for decades and this is no less the case in the present situation.

The United States has sent some of the its most deadly weapons of war to the Persian Gulf close to Iran, including several warships, an aircraft carrier and fighter jets as well as B52 bombers.  This is in addition to the deployment of the US Patriot Missile system to the region. The US Navy announced that on Sunday, 19th May the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group, in coordination with the US Marine Corps, conducted military exercises in the Arabian Sea highlighting US “lethality and agility to respond to threat”.  On the same day, Donald Trump threatened to “destroy Iran forever.”

In response to the ongoing US pressure the Iranian government has stated that it will reduce its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, making clear in a statement of the National Security Council of Iran that “the Islamic Republic of Iran at the current stage is no longer committed to complying with restrictions on maintaining only a certain inventory of the enriched uranium and heavy water.”

The position of the Iranian government resulted in a rapid and negative reaction from the European Union, and many European politicians expressed concern about the decision of the Iranian government.

There is little doubt that the increase in sanctions has exacerbated the profound economic and social crisis inside Iran, as the regime continues to suppress waves of protest against its political and economic policies, as well as its widespread human rights abuses.  The theocratic dictatorship in Iran is only interested in protecting its own position, whatever the cost to the Iranian people.

The United States is clearly seeking to use this situation to its advantage, in order to force regime change upon Iran, in a shape that will be consistent with maintaining US interests and hegemony in the Middle East.  The stepping up of both rhetoric and action by the United States could, at any point, provide the spark which sees the Middle East go up in flames.

With both Israel and Saudi Arabia, the heavily armed allies of the United States in the Middle East, increasingly strident in their denunciation of the Iranian regime, the prospect of conflict is further intensified.

The visit of President Trump to the UK must be accompanied by a clear anti-war message.  The people of Iran have suffered at the hands of the theocracy for over forty years.  It is their right to shape a democratic future in their own interests, not those of the existing dictatorship or any external power.  For that they need peace and continued international solidarity from labour, trade union and peace groups across the world. They do not need to be staring down the barrel of a US gun.

Poverty and no philosophy

26th May 2019

Child-poverty-729642

Millions still suffer poverty in the UK

The United Nations rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, this week published his final report on deepening poverty in the UK.  Alston accused the government in his report of the “systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population.”   Alston is a 69-year-old law professor at New York University and has been UN poverty rapporteur since 2014, carrying out investigations in that period in the US, China, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Laos and Chile.

Alston usually expects a detailed analysis or refutation of his reports but this has not been forthcoming from the UK.  So far, the response from UK ministers has been to dismiss the report as “barely believable” and to suggest that the report is “a completely inaccurate picture of our approach to tackling poverty.”  Work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, has claimed that the report is politically biased.  The government is preparing a complaint to the UN as well as requesting a meeting with the UN high commissioner on human rights.

Alston’s claim, that the government’s approach to benefits has been to create “a digital and sanitised version of the 19th-century workhouse”, inevitably infuriated the Daily Mail who described the claim as “simply ridiculous” and “an insult to our national intelligence.”

Alston has indicated that changes to the welfare system are essential, to tackle the fact that, in one of the world’s richest countries, even official figures show that 14 million people are living in relative poverty.   He defends his claim of the creation of a 21st century workhouse stating,

“I think breaking rocks has some similarity to the 35 hours of job search for people who have been out of work for months or years.  They have to go through the motions but it is completely useless.  That seems to me to be very similar to the approach in the old-style workhouse.  The underlying mentality is that we are going to make the place sufficiently unpleasant that you really won’t want to be here.”

The publication of Alston’s report last week has inevitably been lost in the welter of publicity around the European elections and the resignation speech of UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, resulting in a feeding frenzy in the Tory Party as the battle to replace May gets underway.

Alston does not frame the report’s conclusions in this way but it is an indictment of capitalism as a system that the lives of millions can be wasted due to lack of education, opportunity and employment.  In the day to day cut and thrust of political debate it is easy to forget that exploitation is endemic within capitalism and, as Karl Marx pointed out, the extraction of surplus value from wage labour the source of all wealth.

While the views of Karl Marx get about as much airtime as those of Jeremy Corbyn in the UK media these days, Labour Deputy Leader, Tom Watson remains a darling of the British liberal press.  Writing in The Observer (26th May 2019), Watson is pessimistic about Labour’s performance in the European elections and the Party’s expected loss of support.  Watson states,

“This was the first election I can remember where Labour members said they couldn’t support us.  One member I met in Bristol broke down in tears as he told me that, after 44 years of voting Labour, he was going to vote Lib Dem.”

As Deputy Leader of the Labour Party you may think that Watson would have been quick to point out the record of the Lib Dems in propping up the Tory Coalition government, inflicting years of austerity upon the country, reducing public services to the bare bones and the NHS to an organisation struggling to fulfil its mission of delivering free health care at the point of  use.

Watson may have pointed out the Lib Dem position on student tuition fees, their support for which has ensured many years of debt, and in many cases anguish, for many young people.  All this and more was inflicted upon the people of the UK while Lib Dems cavorted in a Tory led Cabinet.  Not to forget the fact that, as UN rapporteur Philp Alston has pointed out, an estimated 14 million people in the UK are living in relative poverty.

So, Watson may have said, get real, pull your socks up and vote Labour!  Of course not.  Watson chooses instead to wallow in the Brexit debate and suggest that,

“Our performance is a direct result of our mealy-mouthed backing for a public vote on Brexit when it is being demanded loud and clear by the overwhelming majority of our members and voters.”

Other than the opinions of his dinner table guests and friends in the media, there is no evidence for Watson’s assertion that the majority of Labour members and voters back a public vote.  If anything, the outcome of the European elections is likely to show that there is a far greater appetite for leaving the EU as soon as possible, as the Brexit Party sweeps to the top of the polls.

Watson may not like it but he has to face up to the reality that the EU is not only undemocratic and unaccountable, it is unpopular.  It is a sad fact that some of that unpopularity is based upon the erroneous anti-people messages pedalled by Nigel Farage and his ilk.

However, some of that unpopularity is based upon the reality that after 40 years of EU membership the UK still has 14 million people living in poverty, including 30% of children, and is engaged in creating a digital 21st-century workhouse.  Why should anyone vote for that?

Watson cannot see this because he has no political or philosophical framework within which to view the world.  He is an opportunist simply wanting to catch the next media trade wind to carry him into office.   As Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson should be out there arguing the case for a people’s Brexit and the socialist transformation of the UK economy, whether the BBC and the media like it or not.  Otherwise he should just stand down.

 

No deal looms large

19th May 2019

May buried

Theresa May – politically dead and almost buried

There can be no doubt that any marriage of convenience brings with it grounds for divorce.  The coupling of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in talks to find a Brexit deal, certainly had more the aspect of a shotgun wedding than a match made in heaven.  It is no surprise that we have now reached the point of irretrievable breakdown.

As Corbyn states in his letter to May, ending the talks,

“…there has been growing concern in both the shadow cabinet and parliamentary Labour Party about the government’s ability to deliver on any compromise agreement.”

With May making clear during the week that she would outline a timetable for her departure, following the European Union Withdrawal Bill going before Parliament in the first week in June, the talks had clearly run out of road.  As shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, observed recently, “negotiating with the Tories is like trying to enter a contract with a company that’s going into administration.”

With European elections looming on 23rd May, in which the Tories could trail in an embarrassing fourth or fifth place, and for which they have not even offered a manifesto, there can be little doubt that the momentum will be with the pro-Brexit tendency when it comes to electing a new leader.

Under these circumstances it is clear that any deal negotiated between May and Corbyn would effectively have been ripped up the moment a new Tory leader was installed.  As Corbyn states in his letter to May,

“As you have been setting out your decision to stand down and cabinet ministers are competing to succeed you, the position of the government has become ever more unstable and its authority eroded. Not infrequently, proposals by your negotiating team have been publicly contradicted by statements from other members of the cabinet.”

It would certainly strengthen Corbyn’s position if members of his own party, notably Deputy Leader, Tom Watson, and Shadow Brexit Secretary, Kier Starmer, had the wit to hold the line with regard to Labour Party policy, rather than pursuing their own careerist agenda.  While the BBC and much of the media continue to caricature the Labour position as ‘confused’ Gary Younge, writing in the The Guardian (17th May 2019) put the Labour position succinctly stating,

“The policy itself is pretty straightforward.  It supports a second referendum if parliament rejects the prime minister’s deal and a general election doesn’t follow.  They just can’t get their story straight.”

There is little doubt that the Labour position is one of compromise. The fact remains however that the likes of Watson and Starmer are hell bent on distorting the story.  Their intention is to force Labour away from its policy position of delivering on the outcome of the 2016 referendum, to one of supporting a so called people’s vote, in the hope that this will result in a Remain outcome thus avoiding Brexit entirely.

Using Labour policy, of the second referendum as a last resort, to push a pro-Remain position is consistent with the overriding will of the UK political establishment, including most MPs, the City of London and the establishment media.  Watson and Starmer are clearly welcome bedfellows in this company.

The joker in the pack however remains the anti-EU ultra tendency within the Tory party and the anti-EU character of the party’s membership.  It is unlikely that a Tory leadership contest will go beyond the party conference in September, allowing that event to be a coronation for the new leader.  That will give the new leader, and new UK Prime Minister, less than two months to settle a deal or leave the EU with no deal on 31st October 2019.

Will a pro-Brexit Prime Minister, perhaps the Tory grass roots favourite, Boris Johnson, be concerned about a no deal exit?  They will certainly claim that their election by the 160,000 or so Tory Party members will give them a ‘mandate’ to deliver on whatever platform they put forward.  It will be hard for any of the Parliamentary Conservative Party to resist the position of its own grass roots.  Ironically, getting no-deal across the line just means sitting it out for two months, no messy votes in Parliament to deal with, no protracted negotiations.

One thing any Prime Minister fears, whatever their legislative failings and parliamentary struggles, is to go down in history as the shortest serving PM in history.  An ego as inflated as that of Boris Johnson certainly could not tolerate that, so any deal which gets him elected will almost certainly be predicated upon building a sufficient coalition to be able to see him through to 2022, the fixed parliamentary term period.

Theresa May has promised to pull out the stops and come up with a “bold offer” when the EU Withdrawal Bill gets to Parliament in June.  Unless by some miracle that is the case and the Bill passes, the race to watch over the summer will be the Tory leadership contest.  The shape of Brexit may well be determined by it.

 

 

 

 

Euro elections – panic and absurdity

12th May 2019

Euro elections – panic and absurdity

Nigel-Farage

Farage – absurd but ahead in the polls

 

Panic on the streets of London,

Panic on the streets of Birmingham,

I wonder to myself,

Could life ever be sane again?

Panic by The Smiths should be the theme tune of the up and coming European elections, with panic characterising the positions of most of the major UK political parties, and some of the minor ones, in the face of the tsunami of support being garnered by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

The Conservatives in particular appear to have surrendered any hope of mounting even a cursory campaign on the assumption that their right wing supporters will protest by voting with Farage, while the Remain loving Tory centre will simply not turn up to vote.

The media driven Farage machine appears to be hoovering up any hopes UKIP may have harboured of a revival on the back of the Brexit debacle.  UKIP without Farage was always a busted flush and now that the media darling has formed another vehicle for his vanity, his erstwhile cohorts are simply left coughing out Farage’s exhaust fumes.

On the Remain side there are the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, both cravenly pro-EU to the core, and the Tory in disguise Change UK, made up of Labour and Tory splitters and a variety of media personalities hoping to catch the Brussels gravy train.  While this liberal hotch potch share common ground in their love of the EU and hatred of Brexit, it does not extend to them being able to co-operate to generate a pro-Remain platform.

That leaves the Labour Party as the only consistently credible force capable of minimising the impact of Farage and providing some coherence and focus to the EU election debate.  The media, in particular the BBC, are set against the Labour position and will do their utmost to characterise the Labour leadership as not having a clear position.  However, as Jeremy Corbyn states in the introduction to Labour’s European election manifesto,

“Labour has put forward an alternative plan to seek a close and cooperative relationship with the European Union, including a new comprehensive customs union with a UK say, close single market alignment, guaranteed rights and standards, and the protection of the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland.”

It may be a position based on some compromise, given the make up of the Parliamentary Labour Party and some of the factional infighting Corbyn still has to contend with, but it is a position and one which has been consistently articulated.  It is also a position that is either too subtle or too complex for large sections of the media to be able to grasp as they seem to be largely incapable of reflecting it.

Labour’s position is further clarified in the manifesto introduction as follows,

“Labour will continue to oppose the Government’s bad deal or a disastrous no deal.  And if we can’t get agreement along the lines of our alternative plan, or a general election, Labour backs the option of a public vote.”

Once again this appears to be too nuanced a position for either the media or the Remain supporting parties and factions to grasp.  Labour is not opposed to a public vote but it is clearly a last resort as it will, of itself, not solve the Brexit question.  It is therefore vital that all other means to find a negotiated solution are explored, in order to deliver on the outcome of the 2016 referendum result, consistent with Labour’s policy position to do so.

The political establishment in the UK has always been in the Remain camp and will continue to do all in their power to overturn the 2016 referendum outcome.  The EU’s status as a capitalist club par excellence for UK banks and corporations is not something they will give up on easily.  The Liberal, Green and Change UK agenda effectively falls within this camp, albeit dressed in a form of faux internationalism which fails to realise that the ‘free’ movement of people is simply a cover for the easy movement of cheap labour.

The incoherence of the Remain position, combined with the difficulty Labour faces in getting anything other than a distorted version of its message across, leaves the field open for Farage to keep plugging away with his single issue Brexit Party campaign.  Farage’s party will end up with the most UK seats in a parliament it is dedicated to dissolve.

The fact that these European elections are happening at all is an absurdity.  It is no more absurd however than seeing the EU as a vehicle for peace and progress.  The tragedy remains that the real reasons for needing to leave the EU have been buried.     A real socialist internationalism, as called for by Labour’s John McDonnell recently, which actually works in the interests of the peoples of Europe, not its banks and corporations, is what is needed.  No amount of voting for Farage and his ilk will achieve that.

 

 

 

 

Tories sink into the mire

4th May 2019

local elections

You would be hard pressed to believe, from press and media coverage, that local elections this week have been a meltdown for the Tory Party with Labour having largely held their position.  The BBC in particular have sought to characterise the elections as a ‘plague on both your houses’, portraying the results as a further indication of splits in both major parties over Brexit.

It is hard to deny that there is a grain of truth in the fact that Brexit has had an impact upon local election results, given its dominance in UK politics at present.  However, the reality of politically driven austerity, clearly the fault of the Tories, resulting in hugely damaging cuts in local jobs and services cannot be ruled out.

The actual figures for losses paint more mixed picture than the media would like to portray.  Across the country the Tories lost 1,334 local councillors.  Labour lost 82 councillors.  Across the country the Tories lost control of 44 local councils.  Labour lost control of 6 councils.  The Liberal Democrats did increase the numbers of councils they control by 10 while adding 703 to their tally of local councillors, mainly at the expense of the Tories in the South and South West.

The Labour right wing, always keen to take any opportunity to attack Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, have fuelled the media narrative by agreeing that the results are a major blow for Labour and suggesting they illustrate the need for a so-called People’s Vote to break the Brexit deadlock.  Quite how such a conclusion can be extrapolated from the reality of the figures is hard to see but there are those in Labour, spearheaded by Deputy Leader Tom Watson, who refuse to let the facts get in the way of their version of the world.

The media have made little play of the fact that Labour candidate, Jamie Driscoll, won the North of Tyne Combined Authority Mayoral contest.  An openly Momentum backed candidate, Driscoll beat establishment candidate, Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council for the Labour nomination.  Attempts to subvert Driscoll’s campaign through so-called Independent, John McCabe, a smokescreen candidate for the Labour right wing, failed to dent Driscoll’s appeal.  Local entrepreneur, Charlie Hoult, in a desperate tilt at populism from the Tories made it through to the count of second votes but was soundly defeated by a 76,862 to 60,089 votes margin.

While the realities of the powers of the so-called Metro Mayors is limited, and Driscoll will have the intransigence of the local Labour establishment to contend with, his election nevertheless represents a positive signal that a Left wing programme can attract votes.

The usual suspects, in the form of Professor Sir John Curtice, have been wheeled out to predict that, based upon this week’s result a General Election would result in the two main parties gaining only 28% of the vote each and would lead to another hung Parliament.  However, a cold analysis of the figures does not take into account the dynamics of an election campaign and the real issues which parties will have to address on the doorstep.

There is no getting away from the fact that, even discounting the Brexit debacle, the Tories have a dismal record and with a clear programme based upon addressing the need of the many, not the few, Labour stands every chance of winning a General Election.

It is clear from the response to the local election results that Tory strategists know that they are on the ropes.  Calls for May’s resignation have intensified while her greeting at the Welsh Conservative Conference this week was far from warm.  The sacking of Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, days ahead of the local elections is see as a tactical blunder on May’s part and Williamson has clearly positioned himself in opposition on the backbenches, not being prepared to go quietly.

With Brexit discussions set to resume next week and European elections still scheduled for 23rd May, it is hard to see where else the Tories can turn but to hope that a new leader can help dig them out of the hole they find themselves in.   Labour on the other hand must stand firm and not be distracted by the splitting tactics of Change UK or the antics of Deputy Leader, Tom Watson.

The prospect of a General Election may yet be within grasp and in a General Election scenario a united Labour Party will undoubtedly win.

 

No red carpet for Trump

27th April 2019

Trump NRA(2)

Trump – promising the NRA he will oppose gun control

The right wing press are in a spin about Jeremy Corbyn calling out US President, Donald Trump, as a misogynist, racist, climate change denier and refusing to have anything to do with the state visit scheduled for the 3rd – 6th June.

The Daily Mail, not surprisingly, were almost gleeful in their denunciation of Corbyn stating,

“Jeremy Corbyn was accused of ‘staggering’ hypocrisy last night after snubbing the Queen’s invitation to a state banquet with Donald Trump.

Despite his record of meeting terrorists and extremists, the Labour leader yesterday said he would refuse to attend the dinner with Mr Trump at Buckingham Palace in June.”

The Daily Mail were incensed by a tweet from Corbyn which made his position categorically clear stating that,

“Theresa May should not be rolling out the red carpet for a state visit to honour a President who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynist rhetoric.”

What is not to agree with?  State visits from US Presidents are not the norm.  If anything, the honour accorded to Trump is only the third state visit by a US President in the 67-year reign of the present Queen, making it more the exception rather than the rule.

The bluster about Corbyn snubbing the Queen and the hot air from failed Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith that this demonstrates that Corbyn is “unfit to be Prime Minister” is just a smokescreen.  The idea that the Queen is above politics and that a state visit somehow exempts a visiting leader from the normal rules of politics is nonsense.

The monarch, as the UK Head of State, is the embodiment of the ruling class and symbol of everything that is outdated, undemocratic and anachronistic about the British state.  Corbyn should have no qualms about snubbing either the US President or the British monarch for perfectly sound political reasons.

It may be expected that liberal bastion, The Guardian, would take a different line but if senior correspondent Simon Jenkins is to be believed, that is not the case.  For Jenkins it is merely a matter of courtesy, stating,

“A US President has been invited to Britain on a state visit.  It is a state courtesy, between one democracy and another, on the occasion of a wartime anniversary.  No conceivable purpose is served by 200,000 people coming to London to shout insults at him.”

Jenkins argues that simply opposing policies or a particular politician does not win political arguments and that however much anger Trump generates that is “no reason for childish protests”.  Oozing condescension Jenkins argues that there is no room for direct action in the pantheon of methods in which messages can be delivered.  Trump may well shrug his shoulders if a quarter of a million people turn out to oppose his visit but there is no evidence to suggest that he is open to rational debate either.

Sometimes the loud, noisy, visibility of hundreds of thousands of people on the streets is the only way to get a message across, not only to President Trump but to the millions who will watch elements of the visit on TV and social media.  Is our only response really to concur with Jenkins that we extend Trump every courtesy?  In the concluding words of his article, Jenkins suggests that we bow down to the climate change denying racist saying,

“You are welcome, Mr. President.”

That is simply not good enough.  Trump does not and will not play by the rules, even the distorted rules that pass for political discourse in the United States.

There is no reason on Earth to welcome Donald Trump to the UK or anywhere else, President or not.  There is every reason to oppose the policies and practice of the leader of the most powerful nation on Earth, especially when that leader embodies the very worst aspects of that society and would willingly impose those ‘values’ on others.

The debate will rumble on until Trump’s visit and beyond.  Taking a principled stand will be another stick used by the right wing media to beat Jeremy Corbyn.  However, Corbyn has given a clear lead on this issue and opposition to Trump’s visit must be vocal and it must be loud!

Cuba Stands Firm

 19th April 2019

The Cuban Revolution reiterates its resolute determination to confront the aggressive U.S. escalation, and prevail

Cuban flag

In 1961 the United States attempted to reverse the revolution in Cuba by sending an invasion force to the Bay of Pigs (Playa Girón).  The invasion was defeated and the Cuban revolution continues to flourish.  The following statement was released by the Cuban government to mark the 17th April anniversary of the Playa Girón invasion.

Revolutionary Government Declaration

Today, April 17, is the anniversary of the launching of the United States’ 1961 military invasion at Playa Girón. (Bay of Pigs) The Cuban people’s resolute response in defense of the Revolution and socialism, within only 72 hours, produced the first military defeat of imperialism in America. Strangely, the date was chosen by the current U.S. government to announce new aggressive measures against Cuba and to reinforce their implementation of the Monroe Doctrine.

The Revolutionary Government rejects, in the strongest terms possible, the decision to now allow action to be taken in U.S. courts against Cuban and foreign entities, and to aggravate impediments to entering the United States faced by leaders and families of companies that legitimately invest in Cuba, in properties that were nationalized. These are actions established in the Helms-Burton Act which was denounced long ago by the international community, and which the Cuban nation has repudiated since its promulgation and implementation in 1996, with the fundamental goal of imposing colonial tutelage on our country.

We repudiate, as well, the decision to reinstate limits on remittances that Cuban residents in the U.S. send to their families and friends, to further restrict travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba, and impose additional financial sanctions.

We strongly denounce references that attacks against U.S. diplomats have occurred in Cuba.  They attempt to justify their actions, as is customary, with lies and coercion.
Army General Raúl Castro stated this past April 10: “Cuba is blamed for all evils, using lies in the worst style of Hitler’s propaganda.”
The U.S. government resorts to slander, to cover up and justify the obvious failure of its sinister coup manoeuvre, designating in Washington an impostor “President” for Venezuela. They accuse Cuba of being responsible for the strength and determination shown by the Bolivarian Chavista government, the country’s people, and the civic-military union defending their nation’s sovereignty. They lie shamelessly, alleging that Cuba has thousands of military and security troops in Venezuela, wielding influence, and determining what happens in this sister country.
They have the cynicism to blame Cuba for the economic and social situation Venezuela is facing after years of brutal economic sanctions, conceived and implemented by the United States and their allies, precisely to economically asphyxiate the country and cause suffering within the population.  Washington goes so far as to pressure governments in other countries to attempt to persuade Cuba to withdraw this unlikely supposed military and security aid, and even to stop lending support and solidarity to Venezuela.
The current U.S. government is well-known, within the country itself and internationally, for its unscrupulous use of lies as a tool in domestic and foreign policy. This is an old habit among imperialism’s practices.
The images are still fresh of President George W. Bush, with the support of current National Security John Bolton, indecently lying about supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, a lie that served as the pretext to invade this Middle Eastern country.  Recorded in history, as well, are the bombing of the Maine anchored in Havana, and the self-inflicted Gulf of Tonkin incident, episodes that served as pretexts to unleash brutal wars in Cuba and Vietnam.
We cannot forget that the United States used fake insignia painted on the planes that carried out bombings here as a prelude to the Playa Girón invasion, to hide the fact that they were U.S. aircraft.  It should be clear that the U.S. slanders are based on an absolute, deliberate lie. Their intelligence agencies have more than enough evidence, surely more than any other state, to know that Cuba has no troops in Venezuela, and does not participate in military or security operations, even though it is the sovereign right of independent countries to determine how they cooperate in the area of defense, which is not a U.S. prerogative to question.

Those making this accusation have more than 250,000 soldiers and 800 military bases abroad, some of them in our hemisphere.  This government also knows, as Cuba has repeatedly stated publicly, that the more than 20,000 Cuban collaborators, more than 60% women, are undertaking in this South American country the same work currently being done by another 11,000 professionals from our country in 83 nations; contributing to the provision of social basic services, fundamentally in healthcare, which has been recognized by the international community.

It should also be absolutely clear that our firm solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is Cuba’s right as a sovereign state, and also a duty that is part of our tradition and among the irrevocable principles of the Cuban Revolution’s foreign policy.  No threat of reprisal against Cuba, no ultimatum or pressure on the part of the current U.S. government will dissuade the Cuban nation’s internationalist vocation, despite the devastating human and economic damage caused by the genocidal blockade to our people.

It is worth remembering that thuggish threats and ultimatums have been used in the past, when Cuba’s internationalists supported liberation movements in Africa, while the United States supported the opprobrious apartheid regime. Cuba was expected to renounce its solidarity commitments with the peoples of Africa in exchange for a promise of forgiveness, as if the Revolution needed to be pardoned by imperialism.

At that time, Cuba rejected the pressure, as we reject it today, with the greatest disdain.
Army General Raúl Castro recalled this past April 10, “Over 60 years, facing aggression and threats, Cubans have shown the iron will to resist and overcome the most difficult circumstances. Despite its immense power, imperialism does not possess the capacity to break the dignity of a united people, proud of its history and of the freedom conquered with so much sacrifice.”

The Cuban government calls on all members of the international community and U.S. citizens to put an end this irrational escalation and the hostile, aggressive policy of the Donald Trump government. Member states of the United Nations rightly demand, year after year almost unanimously, an end to this economic war. The peoples and governments of our region must ensure that the principles of the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace prevail, for the benefit of all.

The President of the Councils of State and Ministers Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez declared this past April 13, “Cuba continues to have confidence in its strengths, its dignity, and also in the strength and dignity of other sovereign, independent nations. But Cuba also continues to believe in the people of the United States, the homeland of Lincoln, who are ashamed of those who act beyond the boundaries of universal law, in the name of the entire nation.”

Once again, Cuba repudiates the lies and the threats, and reiterates that its sovereignty, independence, and commitment to the cause of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, are not negotiable.

Two days before the commemoration of the 58th anniversary of the victory at Playa Girón, a historic site within our national territory, where mercenary forces backed by imperialism bit the dust of defeat, the Cuban Revolution reiterates its resolute determination to confront the aggressive escalation of the United States, and prevail.
Havana, April 17, 2019.