Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Poem #28 - 30/30




Sailing into Summer, A Story



She sailed off on her five stanza pantoum
Promising to return next National Poetry Month
Too many poems had seemed over bloomed
But she kept a vow to write to a daily prompt

Promising to return next National Poetry Month
She packed her best moleskin journal and fountain pen
But kept a vow to write to a daily prompt
Her muses never failed her, what lovely friends

She packed her best moleskin journal and fountain pen
Deciding to write short stories instead
Her muses never failed her, what lovely friends
She said, If I don't write I'll end up crazy or dead

Deciding to write short stories instead
She put haiku and cinquains out of her head
She said, If I don't write I'll end up crazy or dead
Deciding on this new turn she slept in a hammock instead of a bed

She put haiku and cinquains out of her head
To make up shiny stories that shone through the gloom
Deciding on this new turn she slept in a hammock instead of a bed
As she sailed off on her five stanza pantoum


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

Poem #27 - 30/30



What happens when you whisper a spirit’s name into the wind
You are saying, I am standing here calling you to me
Something prophesized in bone or shell is a truth that can bend
When you make a promise of change with work so shall it be

You are saying I am standing here calling you to me
Beyond the furthest reaches of silvery veils between the worlds
When you make a promise to change with work, so shall it be
The ancestors are there to help you jump over life’s hurdles

Beyond the furthest reaches of silvery veils between the worlds
The voices that speak to us are of those who love us well
The ancestors are there to help you to jump over life’s hurdles
They come through in dreams, in burnished stones and shells

The voices that speak to us are of those who love us well
They lived many seasons we have not yet passed
They come through in dreams, in burnished stones and shells
They’ve swam the river’s course, be it choppy or still as glass

And they lived many seasons we have not yet passed
Seen blood red moons and blue ones too that makes life a rare dream
They’ve swam the river’s course, be it choppy or still as glass
And love of self is the first and most important lesson, in an endless stream

Seen blood red moons and blue ones too, that make life a rare dream
Streaming through are these voices that telegraph through the din
Love of self is the first and most important lesson, in an endless stream
What happens when you whisper a spirit’s name into the wind



© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

Poem #26 - 30/30




A glyph offering

Tired of hearing
Myself speaking in tied tongues
I offer quiet


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

Poem #25 - 30/30



There came a clear water day, void of confusion
Confusion made her a reader of other people's lives
After so many stories she made a resolution
Not hide in books but instead live her own lies

Confusion made her a reader of other people's lives
Lost in books for awhile until she was clear
Not to hide in books, but instead live her own lies
Grew into a strong woman who refused to live in fear

Lost in books for awhile until she was clear
The world she'd been born into was a winter storm
Grew into strong woman who refused to live in fear
So she went west, were the azure sea was warm

The world she'd been born into was a winter storm
Filled with icy stares and frozen feelings
So she went west, were the azure sea was warm
No more icicle words, sharp and unfeeling

Filled with icy stares and frozen feelings
It took her many, many years to heal and thaw
No more icicle words, sharp and unfeeling
Still she was a ball of pain, her nerves always raw

It took her many, many years to heal and thaw
Went through many people's love, betrayed their illusions
She was a ball of pain, her nerves always raw
Then, there came another clear water day, void of confusion


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

CUBA UPDATES

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Monday, April 27, 2009

CUBA UPDATES



Fidel Castro
Reflections & Speeches

An Impressive Gesture

I confess that many times I have meditated on the dramatic story of John F. Kennedy. It was my fate to live through the era when he was the greatest and most dangerous adversary of the Revolution. It was something that didn’t play a part in his calculations. He saw himself as the representative of a new generation of Americans who were confronting the old-style, dirty politics of men of the sort of Nixon whom he had defeated with a tremendous display of political talent.

He had behind him his history as a combatant in the Pacific and of his adroit pen.

Because he was over-confident, he was dragged into the Bay of Pigs adventure by his predecessors, since he had no doubts about the experience and professional capacity of all those men. His failure was bitter and unexpected, a scant three months after his inauguration. Even though he was on the point of attacking the Island with his country’s powerful and sophisticated weaponry, on that occasion he didn’t do what Nixon would have done: use the fighter-bombers and land the Marines. Rivers of blood would have flowed in our Homeland where hundreds of thousands of combatants were ready to die. He controlled himself and came up with a categorical phrase that is hard to forget: “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.”

His life continued to be dramatic, like a shadow that accompanied him at all times. On the strength of wounded pride, he again succumbed to the idea of invading us. This brought on the October [Missile] Crisis and the most serious risks of thermonuclear warfare that the world has ever known until the present day. He emerged from this test as an authority thanks to the mistakes of his chief adversary. He seriously wanted to talk with Cuba and that’s what he decided to do. He sent Jean Daniel to talk with me and return to Washington. His mission was being carried out at that moment when the news of President Kennedy’s assassination arrived. His death and the strange way in which it was orchestrated and carried out, was truly sad.

Later I met close family members who visited Cuba. I never mentioned the unpleasant aspects of his policy against our country, nor did I refer at all to the attempts to eliminate me. I met his son when he was an adult, who had been a young child when his father had been the president of the United States. We got together as friends. His own brother Robert was also assassinated, multiplying the drama shadowing that family.

At the distance of so many years, information arrived about a gesture that impressed me.

These days, while so much was being said about the lengthy and unfair blockade of Cuba in the upper echelons of the continent’s countries, I read a news item in Mexico’s La Jornada: “At the end of 1963, the then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sought to overturn the ban on travel to Cuba and today his daughter, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, wrote that President Barack Obama ought to take this into account and support legislative initiatives that would allow all Americans to travel to the island.

“In official documents declassified by the National Security Archive research centre it is recorded that on December 12, 1963, less than one month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy sent a communication to Secretary of State Dean Rusk, urging the removal of regulations prohibiting Americans from traveling to Cuba

“Robert Kennedy claimed that the prohibition violated American freedoms. According to the document, he affirmed that the current restrictions on travel are inconsistent with traditional American freedoms.

“…That position was unsuccessful inside the Lyndon B. Johnson administration and the State Department decided that to suspend the restrictions would be perceived as a softening of the Cuban policy and that they were part of the joint effort made by the United States and other American republics to isolate Cuba.

“In an editorial article by Kathleen Kennedy printed today in The Washington Post, Robert’s daughter expresses her wish that her father’s position be adopted by the Barack Obama government, and that this should be the position promoted by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. while the Obama government weighs the next step it will take with Cuba, one that should be pushing for allowing more than just Cuban-Americans to travel freely to the island and dealing with the rights of all Americans, most of whom are not free to go.

“Kathleen Kennedy writes that just as Obama found out at the summit meeting last week-end, Latin American leaders have adopted a coordinated message on Cuba: the time is here to normalize relations with Havana…By keeping on trying to isolate Cuba, they essentially told Obama, Washington has only succeeded in isolating itself.

“Thus, the niece of the president who attempted to invade and overthrow the Cuban Revolutionary government and impose the blockade, adds her voice now to the ever-growing chorus in favor of reversing these policies which were put in place half a century ago.”

A worthy article by Kathleen Kennedy!

Fidel Castro Ruz

April 24, 2009

1:17 p.m.

from: Cuban News Agency

Friday, April 24, 2009

Poem #24 - 30/30


Back in 1959



The year you passed on to the other side
No one thought to tell me, back in 1959
Hula hoops were dying that year
They weren't buried, yet

No one thought to tell me, back in 1959
Though sales were in a terrible slump
They weren't buried, yet
Little girls kept right on jumping rope and playing dolls

Though sales were in a terrible slump
Whamo was thinking on selling Wingdings next...
Little girls kept right on jumping rope and playing dolls
And neighborhood boys played with tops and shot marbles

Whamo was thinking on selling Wingdings next...
Or anything that would sell 100,000 in a season
And neighborhood boys played with tops and shot marbles
Hula hoops got abandoned on drive ways for no reason

Or anything thing that would sell 100,000 in a season
That was probably the beginning of selling useless things
Hula hoops got abandoned on drive ways for no reason
The year you passed on to the other side


© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009



Cuban Updates



Fidel Castro
Reflections & Speeches

PONTIUS PILATE WASHED HIS HANDS

Pressure against the U.S. blockade of Cuba was so great that on the day Raúl categorically declared that our country would not join the OAS, the secretary of the discredited institution began to prepare the terrain for Cuba’s participation in an eventual future Summit of the Americas. His recipe is to abolish the resolution which decided the expulsion of the Island for ideological reasons. Such an argument is truly laughable when important countries such as China and Vietnam, which the world today cannot do without, are being lead by Communist parties that were created on the same ideological foundations.

Historical events prove the hegemonic policies of the United States in our region and the disgusting role of the OAS as the hideous instrument of the powerful country.

Insulza’s formula consists of wiping the criminal agreement off the map. Raúl declared in Cumaná that Cuba would never rejoin the OAS. Using Marti’s scathing phrase, he expressed that first “the Southern sea would join the Northern sea, and a serpent would be born from the eagle’s egg”.

At that same occasion, in response to an alleged gesture by Obama which offered a conversation with Cuba about democracy and human rights, he replied that the government of Cuba was willing to discuss any subject on the basis of the most absolute respect for the equality and sovereignty of both countries. Our country knows full well the meaning and dignity of those words.

Among Obama’s public demands is the liberation of those imprisoned for their treacherous services to the United States which, during almost half a century, has been assaulting and blockading our Homeland.

Raúl stated that Cuba was willing to show clemency if the United States would receive them and if it would free the five Cuban anti-terrorist heroes.

However, both the government of the United States and the maggot’s nest inside and outside of Cuba have reacted with all kinds of arrogance.

AP and other cable news agencies have suggested divisions in the heart of our revolutionary leadership.

According to AP, “a prominent human rights activist” said that “most of the two hundred Cuban prisoners prefer serving long sentences on the Island rather than being exchanged for five Communist agents being held in prisons in the United States, as President Raúl Castro has suggested.

“It is practically unanimous among the prisoners that they not be exchanged for soldiers who were arrested red-handed spying in the United States”, the agency stated, citing the head of the ill-named “Cuban Commission for Human Rights and Conciliation”. One would now have to see who they would classify with this concept. Pope John Paul II made no difference between political and ordinary prisoners when he visited Cuba, and he sought clemency for a number of them. Actually, the majority of those classified as ordinary prisoners in the United States are, generally speaking, the poorest and most discriminated against people.

“Nevertheless Obama –AP later goes on to say– could suffer serious political consequences if he were to agree to the exchange of five Communist agents who were condemned for spying in 2001. The leader of the group was implicated in the deaths of four Cuban exiles when their planes were shot down by Cuban fighter planes in 2001.” Isn’t that cable an indirect threat to the president of the United States?

The alleged mercenary leader was a sectarian coming from the youth section of the former Communist Party that later joined the new party created by the Revolution. When we found ourselves in the necessity to disagree with the USSR for its incorrect decision to negotiate an agreement for the October [Missile] Crisis with the United States without first consulting our country, the individual became an enemy of the Revolution. He served the superpower during the entire Bush term in office. Now he is enjoying the privilege of being instrumental in threatening Obama.

AP says not one word about the life sentences passed on the Five Heroes in cooked trials, the lies concocted with the complicity of the authorities, the cruel treatment they have received and many more details related to the case. Those are the slanderous rumours being printed in much of the news media throughout the world.

Whenever the state of health of any of the mercenaries warrants it, the government of Cuba has never failed to show clemency, without the United States having to demand it.

On the other hand, the government of Cuba never used torture, something that is acknowledged by the world. The president of Cuba cannot order the assassination of an adversary. Has the new U.S. president condemned that horrible practice? If he does so, believe me that I shall not hesitate to acknowledge the impression of sincerity he gave all of us at the beginning.

Tomorrow we shall be meeting again with Daniel. In less time than he had to wait in the LACSA plane under the intense tropical heat in Port of Spain, the Cuban plane will return him to his beloved homeland.


Fidel Castro Ruz
April 23, 2009
2:54 p.m.


from Cuban News Agency

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Light Reflecting Off Shiprock



THE LIGHT REFLECTING OFF SHIPROCK

The day I awoke to the sunlight reflecting off Shiprock
When I thought extra terrestrials or the ancestors had landed
That was the day I most felt like myself, full of life and fearless
Ready to walk into the bright light of the world and find a place in it

When I thought extraterrestrials or the ancestors had landed
It was just Sara coming through the hogan door to stir the fire
Ready to walk into the bright light of the world and find a place in it
She was a master at weaving dreams into life with all its beauty and mistakes

It was just Sara coming through the hogan door to stir the fire
A light that never goes out and is always burning below the ashes
She was a master at weaving dreams into life with all its beauty and mistakes
Imperfectly perfect like all of creation

A light that never goes out and is always burning below the ashes
The hope of another chance to be better next time
Imperfectly perfect like all of creation
In a spirit line woven across the fabric of our lives

The hope of another chance to be better next time
We remember our shortcomings as lessons
In a spirit line woven across the fabric of our lives
I saw the beauty before me and walked into the future

We remember our shortcomings as lessons
Letting go of the past helps us live in the present
I saw the beauty before me and walked into the future
The day I awoke to the sunlight reflecting off Shiprock

Odilia Galván Rodríguez


included in new poems for March @ http://www.poetsonline.org/

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Poem #23 - 30/30

The punches we never see coming


That day you ran off the road of life into the arms of oblivion
Was one of those sucker punches I never see coming
Now I make up the time we could have had, talking to your spirit
Our life together was only ten years long, but some love's everlasting

It was one of those sucker punches I never seen coming
Her early morning phone call hit me like a iron fisted uppercut
Our life together was only ten years long, but some love's everlasting
Survivors know how to act fast in a crisis, how to pilot in a crunch

Her early morning phone call hit me like a iron fisted uppercut
There was no time to ask why you went outside the light of the sun
Survivors know how to act in a crisis, how to pilot in a crunch
Were you deciding not to hurt anymore, or leaving me again - on the run

There was not time to ask why you went outside the light of the sun
Did you think you were doing the right thing, not wanting to be a burden
Were you deciding not to hurt anymore, or leaving me again - on the run
These are questions I ask you everyday, or ponder while writing out in the garden

Did you think you were doing the right thing, not wanting to be a burden
That last time we talked I said, why not come and live with me - it will be such fun
These are questions I ask you everyday, or ponder while writing out in the garden
Since that day you ran off the road of life into the arms of oblivion



© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

Poem #22 - 30/30 - aka A Poem a Day for National Poetry Month

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poem #21 - 30/30



Thinking in shouts

Contemplating
Thinking in shouts
Pondering
Brooding about

Thinking in shouts
Shouting loudly
Brooding about
Yelling forcefully

Shouting loudly
Whispering a holler
Yelling forcefully
Why the hell bother

Whispering a holler
Meditating on milk
Why the hell bother
Rather wear silk

Meditating on milk
Shrieking silently
Rather wear silk
Shaking violently

Shrieking silently
Anger might be addicting
Shaking violently
Contemplating



© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

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pious pantoum shot to hell
© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009


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Poem #20 - 30/30



The Summer of Love


It was four years after the Summer of Love
And I'd been loving you for three of those summers
You were my first, in that time of peace, love, dove
You wanting to teach me the world, to lessen the bummers

And I'd been loving you for three of those summers
A girl blooming into a woman, a flower inside a gun
You wanting to teach me the world, to lessen the bummers
Many a time you came to find me when I was on the run

A girl blooming into a woman, a flower inside a gun
Ready to go off at any moment having been born in an explosion
Many a time you came to find me when I was on the run
Tortured children become crazies, or cops, or crusaders on a mission

Ready to go off at any moment having been born in an explosion
It came easy to want to fight injustice or just be stoned stoned loved
Tortured children become crazies, or cops, or crusaders on a mission
I too wanted an end to the war, an end to all the lies our people were so tired of

It came easy to want to fight injustice or just be stoned stoned loved
You were Romeo, my Tony - 'cause your family said, she's just a kid from the Projx slum
I too wanted an end to the war, an end to all the lies our people were so tired of
In the streets we shouted ¡Si Se Puede and sang We Shall Overcome

You were Romeo, my Tony - 'cause your family said, she's just a kid from the Projx slum
So our relationship went underground, while we tried to make a world we dreamed of
In the streets we shouted ¡Si Se Puede and sang We Shall Overcome
It was four years after the Summer of Love



© Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2009

for DAR

From the ALBA ~ Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas ~


The Declaration of Cumaná

April 21 2009

ALBA

Cumaná, Venezuela

We, the Heads of State and Government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, member countries of ALBA, consider that the Draft Declaration of the 5th Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:

- The Declaration does not provide answers to the Global Economic Crisis, even though this crisis constitutes the greatest challenge faced by humanity in the last decades and is the most serious threat of the current times to the welfare of our peoples.

- The Declaration unfairly excludes Cuba, without mentioning the consensus in the region condemning the blockade and isolation to which the people and the government of Cuba have incessantly been exposed in a criminal manner.

For this reason, we, the member countries of ALBA believe that there is no consensus for the adoption of this draft declaration because of the reasons above stated, and accordingly, we propose to hold a thorough debate on the following topics:

1. Capitalism is leading humanity and the planet to extinction. What we are experiencing is a global economic crisis of a systemic and structural nature, not another cyclic crisis. Those who think that with a taxpayer money injection and some regulatory measures this crisis will end are wrong. The financial system is in crisis because it trades bonds with six times the real value of the assets and services produced and rendered in the world, this is not a “system regulation failure”, but a integrating part of the capitalist system that speculates with all assets and values with a view to obtain the maximum profit possible. Until now, the economic crisis has generated over 100 million additional hungry persons and has slashed over 50 million jobs, and these figures show an upward trend.

2. Capitalism has caused the environmental crisis, by submitting the necessary conditions for life in the planet, to the predominance of market and profit. Each year we consume one third more of what the planet is able to regenerate. With this squandering binge of the capitalist system, we are going to need two planets Earth by the year 2030.

3. The global economic crisis, climate change, the food crisis and the energy crisis are the result of the decay of capitalism, which threatens to end life and the planet. To avert this outcome, it is necessary to develop and model an alternative to the capitalist system. A system based on:

- solidarity and complementarity, not competition;
- a system in harmony with our mother earth and not plundering of human resources;
- a system of cultural diversity and not cultural destruction and imposition of cultural values and lifestyles alien to the realities of our countries;
- a system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist policies and wars;
- in summary, a system that recovers the human condition of our societies and peoples and does not reduce them to mere consumers or merchandise.

4. As a concrete expression of the new reality of the continent, we, Caribbean and Latin American countries, have commenced to build our own institutionalization, an institutionalization that is based on a common history dating back to our independence revolution and constitutes a concrete tool for deepening the social, economic and cultural transformation processes that will consolidate our full sovereignty. ALBA-TCP, Petrocaribe or UNASUR, mentioning merely the most recently created, are solidarity-based mechanisms of unity created in the midst of such transformations with the obvious intention of boosting the efforts of our peoples to attain their own freedom. To face the serious effects of the global economic crisis, we, the ALBA-TCP countries, have adopted innovative and transforming measures that seek real alternatives to the inadequate international economic order, not to boost their failed institutions. Thus, we have implemented a Regional Clearance Unitary System, the SUCRE, which includes a Common Unit of Account, a Clearance Chamber and a Single Reserve System. Similarly, we have encouraged the constitution of grand-national companies to satisfy the essential needs of our peoples and establish fair and complementary trade mechanisms that leave behind the absurd logic of unbridled competition.

5. We question the G20 for having tripled the resources of the International Monetary Fund when the real need is to establish a new world economic order that includes the full transformation of the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, entities that have contributed to this global economic crisis with their neoliberal policies.

6. The solutions to the global economic crisis and the definition of a new international financial scheme should be adopted with the participation of the 192 countries that will meet in the United Nations Conference on the International Financial Crisis to be held on June 1-3 to propose the creation of a new international economic order.

7. As for climate change, developed countries are in an environmental debt to the world because they are responsible for 70% of historical carbon emissions into the atmosphere since 1750. Developed countries should pay off their debt to humankind and the planet; they should provide significant resources to a fund so that developing countries can embark upon a growth model which does not repeat the serious impacts of the capitalist industrialization.

8. Solutions to the energy, food and climate change crises should be comprehensive and interdependent. We cannot solve a problem by creating new ones in fundamental areas for life. For instance, the widespread use of agricultural fuels has an adverse effect on food prices and the use of essential resources, such as water, land and forests.

9. We condemn the discrimination against migrants in any of its forms. Migration is a human right, not a crime. Therefore, we request the United States government an urgent reform of its migration policies in order to stop deportations and massive raids and allow for reunion of families. We further demand the removal of the wall that separates and divides us, instead of uniting us. In this regard, we petition for the abrogation of the Law of Cuban Adjustment and removal of the discriminatory, selective Dry Feet, Wet Feet policy that has claimed human losses. Bankers who stole the money and resources from our countries are the true responsible, not migrant workers. Human rights should come first, particularly human rights of the underprivileged, downtrodden sectors in our society, that is, migrants without identity papers. Free movement of people and human rights for everybody, regardless of their migration status, are a must for integration. Brain drain is a way of plundering skilled human resources exercised by rich countries.

10. Basic education, health, water, energy and telecommunications services should be declared human rights and cannot be subject to private deal or marketed by the World Trade Organization. These services are and should be essentially public utilities of universal access.

11. We wish a world where all, big and small, countries have the same rights and where there is no empire. We advocate non-intervention. There is the need to strengthen, as the only legitimate means for discussion and assessment of bilateral and multilateral agendas in the hemisphere, the foundations for mutual respect between states and governments, based on the principle of non-interference of a state in the internal affairs of another state, and inviolability of sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples. We request the new Government of the United States, the arrival of which has given rise to some expectations in the hemisphere and the world, to finish the longstanding and dire tradition of interventionism and aggression that has characterized the actions of the US governments throughout history, and particularly intensified during the Administration of President George W. Bush. By the same token, we request the new Government of the United States to abandon interventionist practices, such as cover-up operations, parallel diplomacy, media wars aimed at disturbing states and governments, and funding of destabilizing groups. Building on a world where varied economic, political, social and cultural approaches are acknowledged and respected is of the essence.

12. With regard to the US blockade against Cuba and the exclusion of the latter from the Summit of the Americas, we, the member states of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America, reassert the Declaration adopted by all Latin American and Caribbean countries last December 16, 2008, on the need to end the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the Government of the United States of America on Cuba, including the implementation of the so-called Helms-Burton Act. The declaration sets forth in its fundamental paragraphs the following:

“CONSIDERING the resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly on the need to finish the economic, trade and financial blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba, and the statements on such blockade, which have been approved in numerous international meetings.

“WE AFFIRM that the application of unilateral, coercive measures affecting the wellbeing of peoples and hindering integration processes is unacceptable when defending free exchange and the transparent practice of international trade.

“WE STRONGLY REPEL the enforcement of laws and measures contrary to International Law, such as the Helms-Burton Act, and we urge the Government of the United States of America to finish such enforcement.

“WE REQUEST the Government of the United States of America to comply with the provisions set forth in 17 successive resolutions approved by the United Nations General Assembly and put an end to the economic, trade and financial blockade on Cuba.”

Additionally, we consider that the attempts at imposing the isolation of Cuba have failed, as nowadays Cuba forms an integral part of the Latin American and Caribbean region; it is a member of the Rio Group and other hemispheric organizations and mechanisms, which develops a policy of cooperation, in solidarity with the countries in the hemisphere; which promotes full integration of Latin American and Caribbean peoples. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever to justify its exclusion from the mechanism of the Summit of the Americas.

13. Developed countries have spent at least USD 8 billion to rescue a collapsing financial structure. They are the same that fail to allocate the small sums of money to attain the Millennium Goals or 0.7% of the GDP for the Official Development Assistance. Never before the hypocrisy of the wording of rich countries had been so apparent. Cooperation should be established without conditions and fit in the agendas of recipient countries by making arrangements easier; providing access to the resources, and prioritizing social inclusion issues.

14. The legitimate struggle against drug trafficking and organized crime, and any other form of the so-called “new threats” must not be used as an excuse to undertake actions of interference and intervention against our countries.

15. We are firmly convinced that the change, where everybody repose hope, can come only from organization, mobilization and unity of our peoples.

As the Liberator wisely said:

Unity of our peoples is not a mere illusion of men, but an inexorable decree of destiny.

— Simón Bolívar

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Secret Summit - from Reflections & Speeches of Fidel Castro

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FidelCastro

Reflections & Speeches


The Secret Summit

Neither represented nor excommunicated, only today could I learn what was discussed at the Summit of Port of Spain. They led us all to entertain hopes that the meeting would not be secret, but those running the show deprived us of such an interesting intellectual exercise. We shall get to know the substance but not the tone of voice, the look in the eyes or the facial look that can be a reflection of a person’s ideas, ethic and character. A Secret Summit is worse than a silent movie. For a few minutes the television showed some images. There was a gentleman on
Obama’s left whom I could not identify clearly as he laid his hand on Obama’s shoulder, like an eight-year-old boy on a classmate in the front row. Then, another member of his entourage standing beside him interrupted the president of the United States for a dialogue; those coming up to address him had the appearance of an oligarchy that never knew what hunger is and who expect to find in Obama’s powerful nation the shield that will protect the system from the fearsome social changes.

Up to that moment, a bizarre atmosphere prevailed at the Summit.

The artistic function arranged by the host was really spectacular. I have seldom seen something like it; perhaps never. A good announcer, apparently a Trinitarian, had proudly said that it was unique.

It was a feast of culture and luxury. I meditated about it. I calculated the cost of all that and suddenly I realized that no other country in the Caribbean could afford such a display, that the venue of the summit is very wealthy, a sort of United States surrounded by small poor countries. Could Haiti with its exuberant culture or Jamaica, Granada, Dominica, Guyana, Belize or any other have hosted such a luxurious summit? Their beaches may be wonderful but they are not surrounded by the towers that distinguish the Trinitarian landscape and accumulate with that non-renewable raw material the enormous resources that sustain today the riches of that country. Almost every other island in the Caribbean community located to the north of this is directly battered by the hurricanes of increasing intensity that hit our sister islands of the Caribbean region every year.

Did anyone in that meeting remember that Obama promised to invest as much money as necessary to make the United States self-reliant in fuel? Such a policy would directly affect many of the States taking part in the meeting since they will not have access to the technologies and the huge investments required to work on that area or any other.

Something really impressed me as the summit unfolded until today, Saturday, April 18, at 11:47 a.m. when I am writing these lines: Daniel Ortega’s remarks. I had promised myself not to publish anything until next Monday, April 20, but rather to observe the developments in the celebrated summit.

It was not the economist, the scientist, the intellectual or the poet speaking; Daniel did not choose an elaborate language to impress his audience. He spoke as the president of one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere, as a revolutionary combatant, on behalf of a group of Central American nations and the Dominican Republic which is a partner of SICA (Central American Integration System).

It would suffice to be one of the hundreds of thousands of Nicaraguans who learned how to read and write in the first stage of the Sandinista Revolution, when the illiteracy rate was reduced from 60 to 12 percent, or again when Daniel received power in 2008 as the illiteracy rate had increased to 35 percent.

His remarks extended for nearly 50 minutes. He spoke slowly and calm, but the reproduction of the full text would make this Reflection too extensive.

I shall summarize his statement using his own words for each of the basic ideas he expressed. I will avoid the use of suspension points and use inverted commas only when Daniel quotes other people or institutions.

Nicaragua appealed to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. It filed a lawsuit against the war policy, the terrorist policy implemented by President Ronald Reagan on behalf of the United States.

Our crime: we had freed ourselves from Anastasio Somoza’s tyranny imposed through the intervention of the Yankee troops in Nicaragua.

From the past century, Central America has been shaken by the expansionist policies, the war policies that brought the Central Americans together to defeat them.

These were followed by interventions extending from the year 1912 to 1932, which resulted in the imposition of the Somozas’ tyranny equipped, funded and defended by American leaders.

I had the opportunity of meeting President Reagan during the war; we shook hands and I asked him to stop the war against Nicaragua.

I had the opportunity of meeting President Carter and when he told me that “now that the Nicaraguan people had got rid of the Somoza tyranny it was time for Nicaragua to change” I said to him: No, Nicaragua does not have to change, you have to change. Nicaragua has never invaded the United States; Nicaragua has not planted mines in the U.S. harbors; Nicaragua has not thrown a stone against the American nation; Nicaragua has not imposed governments on the United States; you are the ones who should change and not the Nicaraguans.

As the war was still going on, I had the chance to meet the then recently inaugurated President of the United States George Bush, senior. In the year 1989, at a gathering in Costa Rica, we sat facing each other, President Bush and me, and he said: “The press has come here because they want to see a fight between the president of the United States and the president of Nicaragua, and we have made an effort not to oblige them.”

Nicaragua was still fighting the war imposed by the United States. The International Court of Justice in The Hague decided on the lawsuit filed by Nicaragua and passed sentence. It clearly stated that “the United States should cease every military action, the mining of the harbors and the funding of the war; that it should indicate where the mines had been planted since it refused to provide that information;” it also ordered the U.S. government to compensate Nicaragua for the trade and economic blockade imposed on that nation.

We are waging a struggle in Nicaragua, Central America and Latin America to eradicate illiteracy with the generous and unconditional solidarity of the fraternal Cuban people, of Fidel who promoted such literacy campaigns in solidarity with our peoples, and of President Raul Castro who has continued these programs for the benefit of all of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

Later, the Bolivarian people of Venezuela and its President Hugo Chavez Frias joined in this effort with a generous spirit.

Most of the presidents and heads of government of Latin America and the Caribbean are here today; also the President of the United States and the Primer Minister of Canada. But there are two notable absentees: one is Cuba, whose only crime has been to fight for the peoples’ sovereignty and independence; to give solidarity, unconditionally, to our peoples. That’s why it is sanctioned, that’s why it is punished; that’s why it is excluded. That’s why I do not feel comfortable today in this Summit; I cannot feel comfortable in this Summit. I am embarrassed to be attending this summit in the absence of Cuba.

Another country is not present here because unlike Cuba, which is an independent and supportive nation, that other people is still submitted to colonialist policies: I mean the fraternal people of Puerto Rico.

We are working to build a great alliance, a great unity of Latin American and Caribbean peoples. The day will come when the Puerto Rican people is also a part of that great alliance.

In the 1950s racial discrimination was institutionalized, it was part of the American way of life, part of the American democracy: black people could not walk into white people’s restaurants or white people’s bars. The children of black families could not attend the white children schools. In order to turn down the wall of racial discrimination it was necessary --and this President Obama knows better than we do—Martin Luther King, jr, said: “I have a dream.” The dream became a reality and the wall of racial discrimination collapsed in the United States of America, thanks to the struggle of that people.

This meeting, this gathering is opening exactly the same day that the invasion of Cuba started in 1961. Talking with the President of Cuba Raul Castro, he gave me some data: “Daniel, President Obama was born on August 4, 1961; he was three and a half months when we attained victory in Playa Giron on April that year. Obviously he is not accountable for that historic event. The bombings on April 15; the proclamation of socialism by Fidel during the funeral of the victims on the 16th; the invasion on the 17th; on the 18th, the battle goes on and victory is attained on the 19th, before 72 hours had passed. Raul.” (On his return from Cumana, Raul related to me that in a note he wrote for Daniel he made a quick calculation and was wrong to assert that Obama was three and a half months at the time of the Bay of Pigs invasion, when he should have said that Obama was born three and a half months later; that it was his [Raul’s] mistake.)

That is history. In the year 2002, also in the month of April, on the 11th, a coup d’etat was dealt to murder an elected president in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez was seized; the order to murder him had been issued. When the puppet regime took over, the U.S. government through its spokesman recognized the putschers and offered them support. We are right to say that that is not history; such violent events against the institutions of a people, of a progressive, supportive and revolutionary nation took place hardly seven years ago.

I think that the time I’m taking is shorter than the three hours I had to wait at the airport inside the plane.

The freedom of expression must apply to the big ones and the little ones: Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic as an associate. The territorial area is 355,617.5 square miles. The population is a little more than 41.7 million.

We are asking that all immigrants in the United States receive the TPS, but the causes of migration are the underdevelopment and poverty of our Central American peoples.

The only way to stop that flow of emigrants to the United States is not building a fence or reinforcing military surveillance along the border.

The United States needs the Central American labor force, as it needs the Mexican labor force. Then, when the supply of that labor force is higher than the demand of the U.S. economy, repressive policies come into play, while funds should be contributed without political strings attached, without the conditions imposed by the International Monetary Fund.

We have the ungrateful task of protecting the U.S. borders due to drug abuse.

Just in Nicaragua, the national police impounded over 360 tons of cocaine last year. That, at a market price in the United States, would certainly amount to more than 1 billion dollars.

How much does the United States provide Nicaragua for guarding its borders? It provides 1,200,000 dollars.

It’s not fair, it’s not equitable, it’s not ethical. It is not moral that the G-20 continues to make the great decisions; the time has come for the G-192, that is, for all countries in the United Nations to make them.

Those who have had dealings with the IMF are perfectly aware of what the Fund has meant, of the social, agricultural and productive programs that have been cut off to obtain resources to pay back the debt, a debt imposed by the rules established by global capitalism. It has only been an instrument setting forth and developing colonialist, neocolonialist and imperialist policies from the metropolises.

Mahatma Gandhi, who waged a heroic struggle against England for the independence of India, said that England had used one-fourth of the resources of the planet to reach its current state of development. So, what resources would India need to attain a similar condition? Now, in this 21st century, and since the end of the 20th century, it was not only England but every developed capitalist country that established their hegemony at the expense of the destruction of the planet and the human species, imposing the consumerist patterns of their model.

The only way to save the planet, and the sustainable development of mankind with it, will be to lay the foundations of a new international economic order, a new socio-economic and political model which is truly fair, supportive and democratic.

There is the project known as PETROCARIBE and there is ALBA –most of the Caribbean nations are members of PETROCARIBE, but there are also members of SICA which belong to PETROCARIBE: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Panama.

“The heads of Sate and Government of Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Venezuela, members of ALBA, consider that the draft Declaration of the Fifth Summit of the Americas is insufficient and unacceptable for the following reasons:

(He goes on to read the ALBA Declaration on the document proposed for the Summit of the Americas.)

“It does not respond to the issue of the Global Economic Crisis, even though that is the greatest challenge faced by mankind in decades.

“It unjustifiably excludes Cuba without mentioning the general consensus in the region to condemn the blockade and the attempts to constantly isolate its people and government in a criminal fashion.

“What we are experiencing is a structural and systemic global economic crisis and not just another cyclic crisis.

“The environmental crisis has been caused by capitalism which had subordinated the necessary conditions for life on the planet to the predominance of markets and profits.

To avoid this outcome it is necessary to develop an alternative model to the capitalist system. A system in harmony with our Mother Earth and not one that plunders its natural resources; a system of cultural diversity and not of crushing cultures and imposing cultural values and life styles that have nothing to do with the realities of our countries; a system of peace based on social justice and not on imperialist wars and policies; a system that does not reduce them to simple consumers or merchandise.

Regarding the U.S. blockade on Cuba and the exclusion of this country from the Summit of the Americas, the member countries of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) reiterate the Declaration adopted last December 16, 2008, by all of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on the necessity to put an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States of America, including the implementation of the so-called Helms-Burton Act, widely known to all.

In my country, Nicaragua, the governments that preceded me strictly enforced the neoliberal policies, that is, from 1990, when the Sandinista Front left the government, until January 10, 2007, when the Sandinista Front returned to government; they enforced them for 16 years.

As the Nicaraguan Revolution triumphed in 1979, it found that the tyrannies and governments that had been imposed and sustained in Nicaragua by the U.S. administrations, the self-defined democratic governments, had left Nicaragua with 60 percent illiteracy.

Our first big battle was to eradicate illiteracy. We undertook that battle and reduced illiteracy to 11.5 or 12 percent. We couldn’t go further because we were imposed a war policy by the Reagan administration.

We left the government in 1990 with 12.5 percent illiteracy in the country and on January 2007 we received back the country with 35 percent illiteracy.

This data have not been made up by the government; they have been released by agencies specialized in education and culture.

That is the result of the neoliberalism applied in Nicaragua; the result of privatizations in Nicaragua where healthcare and education were privatized and the poor were left out. For others it was a good change because they amassed fortunes; the model has proven successful to concentrate riches and extend poverty. It is a great concentrator of riches and a great multiplier of poverty and destitution.

It is an ethical problem, a moral problem, and the future lies on it; not only the future of the most impoverished countries --as the five countries of Latin America and the Caribbean I have mentioned—that have little else to lose other than our shackles, if there is not a change of ethics, a change of moral, a change of values that will enable us to be really sustainable.

It is no longer a matter of ideology, it’s not a political issue; it’s a matter of survival. And this applies to all, from the G-20 to the G-5 who are the most impoverished in Latin America and the Caribbean.

I think that this crisis that is affecting the world today and that is leading to discussions, debates, and to a search for solutions we should approach it bearing in mind that the current development model is no longer possible, no longer sustainable.

The only way to save us all is to change the model.

Thank you, very much.

Daniel’s phrases at the opening session of the Summit were like a bell tolling for a centuries-old policy that until a few months ago was applied to the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

It is 19:58 hours. I have just listened to the words of President Hugo Chavez. Apparently, Venezolana de Television introduced a camera in the “Secret Summit” and carried some of his words. Yesterday we saw him graciously return Obama’s gesture as he walked up to greet him, unquestionably a clever gesture of the United States president.

This time Chavez stood up from his chair, walked to Obama’s seat at the head of a rectangular hall near Michelle Bachelet, and presented him with the well known book by Galeano, Las venas abiertas de America Latina, systematically updated by the author. I simply mentioned the time it was when I listened to him.

It is announced that the Summit will be closed tomorrow at noon.

The United States president has been very active. According to press reports he has not only taken part in the plenary session of the Summit but also met with every regional subgroup.

His predecessor went to bed early and slept for many hours. Seemingly, Obama works hard and sleeps little.

Today, the 19th , at 11:57 hours, I don’t see anything new. The CNN news channel has no fresh news. The clock struck 12 when the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago stood on the rostrum. I prepare to listen to him, and then I perceive some strange signals. Manning’s face looks tense. Later, Obama speaks and takes some questions from the press; I find him gruff although calm. I was surprised that a press conference was organized with several leaders without the participation of any of those who disagreed with the document.

Manning had said before that the document had been elaborated two years back when there was not a deep economic crisis; therefore, the current issues had not been properly examined. Of course, I thought, McCain was not there; surely the OAS, Leonel and the Dominican Republic remembered the name of the military commander of the invaders in 1965 and the 50 thousand troops that occupied the country to prevent the return of Juan Bosch who was not a Marxist-Leninist.

The leaders in the press conference were the Prime Minister of Canada, certainly a rightist and the only one who had been rude to Cuba; Mexican President Felipe Calderon; Martin Torrijos from Panama and, naturally, Patrick Manning. The Caribbean and the two Latin American leaders were respectful to Cuba; none of them attacked it, and they had expressed their opposition to the blockade.

Obama spoke of the United States military power, which could be of assistance in the fight on organized crime, and of the significance of the U.S. market. He also admitted that the programs carried forward by the government of Cuba, such as sending groups of doctors to countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, could be more effective than Washington’s military power to gain influence in the region.

We, the Cubans do not do it to gain influence; it’s a tradition that was born in Algeria in 1963, when that country was fighting French colonialism, and we have later done likewise in scores of Third World countries.

He was gruff and elusive with regards to the blockade in his interview with the press; but he is already born and he will be 48 years next August 4.

Nine days later, that same month, I will be 83, almost twice his age, but now I have much more time to think. I wish to remind him of a basic ethical principle with respect to Cuba: there is no excuse for any injustice, any crime to last, regardless of time; the cruel blockade on the Cuban people takes lives and causes suffering; it also affects the economy of the nation and limits its possibilities to cooperate with healthcare, education and sports services, with energy saving and with the protection of the environment in many poor countries of the world.

Fidel Castro Ruz

April 19, 2009

2:32 p.m.