International Solidarity is First

By Graciela Ramirez on September 24, 2019

The 74th Session of the UN General Assembly will go down in history as one full of lies, slanders, and aggression that was delivered in live transmission of the world’s most powerful government and its obedient lackeys. With premeditated impunity, United States President Donald Trump manipulated once again the words democracy and freedom in his imperial hatred against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. His contempt against these nations is summarized in his phrase “America First,” the same which inspired the Monroe Doctrine in their attempt for a new colonization two centuries ago.

The extreme right-wing President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, lied with premeditation by slandering the Cuban health cooperation projects. He attacked Venezuela and its legitimate Government; he minimized the fires in the Amazon rainforest; he concealed the truth about its origin and the unforgivable inaction of his Cabinet, making a spectacle of himself by suggesting that native people were the ones to be blamed for it.

The former Army captain turned President said to the world that the Amazon is now the property of his Administration and it is no longer a World Heritage Site.  He lied with premeditation as well about the decrease of violence in Brazil.  The first violent event is the unfair imprisonment of Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

From January through August, during the six first months of his term, a total of 1249 people were murdered according to Amnesty International in Rio de Janeiro. This statistic is not about the entire country. Only two days ago, bullets from the police ended the life of little Aghata Felix, who was only eight years old. Aghata died because she was a black girl, because she lived in a favela.  Bolsonaro’s speech “Brazil for the world” is nothing but a shame for all Latin Americans.

It was then the turn for Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, who would have dinner with Trump later while thousands of Argentineans sleep in the streets and a food emergency had to be declared so that they do not continue starving to death. After praising his own Administration for “leaving a phase of confrontation with the world behind,” we see with mixed feelings of grief and terror how he handed Argentina over to vulture funds and the International Monetary Fund, turning the country into having the dubious distinction of having the world’s biggest debt.  Boasting about the Malvinas islands came a bit late, like a note from one who wants to say goodbye with the decency he lacks. But cynical Macri also talked about freedom and democracy to harshly criticize Venezuela.

While they were addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the United States Department of the Treasury was launching a new package of measures against Cuba and Venezuela, including turning a list of vessels and entities that transports oil from Venezuela to Cuba over to the Specially Designated Nationals List of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. “The United States continues to take strong action against the former illegitimate (Nicolas) Maduro regime and the malign foreign actors who support it. Maduro’s Cuban benefactors provide a lifeline to the regime and enables its repressive security and intelligence apparatus,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

The list includes three entities are from Panama, one from Cyprus and four Panamanian vessels. “As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in the property of these entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. citizens are blocked.  OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property that is blocked. “This coming without hesitation from the country that is trying to give us lessons of democracy and freedom.

This new extraterritorial and illegal aggression adds to others taken since June by the U.S. Administration, tightening the blockade and Title III of the Helms-Burton Act.

Other attacks include Banning educational group travels; banning visits to Cuba by passenger and recreational vessels and private and corporate aircraft.  Strong sanctions on foreign shipping firms transporting oil from Venezuela to Cuba.

This has resulted in huge difficulties in transportation and the supply of electricity, directly affecting the Cuba people. Furthermore, obstacles have been put in place limiting remittances from Cubans living in the US to their families,  to one thousand dollars every three months.

As part of the escalation of aggressions of the United States to Cuba, two Cuban diplomats accredited to the U.N. were expelled without concrete reasons on September 19. And on top of that the already absurd restriction of movement imposed on Cuban diplomats was increased.

In this context of non-stop aggressions in which the criminal blockade imposed on Cuba six decades ago is tightened, intellectuals, activists, social movements and supportive friends are going to meet in Havana on November 1-3, at the Anti-Imperialist Encounter of Solidarity for Democracy and against Neoliberalism.

Participants are going to raise their voices loud and clear for the freedom of Lula; for Life and Peace in Venezuela; against the imperialist meddling in the region; for the ALBA of our colored America; and for the future of dignity that is deserved by our peoples.

This conference will stand against the imperial arrogance and haughtiness of Trump, Bolsonaro and Macri; against the impunity of Luis Almagro and his ministry of colonies and against the atrocity of Abrams, Pompeo and Rubio.  Let’s make this international tribune of solidarity be heard! People First, International Solidarity First!

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau