Category Archives: Cuba

NO PASARAN, COMANDANTE FIDEL!, by Andre Vltchek

che-and-fidel_art

Many years ago, Fidel declared: “Men do not shape destiny. Destiny produces the man for the hour.”

It did; destiny shaped them all, los Barbudos, and threw them right into the center of the whirlpool of world history. As they fought for the freedom of Cuba, of Latin America and the entire oppressed world, they actually managed to defy their own words: in the end they irreversibly shaped the fate of our Planet, of the entire humanity.

Fidel stood firmly at the forefront of the struggle, from the very outset to his last breath. As always, when the giants get reunited with mother Earth, the entire world shook and the ground trembled on all continents.

For several moments, everything stopped, got frozen.

I was driving through Central Vietnam when the message of Fidel’s death arrived on my phone screen. For several minutes there was absolute emptiness and silence inside me.

Then, on a wide and beautiful river I spotted several marvelous ships belonging to an ancient Vietnamese fishing fleet, and a boat proudly flying both the Communist red flags with yellow stars, as well as several desolate black flags – symbols of mourning.

In a remote place in Asia, Fidel’s death managed to disturb the calm, to stir the serene surface of the river.

Later everything fell back to where it was supposed to be, and the sounds returned. The emptiness inside me also evaporated. A great man has left, but the revolution has not stopped. It can never stop, as the very existence; the very survival of humanity now depends on it.

*

What was Fidel’s gift to the world and what did his Cuba achieve?

Results do not always have to be material. Although yes, of course, we could talk for days about the great education, culture, creativity, medical care and equality.

Socialist Cuba gave more, much more than that.

It gave hope, where hope was fading.

It gave strength, where only resignation reigned.

It gave heart to those places where only vulgar mercantile interests were recognized.

It gave optimism to counter the deadly embrace of nihilism.

Once Fidel shouted: “They talk about the failure of socialism but where is the success of capitalism in Africa, Asia and Latin America?”

Cuba, under the leadership of Fidel and his comrades, fought wars of independence in the most devastated parts of Africa; it stood by Vietnam during its most testing moments; and it offered its intellectual and ideological leadership and skills to the latest wave of Latin American revolutions, from Venezuela to Bolivia.

Cuban doctors and teachers were sent to some of the most remote parts of our planet, in order to offer unconditional internationalist help. I saw them in action in places such as Kiribati, Timor Leste, and post-apartheid South Africa. They fought for human lives in the poorest countries, and in those places devastated by natural calamities. They fought with courage and dignity, and also with kindness and respect, learning to communicate in local languages and valuing local cultures.

Fidel’s Cuba never broke down, never surrendered under the pressure. It defended itself when attacked by the mightiest nation on earth. It survived a brutal embargo, ideological propaganda and even biological warfare.

It inspired the world with its determination and its valour, just as it inspired millions worldwide with its music, cinema and poetry.

“Patria no se vende!” – “One does not sell the Fatherland!” This is one of the greatest slogans of this marvellous country: a slogan which brought a clear message to all the countries humiliated and plundered by the Western Empire: ‘Not everything is lost. It is worth standing tall. It is better to die than to lose one’s pride and dignity!’

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Cuba Will Not Fall, by Andre Vltchek

source: counterpunch

Andre Vltchek and his 1952 horse.
Andre Vltchek and his 1952 horse.

I am not sure who has invented those rumors that Cuba is now facing a mortal danger, that it has lost its bearings, and that it could collapse at any moment, after just one lethal visit by US President Barack Obama. The rumors and speculations are snowballing, and in some circles of the North American and European Left, they are already being confused with reality.

I know, admire and love Cuba. It is an exceptionally strong, determined and resilient nation. Reading all the alarming reports, I decided to return and to speak to the Cuban people directly.

I visited Cuba again. This time in between my work in war-torn Middle East and South America, a continent suffering vicious assaults by toxic counter-revolutionary cliques loyal to Washington and Europe.

This time I decided to drive, to visit remote villages and historic revolutionary sites, as well as the area surrounding the territory stolen from Cuba by Western imperialism – Guantanamo Bay. I drove for over 1,000 kilometers, in the East and West of the country. I worked in Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Havana, Bay of Pigs, Playa Giron and in one of the most remote (and before the Revolution the poorest) areas of the country – Cienaga de Zapata.

I visited Prensa Latina and ICAIC in Havana, but this time my main goal was simply to listen to the Cuban people.

Were they aware of that mortal danger coming from the North? Were they ready to forge compromises? Was their revolutionary spirit getting diluted?

My conclusion is clear and decisive: “No! Cuba is not falling. Cuban people know; they are well aware of what is most likely behind the sweet talk of the US President. They will not yield, and they will not betray the Revolution.”

The danger from the West is real; it is there. It is always there, as it is real. Coercions, tricks, Machiavellian politics – all will be used in attempt to derail, even to destroy the Cuban Revolution. But do not think for one second that the Cuban people don’t see what the Empire is trying to achieve.

Cuba is standing, where it has been for decades. It is doing better than before. It is also stronger than ever. I’m convinced that it is going to prevail.

Before I continue, I have one suggestion to make to those who are thinking otherwise and who are genuinely worried: go to Cuba and help if you think that the country is now facing unprecedented danger. Travel there, talk to people, work, write, film, photograph. Support Cuba abroad. Buy its products, listen to its music, watch films, read books. Spend money there, instead of in Thailand, the Virgin Islands or Egypt, if you need some sun. Do something real, something concrete.

Cuba is the most internationalist country on Earth. It has been showing solidarity with dozens of oppressed and needy countries. It has already done so much for the others – the rest of the world. Now do something for Cuba, instead of prophesying its collapse! Do it if you worry about its future, and do it even if you don’t.

Guantanamo city.
Guantanamo city.

Santiago de Cuba is known to be a brave and strong-minded city. This is where the Cuban Revolution began on July 26, 1953. This is where a great poet, writer, and a national hero, José Martí is buried.

And this is where, on January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro proclaimed the victory of the Revolution from a balcony in Santiago’s city hall.

Like Salvador Bahia in Brazil, Santiago de Cuba gave the world some of the finest musicians. Now, in legendary Casa de la Trova and in many other clubs, cabarets and music halls of the city, mixed couples of all races are dancing to the upbeat rhythms of son and salsa. In Cuba, racism is a foreign unknown factor.

During my visit, on the second floor of Casa de la Trova, a young Chinese man was exchanging love notes with a black girl, while several local mixed couples were dancing cheek-to-cheek on an old parquet floor right in front of a brilliant, euphoric band.

Here, no ‘political correctness’ is needed. Nothing is forced. Racial and gender equality come naturally, instinctively, as a logical ‘by-product’ of the Revolution.

Countless Cuban people fought and died liberating African nations from Western imperialism. Thousands of Cuban doctors and teachers are still deployed in some of the poorest and remote parts of the world. Cuban Revolution fights for humanism. It struggles; it stands on the side of the oppressed, be they men, women or children. The color of the skin matters nothing. To all Cubans, one thing is clear: each person, each race deserves to live with dignity.

This is “my Communism”. Cuba is my “mother country”.

And that is why Western imperialism hates Cuba. That is why it is using its vitriolic propaganda to discredit the Cuban Revolution. That is why it tries to derail the country from the Communist course by all means at its disposal: through direct attacks, embargo, and now, through a new Machiavellian chapter of ‘normalization’.

Continue reading Cuba Will Not Fall, by Andre Vltchek

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Conversation: Historian William Blum on the Empire

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Raúl Castro Puts the Ball in the U.S. Court, by David Urra

Cuba’s Conditions for Bilateral Relations

Journalists normally come to governmental summits with pen and scissors in hand, because summarizing the extended remarks of Heads of State is a pretty difficult and tedious job. Leaders sometimes repeat things they’ve said before, or make remarks that don’t particularly bear reporting, or concentrate on specific problems that are not generally all that interesting.

The latest CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit ought to have been different though. Everyone was waiting for Cuba’s delegation, led by its president, Raúl Castro, in anticipation of his first public remarks since he and President Obama announced a prisoner exchange and the beginnings of negotiations to re-establish relations between Cuba and the United States.

Ever since that bombshell, a flood of stories have emerged on both sides of the Straits, filled with speculation about events both real and imagined, and as one would expect, sketching the parameters for public opinion about what might come next.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading Raúl Castro Puts the Ball in the U.S. Court, by David Urra

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Proclamation by an adversary of the US government, by Fidel Castro

Source: Global Research

Date: May 2004

Mr. George W. Bush: the million Cubans who are gathered here today to march past your Interests Section is just a small part of a valiant and heroic people who would like to be here with us, if it were physically possible.

We have not gathered in a hostile gesture to the American people whose ethics, rooted in the time when the first pilgrims emigrated to this hemisphere, are well known to us. Neither do we wish to upset the officials, employees and guards of this mission, who are given all the safety and guarantees that a civilized and educated people such as ours can offer while they serve their terms. This is an outraged protest and a denunciation of the brutal, ruthless and cruel measures against our country that your country has just adopted.

We know beforehand what you believe or want to make others believe about those who are marching here. In your opinion they are oppressed masses who yearn for liberty and who have been forced onto the streets by the Cuban government.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading Proclamation by an adversary of the US government, by Fidel Castro

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US Embassy in Havana – The Cuba Caper, by Peter Koenig

The lame duck, Obama, extending a conciliatory hand to Cuba by opening an embassy in Havana, by reopening, after 54 years of a criminal and crippling embargo, diplomatic relations? – At the same time Obama is making not a single concession in terms of lifting the blockade. This smells like a trap. Cuba beware!

Imagine – a US Embassy in Havana – it would open the floodgates for US NED (National Endowment for Democracy) funded ‘NGOs’, for Washington’s spies and anti-Castro propaganda machine; it would have free hand to destabilize the country. And what would Cuba gain? – Zilch, zero, nothing. Not even a gradual lifting of the embargo had been announced. To the contrary, it would open Cuba’s borders to the vultures of Florida Cubans, eventually to theirs and other foreign investments, subjugating the country’s huge social gains over the last half a century – universal free education and health services, by far the best social system of the Americas – to the sledgehammer of neoliberal privatization.

Why would Cuba now need a US Embassy? After 54 years of struggling and surviving against Washington’s nod? – In fact, nobody needs the empire – the empire’s consent to financially and economically survive. Suffice it to look at the ‘engineered’ decay of the Russian ruble which eventually will leave Russia better off than before the downward slide of its currency and the likewise ‘engineered’ downward spin of the price of petrol. Everybody knows that the Middle Eastern oil producers, Obama’s stooges, will not forever shoot themselves in the foot by flooding the petrol market and foregoing their oil revenues.

What Cuba needs is free access to international markets – outside and independent of the United States. Cuba needs to integrate into an independent financial and monetary system, detached from the corrupt casino dollar. Solidarity by the rest of the world which has already helped Cuba survive the illegal, inhuman US embargo is now more than ever of the order. The support of a unity of nations must now help stem the temptation to bend to Washington’s offer of ‘diplomacy’.

With the establishment of diplomatic relations, Cuba would be condemned to adopt the dollar as trading currency – no escaping the dollar, if ever Cuba wanted to hope for the good deeds of the empire – the lifting of the blockade.

Look what happened in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador – once a US Embassy is established, all the nefarious destabilizing elements could sneak in, willy-nilly. Plus, economic ‘sanctions’, would be nearer than ever, if Cuba doesn’t behave. Both Bolivia and Venezuela have learned their lessons the hard way. After they closed the US Embassy and sent US organizations and NGOs home, they could breathe again. Though Venezuela is still suffering from Washington’s diabolical arm of propaganda and direct interference in domestic affairs, she has no longer the burden of maintaining a ‘diplomatic’ tie with the northern aggressor.

Most importantly, however – the US is vying for Cuban hydrocarbons, estimated today at 20 billion barrels of offshore oil reserves. Cuba, like Venezuela, is close to US Mexican Gulf shores, where the major refineries are waiting for the crude. During his tour of South America in July 2014, President Putin in a meeting with Cuban President, Raul Castro, signed an agreement whereby the Russian oil company, Rosneft, will assist the Cuban oil producer, Cupet, exploring and exploiting the island’s offshore petrol.

Is it coincidence or sheer self-interest, that just now, when Russia is digging for oil in Obama’s backyard that he is offering diplomatic ties with the 54 years embargoed Caribbean island? – Your guess.

Venezuela has the world’s largest remaining hydrocarbon reserves, about 300 billion barrels. They are close to the US shores and would be the best bet for US mega-oil. But the White House’s destabilizing efforts in Venezuela seem to fail. These efforts and other State Department blunders have helped increase US isolation in Latin America.

Why not trying another approach? – A well disguised lie; insinuating with the opening of an embassy in Havana that the deadly embargo might ease in some undefined future between the brutal Goliath of the north and castigated, downtrodden David of the Caribbean. An embassy in Cuba may also earn some much needed kudos with other Latin American neighbors which have been upset for years about the criminal strangulation by the empire of one of their brothers.

In fact, first reactions from Latin America to Obama’s diplomatic initiative were positive. But more than caution is in order. – The establishment of a US embassy in Havana might be more than just a floodgate for US secret service agents and anti-Cuba propaganda. A US Embassy in Havana might begin breaking down US isolation in South America, especially in Brazil and Argentina. It might become a backdoor for Washington to gain access to these countries huge natural resources.

Knowing about Washington’s agenda of world dominance, it would be difficult to imagine that there is even a shred of goodwill behind Obama’s move to ‘normalize’ relations with Cuba. – Havana beware!

Source: Vineyard of The Saker

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Will American Money Defeat Castro’s Life Work?, by Paul Craig Roberts

Regime Change in Cuba By Other Means?

Normalization of relations with Cuba is not the result of a diplomatic breakthrough or a change of heart on the part of Washington.  Normalization is a result of US corporations  seeking profit opportunities in Cuba, such as developing broadband Internet markets in Cuba.

Before the American left and the Cuban government find happiness in the normalization, they should consider that with normalization comes American money and a US Embassy.  The American money will take over the Cuban economy.  The embassy will be a home for CIA operatives to subvert the Cuban government.  The embassy will provide a base from which the US can establish NGOs whose gullible members can be called to street protest at the right time, as in Kiev, and the embassy will make it possible for Washington to groom a new set of political leaders.

In short, normalization of relations means regime change in Cuba. Soon Cuba will be another of Washington’s vassal states.

Conservatives and Republicans such as Peggy Noonan and Senator Marco Rubio, have made it clear that Castro is “a bad man who turned an almost-paradise into a floating prison” and that normalizing relations with Cuba will not “grant the Castro regime legitimacy.”

Noonan forgets about Guantanamo, Washington’s offshore torture prison in Cuba where hundreds of innocent people have been held and tortured for a large part of their lives by the exceptional Americans.  The Cuban Revolution intended to free Cubans from foreign domination and from exploitation by foreign capitalists.  Whatever the likelihood of success, a half century of Washington’s hostility has as much to do with Cuba’s economic problems as communist ideology.

The self-righteousness of Americans is extreme. Noonan is happy.  American money is now going to defeat Castro’s life work. And if the money doesn’t do it, the CIA will.  The agency has long been waiting to avenge the Bay of Pigs, and normalization of relations brings the opportunity.

Source:http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/22/will-american-money-defeat-castros-life-work/

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is How America Was Lost.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The New Opening With the USA, by Raul Castro

Source: Counter Punch

alain-bertrand-viva-cuba

Since my election as President of the State Council and Council of Ministers I have reiterated in many occasions our willingness to hold a respectful dialogue with the United States on the basis of sovereign equality, in order to deal reciprocally with a wide variety of topics without detriment to the national Independence and self-determination of our people.

This stance was conveyed to the US Government both publicly and privately by Comrade Fidel on several occasions during our long standing struggle, stating the willingness to discuss and solve our differences without renouncing any of our principles.

The heroic Cuban people, in the wake of serious dangers, aggressions, adversities and sacrifices has proven to be faithful and will continue to be faithful to our ideals of independence and social justice. Strongly united throughout these 56 years of Revolution, we have kept our unswerving loyalty to those who died in defense of our principles since the beginning of our independence wars in 1868.

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading The New Opening With the USA, by Raul Castro

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USAID Exposed in Cuba – What it Tells Us About US Subversion Worldwide, by Tony Cartalucci

cuba1

December 13, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Revealed in an Associated Press (AP) investigation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had for two years attempted to create and exploit a social network within Cuba for the purpose of sparking unrest and overthrowing the Cuban government. The program was an abject failure, primarily because the Cuban government took the necessary measures to investigate, interrogate, and otherwise disrupt what was foreign-backed sedition.

AP would reveal in its report titled, “US co-opted Cuba’s hip-hop scene to spark change,” that:

The program is laid out in documents involving Creative Associates International, a Washington, D.C., contractor paid millions of dollars to undermine Cuba’s communist government. The thousands of pages include contracts, emails, preserved chats, budgets, expense reports, power points, photographs and passports.

The work included the creation of a “Cuban Twitter” social network and the dispatch of inexperienced Latin American youth to recruit activists, operations that were the focus of previous AP stories.

Far from the first time USAID and other US organizations claiming to be aiding in development but in fact engaged in political subversion, the Cuban program itself was based on another US-backed program used to topple the government of Serbia in 2000, AP would reveal.

The USAID operation involved money covertly funneled into Cuba through front companies and offshore banks. USAID, despite the evidence, has wholly denied the operation, as has other US organizations caught in blatant political subversion.

Regarding USAID’s denial, AP would report:

“Any assertions that our work is secret or covert are simply false,” USAID said in a statement Wednesday. Its programs were aimed at strengthening civil society “often in places where civic engagement is suppressed and where people are harassed, arrested, subjected to physical harm or worse.”

If by “civil society,” USAID means networks of political subversion operating in the interests of Wall Street and Washington, then that is precisely what USAID was doing in Cuba, and does elsewhere around the world. However, USAID’s insistence that none of its work was “secret or covert” is simply a lie.

AP, in another report titled, “5 things to know about USAID’s Cuban hip-hop plan,” would reveal that USAID covered up its Cuban program under the guise of “health and civic programs.”  The same report would claim that USAID funding was hidden from the Cubans themselves involved in the program, adding an extra layer of duplicity and deceit.

What USAID’s Cuban Subversion Tells Us About US Subversion Globally 

1. The United States is engaged in political subversion around the world, disguised as “democracy promotion” and even development aid for “health and civic programs.”

[Please click below to continue reading] Continue reading USAID Exposed in Cuba – What it Tells Us About US Subversion Worldwide, by Tony Cartalucci

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The Palestinian Holocaust in Gaza, by Fidel Castro

It was Fidel Castro’s birthday just two days ago, he is now 88. He is perhaps the grandfather of all statesman and revolutionaries, a true legend. A life devoted to a righteous cause and still strong of mind. Here is Fidel in his own words.

Originally appeared in Granma and then Counterpunch.

AE


By Fidel Castro

I think that a new, repugnant form of fascism is emerging with notable strength, at this time in human history when more that seven billion inhabitants are struggling for their survival.

None of these circumstances have anything to do with the creation of the Roman Empire, around 2,400 years ago, or with the U.S. empire which, in this region only 200 years ago, was described by Simón Bolívar who exclaimed, “…the United States appears to be destined by providence to plague America with misery in the name of liberty.” England was the first true colonial power to use its dominion over a large part of Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, North America, and many Caribbean islands, in the first half of the 20th century.

On this occasion I will not talk about the wars and crimes committed by the United States empire over more than 100 years, but will only state what it wanted to do to Cuba, what it has done to many other countries in the world, and only served to prove that “A just idea in the depth of a cave is stronger than an army.”

History is much more complicated than everything I have said, but that is the was it is, in broad strokes, as the inhabitants of Palestine know, and it is likewise logical that the modern communications media reflect the news which arrives daily, as has occurred with the shameful, criminal war in the Gaza Strip, a piece of land where the population lives in what remains of what was independent Palestine only 50 years ago.

The French agency AFP reported August 2, “The war between the Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas and Israel has caused the deaths of close to 1,800 Palestinians,… the destruction of thousands of homes, and ruined an economy which was already weakened,” although it does not indicate, of course, who initiated the terrible war.

Added later, “… As of Saturday at midday the Israeli offensive had killed 1,712 Palestinians and injured 8,900. The United Nations was able to verify the identities of 1,117 dead, in their majority civilians … UNICEF counted at least 296 dead minors.”

“The United Nations estimates …some 58,900 persons homeless in the Gaza Strip.”

“Ten of the 32 hospitals were closed and another 11 damaged.”

“This Palestinian enclave of 362 km² does not have the infrastructure needed for 1.8 million inhabitants, above all in terms of the provision of electricity and water.”

“According to the IMF, the rate of unemployment surpasses 40% in the Gaza Strip, territory subjected to an Israeli blockade since 2006. In 2000, unemployment was 20%, and in 2011, 30%. More than 70% of the population depends on humanitarian aid during normal periods, according to Gisha.

The Israeli government declared a humanitarian truce in Gaza at 07:00 GMT on Monday, nevertheless within a few hours, it broke the truce attacking a house, injuring 30 persons, in their majority women and children, and an eight-year-old girl died.

In the dawn hours of this same day, 10 Palestinians died as a result of Israeli attacks in all of Gaza and the number of Palestinians murdered has already increased to 2,000.

The killing has reached the point that, “French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius stated this Monday that Israel’s right to security does not justify the massacre of civilians taking place.”

The Nazi genocide of Jews outraged all the earth’s peoples. Why does this government believe that the world will be insensitive to the macabre genocide which today is being perpetuated against the Palestinian people? Perhaps it is expected that the complicity of the U.S. empire in this shameful massacre will be ignored?

The human species is living in an unprecedented stage of history. A crash between military planes or warships which are closely watched, or other similar events could unleash a conflict with the use of sophisticated, modern weapons, which could become the last known adventure of Homo sapiens.

There are events which reflect the almost total inability of the United States to face the world’s current problems. It can be stated that there is no government in this country, no Senate, no Congress, CIA or Pentagon which will determine the final outcome. It is truly sad that this should happen when the dangers are so great, but the opportunities to move forward are great as well.

When the great patriotic war took place, Russian citizens defended their country like Spartans, underestimating them was the worse error made by the United States and Europe. Their closest allies, the Chinese, who like the Russians achieved their victory on the basis of the same principles, constitute today the earth’s most dynamic economic force. Countries want yuan and not dollars to acquire goods and technology, and increased trade.

New, indispensable forces have emerged. Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – establishing links with Latin America and the majority of countries in the Caribbean and Africa struggling for development – constitute the forces which in our era are willing to collaborate with the rest of the world’s countries, without excluding the United States, Europe or Japan.

Blaming the Russian Federation for the in-flight destruction of the Malaysian airplane is a stunning oversimplification. Not Vladímir Putin, nor Serguéi Lavrov, Russia’s minister of Foreign Relations, or any other leader of this government would ever come up with such nonsense.

Twenty-six million Russians died in the defense of their homeland against the Nazis. Chinese combatants, men and women, inheritors of a millennial culture, are people of uncommon intelligence and an invincible spirit of struggle. Xi Jinping is one of the strongest and most capable revolutionary leaders I have met in my life.

Fidel Castro’s column appears in Granma.

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