Victory! Cuban 5 are reunited and free at last

first_imgThe Cuban 5 united in Havana, Dec. 17.Dec. 17 — The government of the United States has done what it repeatedly swore it would never do: It has freed the last of the Cuban 5.  Today Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino and Gerardo Hernández were finally released from U.S. jails after more than 16 years of unjust imprisonment. René González and Fernando González had already served their full prison terms and returned to Cuba.Those whom René González termed “the jury of millions” — who had organized, picketed, written letters, signed petitions, collected money for newspaper ads, investigated, inveighed on parliamentarians, climbed mountains, rode bicycles, tweeted, wrote poems, plays, songs and more in every corner of the globe — rejoiced. The steadfast Cuban people joyfully welcomed their heroes: the five men who sacrificed so much to protect them from terrorist attacks launched from U.S. territory during the 1990s.We can only imagine the joy of their families. A Miami court and the U.S. government had expected Gerardo to die in prison after he was sentenced to two life terms plus 15 years.Today, says the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, “Gerardo has now been reunited with Adriana, Ramón is back with Elizabeth and his three beautiful daughters, and Antonio is with his mother Mirta, the 84-year-old tireless inspiration of this struggle, who feared she would die before she saw her son back in Cuba.”Workers World Party and many dedicated organizers in the U.S. share this awesome and joyous moment of victory.Opening the prison doors for the Cuban heroes was only part of the top story today. In a broadcast speech, President Barack Obama outlined “charting a new course on Cuba,” and asserted, “Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas.” Washington has its eye on the April Summit of the Americas in Panama.Yet a bill imposing sanctions on Bolivarian Venezuela is sitting on Obama’s desk. Will he veto it, as part of this new course? The Obama administration recognized the coup government in Honduras that has driven thousands of children to flee violent repression. Will it stop engineering coups and dictatorships in Latin America? What about the U.S. role in destroying the Mexican economy and turning it into a killing field? And, especially, will the U.S. end its blockade of Cuba?For more than two years, the pressure for this moment has been building in the United States. Reflecting this pressure, seven New York Times editorials in recent months have advocated a change in U.S. policy toward Cuba. The Associated Press ran a series that exposed Alan Gross, the contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development — often used as a cover for CIA operations — who was convicted by a Cuban court of having secretly and illegally installed military-grade communications devices on the island in violation of Cuba’s sovereignty and laws.Cuba released Gross as soon as the Five were returned home, citing humanitarian reasons.The AP continued its investigation of failed U.S. regime-change antics, including the “Cuban” twitter site Zunzuneo — another USAID program — and the recent infiltration of Cuban hip hop artists in an attempt to use them as unknowing instruments to undermine Cuba’s self-determination.Polls have shown that sentiment in Miami now favors changing U.S. policy toward Cuba even more strongly than in the rest of the U.S. Since 1992, the U.N. General Assembly has voted almost unanimously every year for the U.S. to end the blockade.As Obama himself admitted in his speech, the U.S. for more than five decades has tried “to push Cuba toward collapse.” And, he testified, it didn’t work.Development despite imperialist hostilityDevelopment in the hemisphere has been moving forward despite the machinations of the U.S.Latin America and the Caribbean, including Cuba, have forged many interlocking levels of continental unity through the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. At the same time, the U.S. is still unable to recover from its 2007-2008 economic collapse, especially in regard to employment. Longshore union members report that the port of Tampa, Fla., is underutilized, while Cuba’s new automated container port in Mariel is ready to handle huge ships from Asia.As long as the blockade is fully in place, it is U.S. trade with Cuba that suffers, while trade between Cuba and other countries continues, just 90 miles away. How long will European banks continue to pay U.S.-imposed fines for handling Cuban financial transactions? The old system of sanctions imposed by Washington has become untenable.The people of the U.S. have also suffered from the blockade. They have been prevented from knowing the Cuban reality: that it is possible to do so much, even with scarce resources, when the power of the people is freed from capitalism.In the U.S. a new militant movement led by Black and Brown youth is challenging the racism and repression embedded in capitalism. Don’t they want to learn how first-rate education and health care can be made available without throwing youth and workers into debt? They really want to see how a different world is possible. And couldn’t Detroit benefit from what Cuba has to offer?The Cuban people, and particularly the Cuban Communist Party, are committed to socialism — making the goal of social production the needs and welfare of human beings, not profits for a few. They are well aware and capable of dealing with any challenges to come. Now there are five additional leaders, tested by long years of U.S. imprisonment, who can help chart this new future.Volvieron! They have returned!Cheryl LaBash has been an organizer with the International Committee to Free the Cuban 5 since 2006 and is a co-chair of the National Network on Cuba.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Pentagon chief calls VFA termination ‘unfortunate’

first_imgU.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper calledthis decision “unfortunate,” saying it would be a move in the wrong directionat a time when Washington and its allies were trying to press China to abide by“international rules of order” in Asia. The decision, sparked by the revocationof a U.S. visa held by a former police chief who led Duterte’s bloody war ondrugs, could complicate U.S. military interests in the Asia-Pacific region asChina’s ambitions rise. Given the importance of the alliancewith the Philippines in broader U.S. strategy, Washington hopes the decisionwill be reversed or delayed before it takes legal effect in 180 days. (Reuters) MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterteannounced on Tuesday the termination of a two-decade-old Visiting ForcesAgreement with the United States (VFA), delivering on threats to downgrade analliance important to U.S. interests. “The president will not entertain anyinitiative coming from the U.S. government to salvage the VFA, neither will heaccept any official invitation to visit the United States,” Panelo said. Panelo said Duterte’s decision was aconsequence of U.S. legislative and executive actions that “bordered onassaulting our sovereignty and disrespecting our judicial system”. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. AP It would also limit Philippine access toU.S. training and expertise in tackling Islamist extremism, natural disastersand maritime security threats. The mercurial Duterte, who has clashedwith the US over several issues, decided to pull the plug on the troop rotationpact with the former colonial ruler to enable the Philippines to be moreindependent in its relations with other countries, his spokesman SalvadorPanelo said.last_img read more

Special public meeting of the BCSC next week

first_imgBatesville, IN—Batesville Community School Corporations with be having a special meeting on Thursday, November 14 to host public comment regarding the ratification of the tentativeteacher collective bargaining agreement which is posted at batesvilleinschools.com and the ratification of the tentative collective bargaining agreement between the Batesville Education Association and Batesville Community School Corporation.last_img

Fair shakes off cold streak, helps Orange to win with clutch shooting

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ CORAL GABLES, Fla. — C.J. Fair almost seemed surprised when the two shots missed. Both times he clapped his hands in frustration and shook his head.That’s not what he’s accustomed to. Both shots were from the baseline, but both were off target. The first from the right, the second from the left.But Fair swished his third baseline jumper. When it glided through the net, he calmly trotted downcourt per usual.That was more like it.“That was a big shot to be took,” Trevor Cooney said. “After missing two, that shot didn’t faze him at all. He just stepped right into it and knocked that one down.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFair finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists, helping No. 2 Syracuse (19-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast) to a 64-52 win over Miami (10-9, 2-5) at the BankUnited Center on Saturday. He struggled for some of the game, but hit shots in crunch time.His baseline jumper returned to form at an opportune moment. Despite a hand in his face, Fair rose up and drilled the shot to give SU a 53-49 lead with 4:03 to go.Cooney expected nothing less.“The percentage on him probably for all four years is pretty high,” he said with a grin, referring to his teammate’s venerated baseline jump shot.Fair got off to a hot start, too. He nailed a 3 off a pretty pass from Tyler Ennis, tipped in a Michael Gbinije miss and converted a three-point play to extend SU’s lead to 26-8.Then he went ice cold, missing six consecutive field goals. As Fair struggled, so did Syracuse. Miami outscored SU 23-7 and clawed back into a game that seemed out of reach.But Fair helped solidify the end result alongside Ennis — his partner in crime — hitting the jumper and nailing two free throws.The bread and butter of the John R. Wooden Award candidate’s game was back on track.It was just a matter of time.Said SU forward Jerami Grant: “He makes it all the time in practice and his workouts.” Comments Published on January 25, 2014 at 10:55 pm Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHasslast_img read more