Cuba Celebrates 56 Years Since Declaration of Socialism

  • The Cuban people raise their rifles in defense of Fidel Castro

    The Cuban people raise their rifles in defense of Fidel Castro’s proclamation of a socialist revolution. | Photo: Archive Photo

Published 16 April 2017
At a funeral for those killed in U.S. airstrikes, Fidel Castro proclaimed the socialist nature of the Cuban Revolution.

Representatives of Cuban youth organizations and veterans celebrated Sunday the 56th anniversary of the proclamation of a Socialist Revolution on April 16, 1961.

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The commemorative event took place at Cinema 23 and 12, a few feet away from the site where Fidel Castro made the historic declaration in 1961, during a funeral for the victims of U.S. airstrikes one day earlier on airports in Ciudad Libertad, San Antonio de los Baños, and Santiago de Cuba.

In the eulogy to the victims, the people raised their rifles and sworn to defend what Fidel proclaimed as a “Socialist Revolution of the humble and for the humble,” aware of their historic role of not only defending Cuba but socialism in the Americas.

That air attack on April 15 was followed two days later by the Bay of Pigs invasion, a military action prepared during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and executed under the command of President John F. Kennedy with troops from the right-wing Cuban opposition.

During the ceremony, Yuniasky Crespo, from the Executive Bureau of the Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba in Havana, confirmed that the proclamation of socialism was one of the most transcendental moments in the country’s contemporary history.

He recalled Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, who “knew how to combine Antonio Maceo’s machete with Jose Marti’s ideas in order to lead the struggles for Cuba’s sovereignty, an example of resistance against imperialist hegemony.”

The veterans who fought against the Bay of Pigs invasion were awarded a medal for the 60th anniversary of the Revolutionary Armed Forces during the commemoration.


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  • Custom and Border Patrol employee.

    Custom and Border Patrol employee. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 April 2017 (4 hours 34 minutes ago)


The CBP currently has 19,000 agents — and astronomical number — but still 2,000 less than the target the Barack Obama administration set.

Custom and Border Patrol officials have expressed concern over the planned expansion of ICE as it is having a hard time keeping its agents on the job, let alone recruiting new ones.

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As part of the new immigration enforcement orders issued by the Department of Homeland Security in late February, the CBP is required to recruit at least 5,000 new agents. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, therefore, might not get the help from its sister agency.

The shortage of the border security agents was discussed at a border security trade fair in San Antonio, Texas, Thursday. The CBP currently has 19,000 agents — an astronomical number — but still 2,000 less than the target the Barack Obama administration set. According to AP, this is the first time the number has dipped below 20,000 since 2009.

Officials attributed the dip in numbers to stringent screening methods, said the Guardian. Many qualified candidates get rejected during lie-detector tests. In January, nearly two-thirds of CBP applicants failed the polygraph, the AP reported. And nearly 1,000 agents quit each year as they refuse to continue living in remote, rugged areas.

The severe shortage has put the CBP on the defensive. Randolph “Tex” Alles, acting deputy commissioner of CBP, told the Guardian, “Some people just don’t want to live there. Hiring challenges are not new. Attracting and recruiting high-quality individuals is a challenge for us.”

But unlike the CBP, ICE agents are offered more overtime opportunities and live in the cities that are not desert outposts. ICE agents also don’t undergo a lie-detector test. CBP chief Ronald Vitiello told the Guardian the Border Patrol has accelerated application processing and revamped academy training.

“If you know people who are enthusiastic about border security please send them to CBP,” Vitiello said. “We’re already behind. We’re not hiring fast enough to keep up with the attrition.”

Air and Marine Operations, a separate agency, is also struggling to find pilots and other employees, reported the Guardian.


France Leftist Candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon Praises ALBA

  • Melenchon founded the Left Party in 2008 after 35 years in the ruling Socialist Party.

    Melenchon founded the Left Party in 2008 after 35 years in the ruling Socialist Party.

Published 16 April 2017 (7 hours 17 minutes ago)
ALBA was born in December 2014 as an alternative to neoliberal free trade agreements in Latina America.

French Guiana and the French West Indies will join ALBA, founded by Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro if French presidential candidate and communist-backed leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon is elected next month, he promised.

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The candidate, who also wishes to leave NATO and renegotiate European treaties, was asked to clarify this point Friday, as it has largely been overlooked in the media so far and created controversy after Melenchon’s advisers seemed unaware of it in a TV interview Tuesday.

“ALBA is an organization for cooperation, I support the fact that the French overseas territories, especially in the Caribbean, would be included in the regional economy,” he told TF1 TV channel.

Joining ALBA has been mentioned for a long time in a printed version of his program, where the leader of the Unbowed France, a political movement founded with the perspective of the 2017 elections, argued that the move was meant to “build cooperation for an environmental-friendly, social and human development.”

Although Melenchon did not address the colonial status of these countries, including the ongoing protests in French Guiana against years of inequalities, he has been under attack for even mentioning the idea of joining the regional organization.

He explained further that the French Antilles and French Guiana would join ALBA for instance, while Mayotte and the Reunion Island would cooperate with Southern Africa.

But in order to be “intellectually coherent,” added Melenchon, the territories would not join Mercosur because Mercosur competes with the European Union and therefore with France on the global trade scene, he added.

He also denounced the recent campaign against this point of his program, falsely described as an attempt to remove France from the European Union and join a military and diplomatic organization along with Venezuela, Iran and Russia.

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However, Iran is only at present an observer state — along with Haiti and Syria — as well as Russia, which was temporarily invited to the 2009 summit.

The Bolivarian Alliance for Our Americas was born in December 2014 as an alternative to neoliberal free trade agreements. According to its founding document, “the cardinal principle that should guide the ALBA is the widest solidarity between the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean … without selfish nationalism, nor restrictive national policies that deny the objective of building the greater Homeland in Latin America.”

As such, trade between members is done at preferential, non-market rates and payment can be made through goods as well as currency over a period of time at lower-than-market interest rates. It also developed health and literacy programs, support for environmental disasters, among others.

The latest polls give Melenchon the win if he were to face far-right Marine Le Pen in the second round.

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