Cuba is hosting the Fifth International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases in an effort to end threats of war and ongoing military conflict around the world, Granma reported.
From May 4-6, some 300 anti-war activists and peace promoters will participate in workshops, panel discussions and debates concerning the arms and military race headed by the United States and its allies.
Activist David Vine points out in TomDispatch that, “While there are no freestanding foreign bases permanently located in the United States, there are now around 800 U.S. bases in foreign countries.”
Seventy years after World War II and 62 years after the Korean War, there are still 174 U.S. “base sites” in Germany, 113 in Japan and 83 in South Korea, according to the Pentagon.
Vine added that “hundreds more dot the planet in around 80 countries, including Aruba and Australia, Bahrain and Bulgaria, Colombia, Kenya, and Qatar, among many other places. Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”
The Fifth International Seminar for Peace and the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases is scheduled to take place in Guantanamo, home to the largest and oldest naval base operated by the United States government, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. The infamous military behemoth occupies over 117 square kilometers of Cuban territory, hence, a fundamental theme of the seminar will revolve around its devolution to the Cuban people.
Silvio Platero, president of the Cuban Peace Movement, stated that the fundamental objective of the event is to exchange experiences and ideas on issues of global concern, given the increase in military bases worldwide, especially in areas where water sources and mining zones are located. Nuclear disarmament, the negative effects of military bases and the condemnation of interventionist policies by global powers will also be debated.
The proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace will be a mainstay of the seminar. Platero added that this commitment, approved by heads of state during the Second Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Havana in 2014, will be reaffirmed by seminar attendees.
Here’s Your Guide to Understanding Protest Deaths in Venezuela
- Demonstrators scuffle with security forces during an opposition rally in Caracas, Venezuela, amid ongoing anti-government protests. | Photo: Reuters
Published 4 May 2017 (18 hours 44 minutes ago)
At least three dozen people have died since opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the government began.
Headlines about ongoing violence in Venezuela are practically inescapable, with over three dozen people dead since opposition-led protests aimed at toppling the government began in early April.
Right-wing opposition leaders have attempted to portray the deaths as examples of state repression and evidence of the “dictatorship” that they are aiming to topple. Mainstream media have by and large echoed this version of events, using titles like “Venezuelan Regime Has Blood On Its Hands” and “Venezuela’s Tiananmen Moment.”
Some outlets have even gone as far as claiming the elected government of Nicolas Maduro as engaging in “a campaign of state genocide.”
The reality of the situation on the ground, however, demonstrates something very different.
Of those killed thus far, three are attributed to state security forces, while two of the dead are members of police themselves. The total number of dead is significantly bolstered by the eight who were electrocuted as they attempted to loot a bakery, while five of those killed were expressly connected to opposition protests. On the other hand, 12 of the deceased are attributed to right-wing violence.
In addition to the more than three dozen killed, over 437 people have been injured in the protests, Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega said.
Here’s a breakdown of those killed since the opposition protests began.
- Jairo Ortiz: the 19-year-old student, was shot by transit police Officer Rohenluis Leonel Mata in the state of Miranda. Venezuelan police immediately detained Mata, who is set to face criminal charges.
- Daniel Queliz: the 19-year-old college student from Carabobo was shot by police while participating in an opposition protest.
- Ricarda de Lourdes: the 83-year-old woman died at her home in Caracas on April 10 from hydrocephalus. When her symptoms began flaring earlier that day, she was unable to be transported to a nearby hospital because opposition protesters blocked all of the neighborhood’s roads, preventing ambulances from picking her up.
- Yey Amaro: 37-year-old police officer in the state of Lara, was hit by a vehicle driven by opposition protesters on April 11 after trying to mediate protests in his home state.
- Miguel Colmenares: the 36-year-old opposition supporter from Lara died from multiple wounds received after the detonation of explosive devices in Barquisimeto, Lara state.
- Gruseny Canelon: the 32-year-old opposition supporter from Lara died of organ failure after being shot during an anti-government demonstration. Fifteen members of the National Guard have been placed under arrest in the incident.
- Oliver Villa: the 29-year-old digital marketing entrepreneur was shot by unidentified assailants on motorbikes in Caracas after evading an opposition barricade in the El Paraiso sector of Caracas.
- Brayan Principal: the 14-year-old resident of the Ali Primera Socialist City was shot by opposition protesters after they toppled the main gate of the commune.
- Carlos Moreno: the 17-year-old student was shot in the head while in Caracas. Family members say he was not involved in the protest, and it is suspected his murder was perpetrated by armed robbers who stole his motorcycle.
- Niumar Sanclemente: the 28-year-old sergeant with the National Guard was apparently killed by sniper fire in Los Teques, the capital of the state of Merida.
- Paola Ramirez: the 23-year-old college student from Tachira was shot while in the vicinity of a demonstration. A member of the right-wing Vente Venezuela opposition group is under arrest for the murder.
- Kevin Leon: the 19-year-old bakery worker in the El Valle district of Caracas, was shot by opposition protesters who were vandalizing his workplace.
- Ramon Martinez: the 28-year-old cook who worked in the same bakery as Kevin Leon in the El Valle district of Caracas was shot by opposition protesters as he tried to protect the store.
- Francisco Gonzalez: the 34-year-old died during the vandalization of the El Valle bakery.
- Elio Manuel Pacheco Perez: the 20-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Jairo Ramírez: the 47-years-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Robert Joel Centeno Briceño: the 29-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- William Heriberto Marrero Rebolledo: the 33-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Jonathan Meneses: the 27-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Stivenson Zamora: the 21-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Kenyer Alexander Aranguren Pérez: the 20-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Yorgeiber Rafael Barrena Bolívar: the 15-year-old was electrocuted while attempting to loot a bakery in El Valle, Caracas.
- Mervin Guitan: the 26-year-old who worked for a mayor’s office in Sucre was shot by unidentified gunmen during a protest.
- Alberto Rodriguez: the 16-year-old died from suffocation from tear gas used in El Valle, Caracas.
- Almelina Carrillo: the 47-year-old was struck in the head with a frozen water bottle thrown from a building while walking near a pro-government march in Caracas on April 19 and died a few days later.
- Jesus Sulbaran: the 41-year-old criminology student and an official in the governor’s office in Merida was killed while participating in a pro-government demonstration, according to Venezuela’s ombudsman.
- Renzo Rodriguez: the 54-year-old was killed in the state of Barinas from a gunshot wound to his chest when he was in the vicinity of the mayor’s office of the municipality of Barinas.
- Orlando Jhosep: the 23-year-old died of a gunshot wound during a protest in the city of El Tocuyo, Lara state.
- Daniel Infante: the 25-year-old transportation worker was killed while participating in a pro-government demonstration, according to Venezuela’s ombudsman.
- Luis Marquez: the 52-year-old was shot and killed in the capital of the state of Merida while taking part in a pro-government demonstration.
- Efrain Sierra: the 27-year-old lost his life after receiving a bullet in the stomach on April 24 as he resisted the theft of his motorcycle while passing through an opposition barricade.
Disturbingly, there are also other people whose murders during these dates raise concerns about targeted assassinations and possible paramilitary activity.
- Juan Pablo Pernalete Llovera: the 20-year-old was killed Wednesday in Chacao after being hit by a gas cannister.
- Angel Enrique Moreira Gonzalez: the 28-year-old died after trying to dodge a barricade placed by an opposition march blocking a highway in the state of Miranda, as his motorcycle crashed into another car.
- Ana Rodriguez: the 42-year-old died in the state of Carabobo when the bus she was traveling in crashed trying to dodge a street barricade. Police have yet to confirm the identity of another person that would have been killed in the same accident.
On this same date, the opposition had called for communities across Venezuela to block all access to their towns by building barricades.
- Yonathan Quintero: the 21-year-old was killed by a store owner when a group of people tried to loot his store in the state of Carabobo.
- Armando Cañizales: the 18-year-old died due to a gunshot wound on his neck during an opposition march blocking one of the main highways in Caracas.
- Gerardo Barrera: the 38-year-old police officer was shot during an opposition demonstration in the town of La Pradera, in the state of Carabobo, around 100 miles west of Caracas.
The next two cases were not directly related to the marches, but the political nature of their work has raised concern that their deaths could be part of a broader trend.
Esmin Ramirez: the Venezuelan trade unionist was killed in the southeastern state of Bolivar after being kidnapped in an act that people close to him claim was politically motivated. Ramirez, who was a member of the Movement 21 labor syndicate in the state-run iron ore producer Ferrominera and part of the PSUV political party in Cachamay, was killed in El Rinconcito sector in Guayana City, a city along the bank of the Orinoco River in Bolivar state.
Jackeline Ortega: murdered in the greater Caracas area in Santa Lucia del Tuy. Ortega was also a member of the PSUV as well as a leader in the Local Committee on Supply and Production, known as CLAP, a government-created alternative food distribution program.
Ministry of the Popular Power for Interior, Justice and Peace-El Tiempo-EFE
by teleSUR / RSF-DB-mk-PV-cm-RT-cg-HG
US to Require Visa Applicants to List Social Media History or Jeopardize Entry to Country
In line with the so-called “extreme vetting” urged by U.S. President Donald Trump, the Department of State is proposing tougher scrutiny of visa applicants’ private affairs, including questioning applicants about their social media accounts.
The stepped-up measures, which the department claims will be adopted “in order to more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities,” will kick into effect beginning on May 18, but will be subject to public comment by the Office of Management of Budget.
The measure, which would apply to an estimated 65,000 people per year, would require applicants to provide five years’ worth of all social media accounts and handles, email addresses and phone numbers, along with about 15 years of biographical information about work and travel history. Failure to provide these details would likely endanger applicants’ ability to enter the United States.
The stringent criteria will apply to those “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities,” the State Department said in a notice to the Federal Register.
Visa applicants had previously only been asked to provide details of the last five years, rather than fifteen, of their travel and work history.
Immigration officials had previously screened the social media accounts of selected visitors at border checkpoints, but visa applicants had been exempt from such examinations.
Passwords for email and social media accounts, however, will not be required, according to the State Department document. This exemption from the new vetting regime allows the department to skirt the criticisms of privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation and Committee to Protect Journalists, organizations which have criticized Department of Homeland Security measures that forced visitors to provide passwords to social accounts, as well as mobile phone contacts.
The DHS, which was also tasked with reviewing vetting procedures for visa applicants, said the State Department request does not preclude DHS from identifying new “ways to protect the American people.”
“Some improvement will be classified, others will be public, but the Department has only just begun ways to enhance the security of our immigration system,” DHS spokesman David Lapan said.
The Trump administration has loudly warned of the supposed “dangers” posed by immigrants and foreign visitors, but many critics see the ostensible “national security” concerns as veiled racist scaremongering and xenophobic scapegoating.