January 1, 2009 marks the 50 year anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. In viewing many of the articles written regarding the United States and their view of Cuba and its president Fidel Castro, they miss the mark, often focusing on the fact that Cuba practices Communism. While his strident opposition to capitalism in a capitalistic world is definitely a reason, another reason is that Fidel Castro has backed many revolutionary movements with resources.
He is hated by the government of the United States of America and this is simply accepted as fact, however, many lack a fundamental understanding of the history of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. As a law student at the University of Havana, he was a key leader of the student-led radical nationalism that swept Cuba during the mid-40s. Fighting against corruption and injustice, he had been detained, questioned on numerous occasions and ultimately was imprisoned for his revolutionary activity.
At that time under the leadership of General Fulgencio Batista, Cuba was a place where gambling, corruption and prostitution were the order of the day and many powerful Mafia chieftains had considerable financial investments there. So, many wanted to move the country away from being a playground for the rich and the Mafia.
In 1952, Castro prepared to run for political office as a part of an anti-corruption coalition of political forces. Support for the rebel political movement was strong, but Batista—who had actually been out of political office for several years and living in Florida—returned and staged a bloodless coup using his influence. The Batista-led regime insured that corruption and vice remained unabated as the masses of the people continued to suffer under oppression and mired in a collective quagmire of poverty. The Batista regime shut down universities and outlawed any dissident political parties thinking this crackdown would squash the idealism of those who had been energized by the hope that their people could benefit from revolutionary action.
Castro continued to organize an opposition guerilla army. During a two-year battle, Batista ordered the killings of many thought to be rebel sympathizers in a brutal attempt to squash the revolution. Many were tortured and imprisoned and it is estimated that over 20,000 were killed.
There was an unintended and unanticipated backlash leading to the sharp growth of popular support swaying in favor of Castro’s revolutionary movement. After 25 months of fighting, General Batista and his henchmen fled on New Year’s Eve. In the first week of January 1959, Fidel Castro entered Havana, Cuba as the triumphant revolutionary leader of the people.
During Fidel Castro’s first goodwill tour and visit to the United States, specifically New York in 1960 as leader of Cuba, Castro stayed at the legendary Theresa Hotel in Harlem and used it as his temporary base of operations from which he conducted meetings with national and international leaders such as Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Malcolm X and Nikita Khrushchev of what was then called the Soviet Union.
Fidel Castro returned to Cuba continuing his plan to lead his people to independence by setting up businesses that would be owned and operated by the Cuban people. He kicked out the American corporations and initiated a program of educational reform insuring that all Cuban people, young and old, urban or rural would be able to read.
In March 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower enlisted members of the exiled Cuban community living in the United States, initiating a secret training program for those who would be willing pawns and tools of the United States government to attempt to overthrow Castro. It was discovered that many exiled Cubans enlisted as pilots using American airplanes to bomb their own people in Cuba, killing many civilians and destroying many of Cuba’s natural resources. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States of America continued to hatch plans to assassinate Castro and his key aides and leaders in order to destabilize the Cuban government, leading to the most notable military attack directed at Cuba by the United States, the historic Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961. The attack was repelled in 72 hours. Opposition groups financed by the United States were defeated and the United States was humiliated.
Fidel Castro continued to steadfastly back revolutionary movements across the globe. In support of the Vietnamese rebel movement led by Ho Chi Minh in 1971, Castro’s government sent medical supplies and food to the Vietnamese rebels and also trained teachers, doctors and farmers. In support of the Chilean revolution of Salvador Allende in 1973, Fidel Castro declared solidarity. The United States saw this as a threat and, through the CIA, backed a coup led by Augusto Pinochet that ultimately led to Pres. Allende’s death and the installation of a puppet government responsive to the needs and desires of the United States of America.
Cuba backed the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan Revolution in 1979 giving aid and assistance to the military, as well as health care and industry. Fidel Castro was a good friend and supporter of Grenada's Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Ideological factionalism led to disunity and provided an opening for the United States to mount a successful invasion and regime change in Grenada in 1983, in what was called Operation Urgent Fury.
Many Cubans consider Africa as a mother country and are not ashamed of their African roots. Fidel’s revolutionary ideas spread to many rebel leaders and political movements in Africa and abroad such as Sekou Toure of the Republic of Guinea; Amilcar Cabral, leader of the rebel movement against the Portuguese imperial forces; and Julius Nyerere, the first president of the United Republic of Tanzania.
Many were shocked and surprised during Nelson Mandela’s triumphant trip to the United States after being freed after 27 years of unjust imprisonment when he refused to disassociate himself from Fidel Castro, due in large part to Castro’s military support for Angola’s push for independence from Portugal, which began in 1975.
The United States, again through the CIA, along with the apartheid government of South Africa, tried to maintain colonial control. Castro sent 36,000 troops to assist along with doctors, teachers and engineers, playing a key role in the Angolan revolution. He actually directed military operations from Cuba during the conflict. After military battles lasting over a decade, the South African Army was defeated in Angola—which was considered to have hastened the demise of the apartheid government of South Africa.
Fidel Castro is a symbol of post-colonial revolutionary success. Through the fall of the Soviet Union, which led to the loss of much of the Cuba’s financial backing, the people stand with Castro and now are beginning to receive financial support and business investment from other nations. Castro is loved by the people and leaders throughout Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. When the final testament of his life is written, Fidel Castro will be considered a freedom fighter advancing revolutionary movements across the globe.
A nearly full cabinet of highly-qualified individuals, almost 70% of Americans have been pleased with the way he has handled himself and the choices he has made and even Religious Right stalwart Pat Robertson has praised him for his cabinet picks. (For whatever that's worth!)
As I watched AC360 on CNN and some of the news coverage of President-elect Barack H. Obama's vacation in Hawaii, I was really glad that he actually took some time off to spend with his family. Their life has already changed immeasurably, and after January 20, 2009, it will definitely never be the same for Mr. Obama, his wife Michelle and his two daughters.
There are so many high expectations, so many promises to be kept, so many problems to be solved. He is inheriting a terrible mess caused by 8 years of GWB (Guns, War and Bloodshed) and his administration.
It will be interesting to watch. It already has been, and he hasn't even taken the Oath of Office!
This clip is a little over six minutes long and it was excerpted from an interview with American Urban Network's April Ryan.
Go to http://aprildryan.com/ for portions of the interview.
Take Another Look: Why not RICO for the Corporate Tycoons? No Bailout for the "Big Three" Automakers.
A reliable source has told me that in a press conference tomorrow, President Elect Barack H. Obama is set to bring his 3rd vanquished political opponent into the fold when he announces New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his nominee for Commerce Secretary. Richardson has formerly served as ambassador to the United Nations and as the Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton.
So far, Joe Biden picked as his Vice-President, Hillary Clinton picked as his Secretary of State, Bill Richardson picked as Commerce Secretary.
President Elect Barack H. Obama speaks at press conference on Dec. 1 announcing members of his national security team.
Minister Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah A. Wright and Pres. Elect Barack H. Obama will forever be linked.
Minister Farrakhan has been demonized by the controlled media for nearly three decades, and Jeremiah Wright got a serious dose of the media's manipulation during this presidential campaign.
“One of many things that the media got angry about back in April is that I would not let them tell me who my friends were, and because the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is a friend of mine,” said Rev. Wright adding that during the controversy, the Fruit of Islam provided security for him others Nation of Islam members, specifically Jamil Muhammad and Akbar Muhammad stood in support of him.
During the forum, Ambassador Dudley Thompson defined the term Diaspora as people of African descent who are not living in Africa and said that all Black people—especially in America—should refocus their thinking on their origins. “Think of yourself as a non-residential African who happens to be livings somewhere else,” said the 92-year old pan-African scholar pointing out that Africa's financial situation keeps it powerless and still victimized by neo-colonialism. “If you are broke, you cannot be free whether you are a man or a country and that even applies to large (African) countries under the control of multi-national corporations,” he added.
If you have ever been to a town hall meeting involving Black people, you know that it can turn into an emotional gripe session and once leaving, nothing new has come about. This forum had the potential to devolve into that until Amb. Thompson hit the crowd hard and said "We need to stop agonizing and start organizing."
Why couldn't some of the wealthy Black businessmen and women across the country unite and rebuild affordable housing for those displaced by Katrina?
Any questions or comments, let me know.
Below is a statement from President-elect Barack Obama announcing his resignation from Senate:
Obama's Senate Office remains open for a period of time, not to exceed 60 days after his resignation. According to his presidential transition office, many loose administrative ends and some archiving will take place during that time.
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“Congratulations are absolutely in order for President-elect Barack Obama,” said Min. Farrakhan as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause during his opening remarks on Nov.9 at Mosque Maryam, the international headquarters of the Nation of Islam.
Addressing a national and international media contingent and thousands viewing live via webcast, Min. Farrakhan answered many questions and ended a great deal of speculation surrounding his views on President-elect Barack Obama’s political ascendancy and the future of America.
“What happened (on Nov. 4) has energized the entire world of man and mankind in a way that has never been seen before in the history of political elections in the United States of America or anywhere else in those nations that are committed to the principles of democracy.”
Min. Farrakhan forbade all of his ministers from commenting on the presidential election after several statements during his February 2008 Saviours’ Day keynote address titled “The Gods at War” were deliberately taken out of context by some media outlets and other right wing political operatives in an attempt to cause mischief in hopes of sabotaging Mr. Obama’s presidential aspirations.
Dressed in dazzling bejeweled crimson and gold robes, Min. Farrakhan said he felt and saw the “oneness of spirit” that he has neither seen nor felt since the Million Man March in 1995 while watching the 250,000 people at Grant Park in Chicago celebrating this momentous occasion in the history of America on Election Day.
In 1996, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole (U.S. Army 1942-1948 receiving Two Bronze Stars, and Two Purple Hearts) lost to Democrat Bill Clinton.
In 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore (U.S. Army 1969-1971 during the Vietnam War) was defeated by Republican George W. Bush.
In 2004, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (U.S. Navy 1968-1972 during the Vietnam War receiving a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and Three Purple Hearts) was defeated by Republican George W. Bush.
In 2008, Republican presidential candidate John McCain (U.S. Navy - Aviation Division 1958-1981) was defeated by Democrat Barack H. Obama.
The 44th President of the United States of America*
Now, with an overwhelming landslide victory in the Electoral College, a healthy majority of the popular vote, a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, he should have the opportunity to make his vision a reality.
Here is a link to the article I filed after Obama's July 15th speech and press conference: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_3789.shtml
Sadly, officials from the Chicago Police Department and Cook County Medical Examiner's office have confirmed that a young boy's body was found in the back seat of the Suburban.
It may be the body of 7-year old Julian King who was discovered missing shortly after the bodies of Hudson's mother and brother were found at the family's home in Chicago. The family is reportedly on the way right now to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office to positively identify the body.
A vigil is planned for today at the Pleasant Gift Baptist Church in the 4500 block of South Greenwood Avenue.
Details in this tragic case are forthcoming.
Use the following link to access the on-demand webcast:
Though confined to correctional facilities, the prisoners remained dignified under the ever present watchful eyes of the prison guards who also listened closely to the words delivered by Min. Farrakhan.
“All of you who are listening to my voice are better than what you have shown yourselves to be,” Min. Farrakhan said to the Black and Latino prisoners who gathered to hear his words. “The enemy wants us to think we are enemies of one another when we are in fact natural brothers of each other,” he added.
Min. Farrakhan pointed out to the inmates that their lack of unity has resulted in warfare and killing between Blacks and Latinos who are part of street organizations. He said the lack of opportunities and training along with improper choices have also contributed to increased levels of incarceration.
This time in Paris, Texas.
Read about it at his blog located here:
That being the case, it is important to note that many analysts still continued to sell the false reality of America’s corporate strength while President Bush and the corporate swindlers continued to play along with the financial analysts.
Well connected CEOs walked away with millions.
This current financial crisis did not appear out of the blue, even though that is what they would like for you to think.
(To read the March 2008 article referenced above, go here: http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/article_4562.shtml)
Carefully watch the news and how this crisis is reported over the next few weeks as we draw nearer to the presidential election. The Right wing conservatives will try to spin this current reality by saying the risky loans were made in order to help Blacks and Latinos obtain home ownership. You see, everyone has it all wrong by attributing ill motives and greed to those who ran those companies and lending institutions into the ground. These companies weren’t targeting Blacks and Latinos for sub prime loans and other forms of predatory lending. They weren’t doing it because it was financially lucrative. No. No. No. You see they were trying to help Blacks and Latinos obtain “The American Dream.”
See how skillfully deceptive that is? And as they begin to frame the debate, it just may prove to be an effective strategy in a land where most people believe what is presented on face value without looking deeper into the reality.
After thinking about that for a minute, check out the brief video clip below (37 seconds) from a press conference including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ald. Pat Dowell, Rep. Danny Davis and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Ask yourself, while the huge financial corporations are being bailed out, what is happening to "the least of these" the poor and those who were victimized by the rulers of the economic realm? Things are going to get worse before they get better.
Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD is an author, professor and human rights activist. He was recently in Chicago as a member of coordinating committee of the Palestine Popular Conference. He sat down with the Final Call’s Assistant Editor Ashahed M. Muhammad to discuss the complexities of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the very successful Wheels of Justice Tour which sheds light on the realities on the ground in the occupied territories and passes through the midwest during the last two weeks in September.
The Final Call (FC): Can you tell us a little bit about the Wheels of Justice Tour?
Mazin Qumsiyeh (MQ): The Wheels of Justice bus tour has been going on for about 5 years. It has traveled around the country to over 48 states and over 2,000 colleges and universities and over 250. It’s not too political unless questions arise in the Q and A session. These are people who are telling stories of what they observe in Iraq and Palestine. That is why I think it has been a very successful project.
FC: At the same time, there is a companion movement going on dealing with the boycott of Israeli produced goods and companies that do business in Israel, can you talk about that also?
MQ: Well, the Palestinian Civil Society called to action about three years ago and was initially signed by 107 organizations. It has since expanded to include over 5,000 organizations that support the call to action. It basically calls for boycotts, divestments and sanctions to be applied to Israel in the same way they were applied to South Africa during apartheid until Israel complies with International Law. That includes the right of refugees to return, ending the occupation and allowing Palestinian self-determination. Those Palestinian constants are what guides the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement around the world, which is growing very rapidly. It is a wonderful movement. We try to practice it as individuals by boycotting companies that support the occupation, for example, Motorola or Caterpillar that support the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.
FC: Now this conference focuses on the many sides of the discussion of the two state solution, the one state solution and the complexities and varied views. Talk to us a little bit about the purpose for the conference.
MQ: This particular conference is to empower Palestinians in the U.S., to assert our narrative and assert our rights with part of the Palestinian collective. There are some 300,000 Palestinians in the U.S. We believe that we are part of and parcel of this Palestinian nation, the Palestinian population. As such we have a right to participate in the decision making process. That is the focus of this conference and that includes the diversity of views. It’s just like there are diversity of views in Palestine itself. But we assert that we have the right to express this diversity of views. One panel addresses the one state solution. I myself wrote a book in support of the one state solution but I do not oppose people who support the two state solution as long as it complies with International Law and human rights. Meaning, the right to refugee should be respected (whether) you support the two state solution or you support the one state solution, Palestinians refugees have the right to return to their homes and lands.
FC: You mentioned that you were going back to live in Palestine, many are calling it a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza strip and the West Bank—terrible conditions. Your decision to go back there is based on what?
MQ: The conditions are very difficult, I would not say they are terrible. They are very difficult (but) they are not the most difficult. We have had more difficult times during 1948 and the massacre and killings in Palestine and the massacres that were being committed just about every week to drive the Palestinians out. There have been more difficult times in our history, but nevertheless this situation being difficult is actually more of an inducement for us to exert even more effort to correct it and acquire the justice and human rights that we all see.
FC: Is there is one thing that you think the Western world here, people who want to help who find solidarity with the struggle for self-determination for the Palestinian people, what would you like to get across to them that they may not know?
MQ: For people in the United States, especially, they need to know that without really facing up to the reality of what is going on in Palestine, the U.S. as an economic super power will be finished. It is already being diminished significantly. The AIPAC and Israel lobby in Washington has pushed us into a war in Iraq which cost us three trillion dollars. This is by the estimate of the Harvard economist who won the Nobel Peace economy prize.
FC: Thank you.
Minister Farrakhan will discuss Islam in America and the life of Imam W.Deen Mohammed on the "Africa & the World" radio show hosted by Akbar Muhammad
Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, deputy director of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) and Min. Farrakhan were among those who reflected on Imam W. Deen Mohammed's life and work at the memorial service on Saturday Sept.13 in Chicago, IL.
Live Streaming Footage of today's Janaaza Prayer for Imam W. Deen Mohammed will begin at 1:45 PM Central at http://muslimjournal.webexone.com/
According to PRESS TV officials, their Tehran-based headquarters is staffed by 400 media professionals from around the globe with an extensive network of bureaus and with 26 reporters employed at different locations worldwide, including Washington, New York, London, Beirut and Damascus, Abuja, Istanbul, Basra, and al-Quds.
The goal of PRESS TV is to “break the global media stranglehold of western outlets” and “show the other side of the story” by offering broad news coverage dealing with matters affecting the Middle East as well as other controversial news items with cutting-edge documentaries containing insightful commentary on political, social and economic aspects of current affairs.
PRESS TV has already proven to be a heavy counterweight to Western-dominated media outlets as the station has aired exclusive interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; featured coverage relating to the African Union Summit in Accra, Ghana, which included comments from Sudan President Omar al-Bashir; as well as broadcast words from Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who offered to expand his country’s ties with African countries.
There are options for watching the channel live via the Internet, having news sent to a mobile device via text messaging, listening to an audio feed, and news delivery via email.
Visit the PRESS TV website at http://www.presstv.com/.