Saturday, April 02, 2011

Jimmy Carter calls for end to Blockade of Cuba

Jimmy Carter seems to be the last president who genuinely believed in peace and reconciliation. His continuing work demonstrates more of the same:
MIAMI - Former President Jimmy Carter, during a three-day visit to Cuba this week, called for a release of the Cuban Five and an end to the long-standing U.S. blockade against the island nation.

"I believe that the detention of the Cuban Five makes no sense," Carter said in a March 30 press conference in Havana, as reported by Granma, the newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party. "There have been doubts expressed in U.S. courts and by human rights organizations around the world. They have now been in prison 12 years and I hope that in the near future they will be freed to return to their homes."


During Carter's presidency, he removed travel restrictions on Americans going to Cuba. As for now, Carter stated his conviction that "we should immediately lift the trade embargo the United States has imposed against the people of Cuba," because "it impedes rather than assists in seeing further reforms made."

Margolis, Dan. Carter calls for Cuban 5 release, end to blockade. People's World.

Venezuelan Workers March for Workplace Democracy

It is fascinating to see self-organized workers in Venezuela openly and peacefully making radical demands. This is a country where a little over a decade ago the working class and poor had no rights and were at the mercy of the police and military. Where as recently as 2002 (during the US backed coup attempt), reactionary police elements fired with impunity into crowds of demonstrators with automatic weapons and sniper rifles. Nevertheless, the working class is conscious of its rights and role in creating and defending a better future for itself.

In the United States the working class is beginning to awaken and fighting against take-backs, notably public sector workers in Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri and elsewhere. However, the great majority still sleeps, especially in the private sector, and is in constant fear of retribution through job elimination whether by downsizing or outsourcing. Coupled with a culture of consumption and crushing debt, they feel trapped and as if they have no choice but to go along with the system.

The elites in America continually reduce the relative wages that trickle-down to the working class while at the same time extending more and more consumer debt. The people are placated with more access to credit, perceiving it as a substitution for wage increases. Through this process the majority of the population becomes entwined in a class wide form of debt-bondage, passed down from generation to generation.

There is a better way and, at this juncture in history, it is the working people of Venezuela are showing it to us. Can we open our eyes long enough to understand?
Thousands of Venezuelan workers took to the streets of Caracas on Thursday to demand immediate improvements in workplace democracy and to insist on the final passage of a radical new labor law that has been held up in the National Assembly since 2003. According to organizers from Venezuela’s National Workers’ Union (UNETE), the march was intended to reiterate the national union’s “critical support” for the government of Hugo Chávez and to push for greater consolidation of Chávez’s proposed “21st century socialism” on job sites nationwide.

“We want to deepen real worker control, advance in the efficiency and efficacy of the [publicly-owned] companies, and we want and end to impunity. All of these demands are an obvious part of the revolutionary project,” said UNETE National Coordinator Marcela Máspero.


“The working class is who has been called upon to construct socialism,” said Rosa Grimau, spokesperson for the Promotion Committee of the Socialist Workers’ Council within the National Assembly. “That’s why we ourselves must consolidate a force that makes proposals in line with elevating the quality of working conditions throughout the country,” she said.

Socialist Workers’ Councils are one of over 10,000 proposals that have been made in ongoing discussions for a new Organic Labor Law, under discussion since 2002.


Mérida, March 31st 2011 (
Video of the march with interviews: