portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary global

human & civil rights | imperialism & war

The victorious trip

In the light of these news reports, which are increasing by the hour, was Cheney's a victorious trip or not?
The victorious trip

THE cable agencies were quick to get the news out, news which, though not exactly laughable, is indeed ironic. Everyone said their share. There was competition, that is to say, they competed with one another. Videos of Dick Cheney, the war's intellectual author, and his disciple McCain, also reached us. They appear, with a disciplined air about them, among numerous people, in a kind of classroom fitted with simple chairs, where all manner of military chiefs trained in the art of killing are gathered. I will use a straightforward language and quote the opinions of students, teachers, reporters and institutions to reflect the ugly truth of the situation.
The following quotations were taken from Cheney's speech, televised by the omnipresent CNN:
"We've made progress not only on the security front, but that they've made progress in governing, as well."
"When you come here, after you've been here a few times over the years, and watched these events unfold, and focus on the fact this is the - this week marks the fifth anniversary since we launched into Iraq in March of '03, all that has transpired, not only in the last, what, 14 or 15 months."
"It's been a remarkable turnaround in the overall security situation and the level of violence, both in terms of military and civilian casualties."
"I think it's been a difficult, challenging, but nonetheless successful endeavor; [... ] and that it's been well worth the effort."
"So I'm delighted to be back; pleased to be able to return next week to Washington and report to the President that we are making significant progress in Iraq."
Replying to a question, he said:
"I think the fact that the President made the decision that he did a year ago, when he decided not to reduce force levels in Iraq, but rather to increase them, and add additional five combat brigades, that all of that put to rest any notion that either here inside Iraq or in the region people could, "wait us out."
" [... ] but also what happened in terms of people being convinced that the U.S. was here to stay, that we were going to complete the mission."
"We have the benefit now of having that year under our belts. So I think now when Americans - [... ] talk about what's happening in Iraq, we've got a real success story to point to."
At 9:50 a.m., the CNN interrupted this broadcast to air a report on Bush's remarks on the state of the economy.
"Right now we're dealing with a difficult situation," the president declared.
The broadcast was again interrupted and the reporter added that President Bush had remarked the United State was keeping the economic situation under control, that the country was facing a crisis, though everything was under control or, at least, that these had been the U.S. president's words.
At that moment, the Financial Times published an article by Alan Greenspan which read that "the current financial crisis in the U.S. is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the Second World War (... ) The crisis will leave many casualties" What's more, as Bush spoke, the price of gold reached 1,023.68 dollars the troy ounce and oil $112 per barrel.
The news continues to reach us non-stop.
"Monday, March 17, 2008. Millions of Iraqis have little or no access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare, five years after the US-led invasion, according to the Red Cross," BBC Mundo reports, adding:
"Iraq's humanitarian situation is 'among the most critical in the world'."
"Millions had been left essentially to fend for themselves."
"Some families spend one third of their average monthly wage of $150 [... ] just buying clean water."
"Healthcare in Iraq is 'now in worse shape than ever' and the services that are available are too expensive for many people."
"Iraqi hospitals lack qualified staff and basic drugs, facilities are not properly maintained and public hospitals provide only 30,000 beds, less than half of the 80,000 needed."
"Many of those killed in the current violence have never been properly identified."
"Better security in some parts of Iraq must not distract attention from the continuing plight of millions of people who have essentially been left to their own devices."
An Amnesty International report run by DPA reads:
"Human rights violations are a constant across the country, where millions of Iraqis depend on humanitarian aid to survive"
"Millions of dollars have been spent on security but today two out of three Iraqis still have no access to safe drinking water and almost one in three of the population -some eight million people- need emergency aid to survive."
"No-one knows exactly how many people have been killed in Iraq since the U.S-led invasion in March 2003."
"Trials are often unfair, with confessions of guilt reportedly obtained under torture."
ANSA reports that Vice-President Dick Cheney met in Baghdad today with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, as a series of explosions shook the country's capital, causing at least two deaths and a number of wounded.
Cheney, the report adds, also met today with John McCain the republican candidate for the U.S. presidential elections in November, who arrived in Iraq on Sunday, also as part of an unannounced visit.
Shortly after Cheney's arrival, we read, a violent explosion was reported in the Baghdad downtown area, apparently a mortar blast aimed at the capital's maximum security Green Zone, where the embassies and main government buildings are located.
According to the report, General Kassim Atta, a Baghdad security operations spokesperson, stated that a third bomb went off today in a civilian vehicle located in Tahariyat Square, in the heart of Karrada, causing the death of one civilian and wounding three.
The U.S. press agency AP reports:
"Explosions struck Baghdad during twin visits by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and Vice President Dick Cheney."
"Helicopter gunship circled over central Baghdad and the heavily fortified Green Zone, but no details were immediately available on the cause of the explosions."
"It is Cheney's third vice presidential trip to Iraq, where 160,000 American troops are deployed and the U.S. death toll is nearing 4,000."
"McCain, who has linked his political future to U.S. military success in Iraq, met Monday with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shortly before the Iraqi leader began separate talks with Cheney."
"Al-Maliki said he and the vice president discussed ongoing negotiations over a long-term security agreement between the two countries."
"The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said it could not confirm reports of a rocket attack on the Green Zone after Cheney's arrival."
DPA reports on and elaborates on these events further into its article:
"Triple bombings on Monday left two people dead and four injured across the Iraqi capital Baghdad" [... ] "shortly after the arrival of U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney in the Iraqi capital."
"In the upmarket western Mansour district, a bomb attack on a police patrol left one police officer dead and another injured."
"In another blast [... ] three civilians were injured [... ] in the [... ] Zayouna district [... ]. In central Baghdad, one civilian was killed and three people were injured [... ] said General Qasim Atta [... ]"
But the bombings also occurred outside the Iraqi capital:
One of the attacks in Kerbala, 110 kilometers from Baghdad, caused 42 deaths and wounded 58, EFE reported.
The other dispatch added that it was a suicide attack perpetrated by a woman, who detonated an explosive charge attached to her body.
ANSA reported that a suicide bombing caused between 25 and 36 deaths and wounded dozens today.
In the light of these news reports, which are increasing by the hour, was Cheney's a victorious trip or not?

Fidel Castro Ruz

March 17, 2008

8:17 p.m

Translated by ESTI


Thirst for blood 1

The empire is not resigning itself to being the only loser at the Rio Group meeting held in Santo Domingo on March 7th. It wants to set up the bloody mess once more. It is not difficult to demonstrate it.
On Tuesday March 11th, El Nuevo Herald, a paper that is extremely hostile to Cuba and destined to chart guidelines in Latin America, under the title of "A Cuban is the Alleged Leader of the FARC in Mexico", signed by one of its writers born in our country, states:
"A Cuban engineer living in Mexico was identified by intelligence authorities as the alleged leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) support group on Mexican territory.
"The intelligence report -quoted by the newspapers El Universal and The Wall Street Journal- indicates Mario Dagoberto Díaz Orgaz, 48 years old, to be the main suspect as organizer of the expedition of a group of Mexican students to a FARC camp in Ecuador, attacked by Colombian forces on March 1.
"Mexican agents say they photographed Díaz Orgaz in Quito on March 5th at 6:25 p.m., while he was prowling around the Military Hospital where Lucía Andrea Morett Álvarez, a survivor of the armed operation, was being held.
"The young woman, known as 'Alicia' in the rebel ranks, had traveled from Mexico to Havana on January 10, and from there to Quito. Her return to Mexico was scheduled for Tuesday.
"The report on Díaz Orgaz also presents him as the financial operator of the FARC in Mexico... "
"The Cuban engineer had been found in Ecuador by Mexican intelligence services after surviving the military attack on the FARC camp.
"Last night, the El Nuevo Herald telephoned a close friend of his in the city of Queretaro, where Díaz Orgaz lives and works as a researcher in the Engineering and Industrial Development Center attached to the National Science and Technology Council of the Mexican government...
"In order to avoid being harassed by the press, Díaz Orgaz has been at a friends' house since Monday.
"The source said that the Cuban engineer can prove that the trip to Ecuador attributed to him is false, since on the date that Mexican intelligence has him located in the vicinity of the Military Hospital in Quito, he was in the city of Villa Hermosa, capital of the state of Tabasco, with a group of colleagues from the Engineering and Industrial Development Center.'
"Díaz Orgaz is originally from the town of Bejucal, in La Habana Province, where he was born on January 15, 1960. According to information in the hands of the Mexican federal government, Díaz Orgaz studied mechanical engineering at the Vladimir Polytechnical Institute, 112 miles from Moscow, and later he took several specialization courses in Metrology... "
"He would have played a key role in the financial support given to FARC supporters at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), one of the largest and most prestigious academic centers in Latin America... "
"Revelations in the case are coming up a few days prior to the visit of the Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa to Havana, motivated by a policy to resume relations between the two countries.
"Last February, the Colombian army had captured the Cuban doctor Emilio Muñoz Franco in Palmira, department of Valle del Cauca. This optometrist had been mentioned as a keystone in the FARC logistical support network.
"Muñoz Franco had taken Cuban medical students as trainees to the FARC camps between 2000 and 2001.
"The Colombian authorities consider that there is enough evidence to accuse him of being a foreigner associated with the guerrillas. His neighbors in Palmira claim that they have never seen him involved in anything shocking."
The stupid intent of mixing Cubans into the matter is very clear, besides the lie about the impossible presence of our students of Medicine in that faraway Colombian jungle. Whenever a Cuban engineer or doctor abandons his country it is someone who is walking away with the knowledge that our people have paid for with great sacrifice. Exactly on the 13th of this month, 177 members of the Medical Brigade and 35 teachers have returned after fulfilling their sacred mission in East Timor for two years.
I myself bid them farewell when they left.
In East Timor, where genocide was committed before independence, internal conflicts arose supported by Australia, a United States ally, who took over the natural gas fields in the proximity of the Timor coastline. Under no circumstances did the Cuban doctors abandon their patients who were all inhabitants of that small nation. The personnel replacing them have remained there. These are indeed Cuban doctors and graduates, of which there are thousands, the same ones which the empire tries to bribe away making unmentionable efforts, but to very little effect.
No other country in the western hemisphere or in the world has such wealth. Today we are training hundreds of young people from East Timor in our medical schools. The doctors who have just returned set an example of what conscience can do.
The quoted article from El Nuevo Herald is also a clear intent to justify the fact that among the victims there were young Mexicans who were meeting with Reyes, as a matter of curiosity or for whatever other reason, but they hadn't planted bombs nor did they deserve to be murdered by Yankee bombs while they were in their beds at dawn.
El Mercurio of Chile, under the title "Deserter Warns that the Leader of the FARC could be Assassinated", writes the following, in the words of Pedro Pablo Montoya, former FARC guerrilla:
"The guerrilla deserter who last week killed José Juvenal Velandia, a.k.a. 'Iván Ríos', member of the top FARC leadership, yesterday pointed out that the rebels in the middle and lower ranks might assassinate their leaders, among them the top leader of the Colombian guerrilla group Pedro Antonio Marín, alias 'Manuel Marulanda Vélez' or 'Tirofijo' (Sharpshot).
Pedro Pablo Montoya, a.k.a. 'Rojas', who since last Thursday is under Army protection after surrendering with two other FARC members after having assassinated 'Ríos', said in an interview to the Bogota paper El Tiempo that the non-ranking rebels are demoralized and without incentives due to the 'bad treatment' they are receiving from the guerrilla leaders... !
"After killing his leader, 'Rojas' chopped off the man's right hand and presented himself to the soldiers who had surrounded the rebel unit with the dead man's identification papers and his laptop computer.
"In statements to Radio Caracol, 'Rojas' said that the FARC doesn't want to liberate former candidate Ingrid Betancourt. Not even for "the big guy" --they wouldn't free her for any reason. Doña Yolanda, mother of Ms. Betancourt, should know this... "
The rebel said that he is expecting to be paid a juicy bounty that was offered by the Colombian government, equivalent to 2.6 million dollars, in exchange for information about the insurgent commanders, while lawyers are debating whether or not he should receive the booty. Last night 'Rojas' received backing, since the Attorney General of Colombia, Mario Iguarán, indicated that 'in principle, the Attorney General's Office wouldn't press charges for the murder of Iván Ríos, and with that the way would be cleared for him to receive the bounty'."
For its part, The Washington Post, a well-informed paper on the prevailing mood in Washington, last March 10th published an article titled "The FARC's Guardian Angel", signed by Jackson Diehl, where he points out:
"Latin American nations and the Bush administration are just beginning to consider a far more serious and potentially explosive question: What to do about the revelation that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez forged a strategic alliance with the FARC aimed at Colombia's democratic government.
"... but in their totality, the hundreds of pages of documents so far made public by Colombia paint an even more chilling picture... "
"All this is laid out in a series of three e-mails sent in February to the FARC's top leaders by Iván Márquez and Rodrigo Granda, envoys who held a series of secret meetings with Chávez... "
"Assuming these documents are authentic -and it's hard to believe that the cerebral and calculating Uribe would knowingly hand over forgeries to the world media and the Organization of American States- both the Bush administration and Latin American governments will have fateful decisions to make about Chávez. His reported actions are, first of all, a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373, passed on September 2001... "
The Washington Post starts from the premise that only Uribe could invent or deliver that document to the United States government and didn't even consider any other possibility for the complicated situation. However, it is known that since Thursday the 13th, Chávez called Uribe by phone and agreed with him to an exchange of visits between the two presidents and the normalization of trade exchange relations that so benefit both their peoples. Chavez, for his part, is not giving up on his search for peace between the brotherly peoples of Latin America.
More surprising is the very speech made by Bush on March 12th and the speedy dispatching of the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Brazil and Chile, a subject about which the wire agencies are writing reams and reams:
"BRASILIA, March 13, 2008 (AFP) - The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and the Brazilian Racial Integration Minister, Edson Santos, signed an agreement this Thursday in Brasilia to launch a joint action plan 'for the elimination of racial discrimination'.
"The text of the agreement emphasizes that Brazil and the United States share the characteristic of being 'multi-ethnic and multi-racial democratic societies'."
I read and I re-read these words. I think it is the opposite of what is really happening in the United States, while I am choosing dispatches and I write. It's amazing!
I shall continue tomorrow.

Fidel Castro Ruz

March 15, 2008

5:17 p.m.


- Thirst for blood 2:


Other news from CUBA:

- Whats Going on with the Cuban Five?:


- New Website Dedicated to Cuban Five's Relatives Opens:


- The Cuban Obsession of Reporters without Borders:


- UNESCO withdraws its sponsorship of Reporters sans Frontières:


- Reporters without Borders Furious with UNESCO:


- US Pressures EU to Impose Anti-Cuban Policy:


- OFAC closes European tour operator's 80 websites:


- Cuban doctors provided more than 2 million consultations in Timor-Leste:


- First illiteracy-free department in Bolivia:


- More than three million benefit from Cuban literacy method:


Cuban Five: