Nicaragua Defeats The Not-So-Soft Coup

July 19 will be a categorical vindication of President Daniel Ortega

July 19 will be a categorical vindication of President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government’s efforts for peace in Nicaragua. | Photo: Reuters

July 19 will be a massive celebration of the coup’s defeat and a categorical vindication of President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government’s efforts for peace in Nicaragua.

By: Tortilla Con Sal

July 17 (teleSUR) On July 19, hundreds of thousands of people from across Nicaragua will converge on the capital Managua to celebrate the 39th anniversary of their historic 1979 defeat of the Somoza dictatorship. The event takes place as the authorities continue to liberate communities blockaded by roadblocks operated by armed opposition activists whose not-so-soft coup attempt against the Sandinista government, begun on April 18, has failed. Ever since April 21, when President Daniel Ortega called for a process of National Dialogue to peacefully resolve opposition demands, Nicaragua’s political opposition and their allies have worked to sabotage talks for a negotiated solution. They have regularly staged extremely violent provocations falsely seeking to portray the government as being wholly responsible for the crisis and demanding President Ortega’s resignation.

President Daniel Ortega addressed the assembled crowds of thousands of supporters on Friday and said: "We are here with open doors."

President Daniel Ortega addressed the assembled crowds of thousands of supporters on Friday and said: “We are here with open doors.”

Early in July, the opposition reneged on an agreement to dismantle the roadblocks their armed supporters have used since late April to try to destroy the country’s economy and intimidate the general population. On July 9, the government declared it would no longer permit the opposition to abuse the population’s basic rights to peace and security, stating: “Faced with the daily suffering imposed on Nicaragua’s families, who since April 18 have suffered violence from terrorists who have murdered, tortured and kidnapped hundreds of citizens, the same terrorists that have burned and destroyed hundreds of families’ homes, public buildings, small- and medium-sized businesses, such that the state is bound to act in accordance with the law to guarantee the right of its citizens to live in peace, with security and respect for the human rights enshrined in our political constitution, in the charters of international organizations and in human rights conventions.”

Opposition Violence

Subsequently, Nicaragua’s national police have worked with local communities around the country to clear the opposition roadblocks. In Jinotepe, they set free hundreds of trucks and their drivers held hostage by opposition gangs for over a month. In many places, it has been possible to negotiate agreements to remove the roadblocks peacefully. Elsewhere, the process has involved violence and casualties provoked by very well-armed activists and associated paid criminals resisting the authorities’ efforts to restore freedom of movement. On July 13 in Managua, two opposition activists were killed during the clearance of blockades in and around the National Autonomous University.

Elsewhere, on July 12, opposition activists from roadblocks operated by Francisca Ramirez and Medardo Mairena’s anti-Canal movement infiltrated an opposition peace march in the town of Morrito, on the eastern shore of Lake Nicaragua, on the highway to the Rio San Juan. They attacked a police post and the local municipal office, murdering four police officers and a primary school teacher, wounding four municipal workers and kidnapping nine police officers. Subsequently, that evening the police officers were set free, six of them with injuries.

Tortured & Murdered

In Masaya, opposition activists tortured, murdered and burned police officer Gabriel Vado Ruiz and would have done the same to another police officer, Rodrigo Barrios Flores, had he not escaped from his captors after enduring two days of torture and abuse. Although the extreme violence of the armed opposition activists has been responsible directly and indirectly for almost all the loss of life and injuries during the crisis, international news media and human rights organizations continue to falsely blame the government for virtually all the deaths and people injured. Amnesty International and fellow coup apologists such as Bianca Jagger and SOS Nicaragua, along with their allies in corporate media such as the Guardian, Telegraph, Washington Post, New York Times, Al Jazeera, CNN,  BBC, all cover up very serious human rights violations by the opposition activists during the failed attempted coup against Nicaragua’s legitimate government.

However, abundant audiovisual and photographic material exists providing irrefutable evidence of systematic human rights violations practiced by Nicaragua’s political opposition. From the the start, on April 18, the armed opposition offensive has manipulated legitimate peaceful protest so as to give cover to a very deliberate campaign of violence and deceit, promoting a climate of fear and casting blame on the government so as to create a psychosis of hatred, polarizing Nicaraguan society. The campaign’s objective is to make impossible a negotiated solution to the crisis provoked by the political opposition. Over the weekend of July 13-15, events in Nicaragua showed how refined the techniques of psychological warfare have become.

Misrepresenting & Exaggerating

The political opposition have used social media to misrepresent and exaggerate events, create incidents that never happened and obliterate their own criminal terrorist attacks. For example, the crisis in Nicaragua began with a fake ‘student massacre’ that never took place. Now Nicaragua’s opposition have faked attacks on a church in Managua, exaggerated casualties during the clearance of opposition thugs from the national university and covered up their own deliberate murders of police in Morrito and Masaya, as well as their gratuitous attacks on peaceful Sandinista demonstrators. In the national university, the opposition gangs also set fire to a classroom module and destroyed a preschool facility on the university campus.

Right from the start of the crisis, the opposition have expertly staged phony scenes of students taking cover from gunfire and used those images to justify their own savage attacks, like those in which they burned down pro-government Nuevo Radio Ya and CARUNA, the rural cooperatives’ savings and loan institution. Photographs show opposition journalists and photographers filming opposition activists pretending to be attacked, but despite the obvious fakery, those false stories get published uncritically in international corporate and alternative media. Nicaragua provides a textbook case study bearing out the work of analysts such as Cuba’s Randy Falcon, who has emphasized how new technologies exponentially multiply the digital reproduction of longstanding conventional propaganda motifs.

Propaganda Ploys

In Nicaragua, the government has in several cases negotiated agreements to clear armed opposition roadblocks, only to find that the opposition refuse to honor the agreements. The extremist political opposition are desperate to keep up their violence so as to sabotage efforts at National Dialogue and project the false image of a repressive government without popular support. Large demonstrations across the country supporting the government’s efforts for peace show exactly the reverse is true. Majority national opinion in Nicaragua is well aware of the opposition’s propaganda ploys and false claims.

Within Nicaragua, the opposition hardly bother to conceal their invention and artifice because their false political theater is staged almost entirely to impress overseas opinion. Their sinister cynical theater aims to set the scene for the Organization of American States to change its previously moderate position on Nicaragua and give the U.S. government an institutional pretext on which to intensify sanctions against Nicaragua’s government and its people. Even so, despite probable opposition attempts to sabotage it, July 19 will be a massive celebration of the coup’s defeat and a categorical vindication of President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government’s efforts for peace in Nicaragua.


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Cuban Foreign Minister Chairs Delegation to Nicaraguan National Event

Havana, Jul 18 (Prensa Latina) Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez heads the delegation of Cuba that will attend the central event in Nicaragua for the 39th anniversary of the triumph of the Sandinista Revolution, diplomatic sources said today.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the delegation is also made up of Juan Hernandez, Cuba’s ambassador to Nicaragua and other officials.

On July 19, 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) defeated Anastasio Somoza´s dictatorship and started a process of socio-economic transformation for the benefit of the Nicaraguan people.

Currently, that Central American country faces a sociopolitical crisis fueled by the international right with the intention of overthrowing President Daniel Ortega´s government, elected by popular will expressed at the polls.

The day before, Latin American leaders ratified in the Forum of Sao Paulo, which took place in Cuba, their solidarity with Nicaragua, its people and the Executive led by Ortega.

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Cuban Deputy Health Minister Visits South Africa

Pretoria, Jul 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Deputy Minister of Health, Alfredo Gonzalez, holds meetings in this capital with union leaders, foreign ministry officials and the presidential minister Nkosozana Dlamini Zuma, the embassy of that South African country reported.

Gonzalez participated yesterday in Cape Town in the graduation of a group of doctors who studied for five years that major in Cuba and traveled last night to Pretoria.

Today’s activities began with an interview with Zola Sapetha, Secretary General of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (NEHAWU).

Subsequently, the Deputy Minister of Cuba held a meeting with the South African Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Lluwellyn Landers.

The visitor’s program also includes a meeting with the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, a veteran politician of this country who has held positions as Minister of Health, External Relations and Cooperation and the Interior.

Dlamini Zuma, who was also the first woman to hold the presidency of the African Union until the beginning of 2017, headed the South African Department of Health when then presidents Nelson Mandela and Fidel Castro agreed on a program of cooperation in the field of public health, after the victory of the ANC in the elections of 1994 that is maintained until today.

This cooperation includes the work in this country of Cuban doctors and the preparation in Cuba of South African students in the medical major.

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Cuba, ECLAC Discuss Preparations for Sustainable Development Forum

United Nations, Jul 18 (Prensa Latina) Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, presided today a working meeting of the member States of the Latin American and Caribbean Forum for Sustainable Development.

The permanent mission of Cuba to the UN hosted the meeting, which was also attended by the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America of the United Nations (ECLAC), Alicia Barcena, and ambassadors of the area.

By welcoming the participants, the Cuban Minister reiterated the interest of his country to continue promoting the work of ECLAC and its subsidiary entities, as well as to support the work of that Commission in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Meanwhile, Barcenas presented the results of the organization’s session period and reviewed the new preparations for the ECLAC forum that examines the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Cuba currently holds the pro-tempore presidency of ECLAC in the period 2018-2020, from which it boosts regional cooperation and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean.

During the 36th session of ECLAC, held in Mexico from May 23 to 27, 2016, the member states approved a resolution through which the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development was created as a regional mechanism for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of these goals.

Subsequently, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations endorsed the creation of the forum.

The Third Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development will be held at the ECLAC headquarters in Santiago de Chile, from April 22 to 26, 2019.

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Who Chose Cuba’s Electoral System and Who Chose the U.S. Electoral System

ballotby Sandy Marks, July 18, 2018 | The most recent Cuban elections for deputies to the National Assembly of People’s Power were held on March 11, 2018, with a voter turnout of 85.65% of eligible voters, and with 94.42% of the votes declared valid, meaning that they met all requirements established by law.

Five weeks later, on April 19, the Cuban National Assembly of People’s Power was constituted and the 605 Deputies of the National Assembly elected Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez as the new President of the Council of State, to replace President Raúl Castro Ruz, who had announced he would not seek re-election. The Deputies also elected Salvador Valdés Mesa as First Vice-President, Homero Acosta Alvarez as Secretary, five other Vice-Presidents and 23 other members of the Council of State.

The principle of the right to vote and the current electoral process was established in the 1976 Cuban Constitution, approved by 98% of the Cuban people in a referendum, after in-depth discussions of the draft text in workplaces, schools and in rural areas around the country. The 1976 Constitution also established the People’s Power structure, which has been in effect for more than 40 years. There are Municipal, Provincial and National Assemblies of People’s Power.

Voting by law in Cuba is a voluntary, egalitarian and secret act and enjoys wide popular participation. Voting is not compulsory as it is in some nations with voter turnouts comparable to the high voter turnout in Cuba. A Cuban citizen is legally permitted to vote starting at age 16, but to be elected as a Deputy to the National Assembly of People’s Power, a candidate must be 18.

* * * * *

we-the-peopleTo place in context any discussion of the Cuban electoral process, however, it behooves us to examine the electoral process in the United States. We are a nation where politicians and the mainstream media exalt our “right to vote,” yet many would be surprised to learn that there is no specific right to vote guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Democracy is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, which only guarantees a republican form of government.

The “right” to vote is not a right at all but, at best, a privilege. While the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that, “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” it does not say it is otherwise guaranteed. Qualifications to vote in state and federal elections are decided by each state.

The Fifteenth Amendment has not stopped states from imposing hurdles to voting, including literacy, civics and “good character” tests, as well as imposing poll taxes, successfully designed to keep African-Americans off the voting rolls. One has to register to vote in the U.S. and only 70% of the voting-age citizens are even registered and, of course, women were not permitted to vote at all until 1920.

In fact, the U.S. is one of the least active nations in terms of voter turnout. In 2017, the U.S. ranked 28th out of the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Development, an organization whose members are supposed to be highly developed, democratic states for voter participation. In the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, only 59% of eligible voters actually voted — the lowest voter turnout in a Presidential election since 1996, when 53.5% of voting-age citizens turned out to vote. A USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll in 2012 found that 41% of non-voters say they did not bother to vote because their vote “doesn’t matter anyway.”

Even after Jim Crow, a racial caste system in the U.S. that mandated the segregation of public schools, public places, public transportation, restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains for whites and blacks, was supposedly ended in the U.S., there were other mechanisms that states used to stop people from voting in order to control the outcome of an election. For example, more than 6.1 million people are permanently barred from voting in this country because they have felony convictions, which includes 1 in 13 African-Americans.

While Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, which was supposed to address some of the inequities in the electoral process, the U.S. Supreme Court scrapped much of this law in 2013, by determining there was no longer enough racial discrimination to justify it. Their decision enables nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.

At the same time, the U.S. Congress is 82% Caucasian, although Caucasians represent only 62% of the U.S. population.

The personal wealth of the average Senator is more than $1 million; the current U.S. President is a billionaire. Meanwhile, the average annual salary for a U.S. worker is $44,564. More to the point, it costs more than $1 billion to run for President of the United States — Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump together spent $2.4 billion on their Presidential campaigns. An average Senate campaign runs about $10 million.

The longstanding practice of gerrymandering, or redrawing voting districts to favor those with the most resources and influence, remains legal and rampant. The United States Supreme Court has pretty much left it up to the states to divide their voting districts as they choose. In April 2018, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether partisan gerrymandering in two states violates the U.S. Constitution, having previously taken the position that there are no discernible standards and thus the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction.

The 2000 U.S. Presidential race between Al Gore and George W. Bush, came down to one state — FLORIDA — where candidate George W. Bush’s brother was governor and where it became clear there were no uniform processes for the ballots, or how to count them. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court — not the voting public or even the Electoral College — decided the outcome, ignoring many voters’ ballots in the process.

In fact, in the U.S., the population does not directly elect the President. The Electoral College does. In recent history, both Al Gore and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the elections. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed in Bush v. Gore, that “the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States.”

In sum, the United States’ system of government has never been democratic. Now more than ever, money, above all other qualifications, buys the ability to influence policy. What limited voter choice there is lies between candidates picked by the two major parties — not by the people.

* * * * *

Image result for cuban electionsThe Communist Party of Cuba is the official political party, but it is not an electoral party and does not nominate, promote, elect or appoint candidates for public office, which is something not well-known or understood outside of Cuba. All citizens and organizations have a right, as well as a duty, to participate in the management of the State, either directly or through their representatives, and a candidate need not be a member of the Cuban Communist Party or have any political affiliation at all.

The Cuban electoral law actually provides two electoral processes. The first is the process of partial elections, which takes place every two and a half years (the last time in November 2017) and is designed to elect delegates to Municipal (local) Assemblies of People’s Power. There are 168 such Municipal Assemblies located throughout Cuba.

Candidates for Municipal Assemblies are chosen through nominating assemblies (or community meetings), which occur throughout the country. At these meetings, the floor is open and individuals can propose anyone who lives in their area, usually based on the nominee’s history, personal accomplishments, moral character and ties to the community.

Campaigning is illegal; photos and biographies of those nominated are posted prominently in public places, so voters have the necessary information about the candidates in advance of the election. The State provides all funding for the election; candidates do not need to raise their own funds, which ensures broader participation by the populace and eliminates the need for individual wealth to aspire to run for office. Delegates and Deputies do not receive a salary for their work as Deputies or delegates; rather, they continue in their regular jobs, while also serving as elected officials. Being a Deputy or delegate at any level does not bring privileges; rather, it requires extra work and sacrifice.

To facilitate wide public participation in voting, ballot boxes are placed near each residential area and in each college and are symbolically guarded by school children. The ballots are secret, but the process is transparent; the results of the elections are presented as the staff is counting the votes.

The Municipal Assemblies exercise local powers, approve the municipal budgets, and within the framework of the Cuban Constitution, enact measures and adopt agreements on matters of local concern.

The Municipal Assemblies also organize the People’s Councils, or local committees formed from members of local social organizations, first implemented as a rural experiment to ensure that Municipal Assemblies did not neglect rural affairs. The People’s Council experiment worked so well to involve the local citizens in solving local problems that they were expanded to the entire country, including the urban areas, and formalized in a 1992 Constitutional amendment.

The Municipal Assemblies’ duties include choosing candidates for the Provincial Assemblies of People’s Power (there are 15) and the National Assembly of People’s Power. The elections for the Provincial and National Assemblies occur every five years.

The nomination of a slate of candidates for the Provincial Assemblies and the National Assembly is conducted by a Candidacy Commission, which evaluates all the proposed candidates. Their hard work starts from the moment the election process begins and in this past election, they evaluated more than 12,000 candidates that emerged from 904 meetings of community organizations. The Candidacy Commission is chaired by an official of the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) and includes representatives chosen from the social groups (civil society organizations) in the country: the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), the Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), the University Student Federation (FEU) and the Federation of Secondary School Students (FEEM).

The Municipal Assemblies then decide, via public vote, whether they approve of the Candidacy Commission’s slate of candidates or not. The pre-candidates must get 50% of the votes cast in the Municipal Assembly to be approved. If the slate of candidates offered by the Candidacy Commission is not approved, or one candidate is not approved, the Candidacy Commission must present an alternative. The nominees to the National Assembly of People’s Power can be from any part of the country; the delegates to the Provincial Assembly must be from the province in which they live.

The slate of candidates for the Provincial Assemblies and the National Assembly are then presented to the voters to endorse in general elections ― the second phase of the electoral process.

Of the total composition of the National Assembly of People’s Power, 50% of its members are proposed by the communities, and the other 50% by civil society organizations mentioned above.

The National Assembly of People’s Power, with 605 elected Deputies (members), is the highest organ of state power. It represents the people and is the only body with legislative power in Cuba. The Deputies are a diverse grouping and include workers, peasants, intellectuals, students, religious leaders, a cross section of the entire Cuban society.

In 2018, 53.22% of the elected Deputies were women, the second largest percentage of any Parliament in the world, after Rwanda. (Rwanda, however, uses a quota system to ensure its high percentage of women in Parliament; in Cuba, no quotas are used and all Deputies are elected on the basis of merit).

The National Assembly holds regular sessions twice a year and from its ranks elects a Council of State — an executive committee composed of the President, the First Vice-President, five other Vice-Presidents, a Secretary and 23 other members. The President of the Council of State is also Cuba’s head of state. When the National Assembly is not in session, the Council of State represents the National Assembly and exercises its legislative functions and other duties, is accountable to the National Assembly and also owns the power to call the National Assembly into extraordinary session.

In addition to the Council of State, there is a Council of Ministers, which is the highest-ranking administrative body in Cuba. It includes the President, Vice Presidents and Secretary of the Council of State, the appointed ministers (or heads) of the various ministries and other members as the law provides.

The Council of Ministers has wide-ranging powers by law, such as the power to organize and conduct the political, economic, cultural, scientific, social and defense activities outlined by the National Assembly. The Council of Ministers directs foreign policy, international treaties and foreign trade and is responsible for the State budget. The Council of Ministers can also draft plans for the economy and implement them, once the plans are approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power.

The law provides for a process of accountability (rendición de cuenta) of delegates to the people who elected them. Accountability meetings occur regularly every four months, where delegates report to their electors on the process of their work and explain local policies and decisions.

In addition, Cuban law provides a process of “revocation” or removal from office, for failure to carry out one’s duties. Cases of revocation are rare.

Cuba has a unique, developing and truly participatory process for choosing its government, starting at the local level, where neighbors meet and nominate other neighbors — people who are known to them, who will take on extra responsibilities without extra pay or perks to serve as delegates or deputies and who are chosen for their merits and their character, not for how much money they have. Transparency is built in, from the neighborhood meetings, the requirements of debates and in-depth discussions on important matters, the public participation in voting, the collective decision-making and the process of accountability.

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Peace Boat Arrives in Cuba

Havana, Jul 17 (Prensa Latina) Japan”s Peace Boat arrives today in Cuba, where its crew and passengers will convey messages about global solidarity and promote a world free of nuclear weapons.

The Peace Boat, belonging to the homonymous non-governmental organization, departed from the port of Yokohama, south of Tokyo, on May 8, on its 98th Global Voyage for Peace.

This is the eighteenth time that the vessel comes to Cuba, this time with 1,200 people on board.

Of that total, 900 are Japanese and the rest comes from other Asian countries, coordinators of the initiative said during a news conference held last week at the headquarters of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP).

The visitors will participate here in a forum on youth, nuclear disarmament and peace. In addition, three hibakushas (survivors or descendants of the US atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945), will present their testimonies.

They will also visit health, education centers and communities, where they will learn about the development of the comprehensive local health program, mainly related to elderly care.

A special activity is the visit to the ‘Solidaridad con Panama’ school, the only institution of its kind in Cuba, responsible for the care of children and adolescents with physical-motor disabilities and other special needs.

Peace Boat representative Masumi Matsumura thanked the Cuban support for the initiative, through ICAP, the Cuban Movement for Peace and Sovereignty of the Peoples, the Cuban United Nations Association and other organizations.

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‘Latin America Undergoing Transformation’: Venezuela’s Maduro

President Maduro said: "We must confront and diminish the current Latin American right-wing."

President Maduro said: “We must confront and diminish the current Latin American right-wing.” | Photo: @PresidencialVen

Addressing 479 delegates representing leftist political parties and social movements, President Maduro said: “We must confront and diminish the current Latin American right-wing.”

July 17 (teleSUR) “Latin America is undergoing a permanent process of renewal and transformation,” Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro told the closing ceremony of the XXIV Forum of Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

Addressing 479 delegates representing leftist political parties and social movements from across the world, Maduro said: “We must confront and diminish the current Latin American right-wing, which has tried to destroy the integration processes of the continent.”

The forum, held in the Cuban capital of Havana, focused on ways to strengthen unity and integration across Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Venezuelan president vowed to continue in his fight against the forces of imperialism, manifest in constant attacks by the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump.

Prensa Presidencial@PresidencialVen

Presidente @NicolasMaduro interviene en XXIV Encuentro del Foro del Sao Paulo 

Nicolás Maduro @NicolasMaduro


“In Venezuela, we believe in permanent combat. Venezuela wants peace with equality, justice, democracy: we are the sons of Chavez and Bolivar,” Maduro said.

Venezuela has lodged a formal request to host the next edition of the annual Sao Paulo Forum, according to the vice-president of International Affairs of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), Adan Chavez.

The Forum emerged in 1990 as the result of the Encounter of Left-wing Political Parties and Organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean promoted by late Cuban President Fidel Castro and former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

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Cuba Ratifies Its Commitment to Support Noble Causes

Havana, Jul 17 (Prensa Latina) Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel ratified today the island’s commitment to support the noble causes of the world and the progressive forces in order to build an anti-hegemonic platform.

Speaking at the final day of the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum, held at Havana´s Convention Center, Diaz-Canel expressed his solidarity with former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is unjustly imprisoned.

Likewise, he affirmed that Cuba supports the legitimate and democratic government of the President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, who with his people resists a process of destabilization and continues defending the popular conquests.

The Cuban leader demanded the end of the interference of the Organization of American States in the internal affairs of that South American country.

He also expressed his solidarity with the Nicaraguan government and its people as well as the Movement towards Socialism led by the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, indigenous leader who advances in the recovery of natural wealth, the improvement of living conditions and the defense of the national culture.

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EU and CELAC Urge Ending US Blockade on Cuba

Brussels, Jul 17 (Prensa Latina) The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and the European Union (EU) reiterated today the rejection of the US blockade against Cuba, as it constitutes a unilateral coercive measure with extraterritorial effect contrary to international law.

This was indicated in the final declaration of the second bi-regional ministerial summit that ended Tuesday in Brussels, in which high representatives of the 33 countries of the CELAC and the 28 of the EU participated.

‘We reiterate our rejection of the application of those unilateral coercive measures with extraterritorial effect that are contrary to international law and reiterate the need to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba,’ the text said.

The two regional blocs reaffirmed their rejection of this hostile policy, maintained by Washington for more than half a century.

‘These measures have caused undue humanitarian consequences for the Cuban people and are damaging the legitimate development of commercial ties among Cuba, the European Union, and other countries,’ the statement added.

On the other hand, at the closing press conference of the conclave, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, stressed that the EU remains committed to the Agreement on Political Dialogue and Cooperation signed between that bloc and Cuba.

The instrument, signed at the end of 2016, made it possible to establish a favorable framework for advancing bilateral ties.

On numerous occasions, both parties have denounced the negative effects of the blockade and its extraterritorial application, in the expansion of the links between the community entity and the Caribbean nation.

The ministerial meeting between the EU and CELAC was held on Monday and Tuesday in Brussels, aimed at continuing to promote cooperation between the two regional organizations.

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Latin American Leaders Ratify Solidarity with Nicaragua in Cuba

Havana, Jul 17 (Prensa Latina) The Presidents of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, and El Salvador, Salvador Ceren, reaffirmed today their solidarity with Nicaragua and the government led by Daniel Ortega at the 24th Meeting of the Sao Paulo Forum.

Our unconditional support with President Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo, Maduro said when speaking at the plenary session of the conclave that ends on Tuesday at the Havana Convention Center.

In the presence of more than 600 delegates and guests at the Forum, the Venezuelan leader condemned actions of sectors of the international right to destabilize the constitutional government of Nicaragua.

In his speech, Sanchez Ceren also reaffirmed his solidarity with the Nicaraguan people in the face of attempts to alter the constitutional order, to overthrow the legitimately elected government by force, and to wrest from the population the great social and economic progresses.

Nicaragua is one of the countries that achieved the greatest growth and stability in the region, the statesman recalled.

We support President Ortega’s decision to maintain a respectful dialogue to find agreements that allow that sister nation to stop the escalation of violence and continue on the path of progress and improvement of the population’s quality of life, in peace and with democratic stability.

More than a hundred parties and organizations of the Latin American and Caribbean left integrate the Sao Paulo Forum, for whose emergence the contributions of Fidel Castro and the former president and founder of the Workers’ Party of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, were decisive.

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