Mountain of Snakes
(CNN) â€“ The Obama transition team declined comment
Wednesday on a report that Cuban President Raul Castro might be
interested in meeting with the president-elect at Guantanamo Bay, and
had told an interviewer Cubans could “send [Obama] home with the
American flag that waves over” the U.S. base there.
Asked whether he would be willing to visit Washington to speak with
Obama, Castro instead suggested to actor Sean Penn Guantanamo Bay could
serve as “neutral ground” for discussions. Castro also told Penn, in an
interview published in The Nation, that the two leaders “must meet and begin to solve our problems.”
Raul Castroâ€™s brother, longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro,
criticized Obama this spring for his position in favor of altering â€“
but retaining â€“ Washingtonâ€™s nearly five-decade trade embargo on the
Obama came under fire from campaign rivals for his statement at a
CNN/YouTube Democratic primary debate that he would be willing to meet
without preconditions with Castro and other leaders hostile toward the
â€“CNN’s Ed Henry contributed to this report
It’s something that has been on my mind quite a bit these days. I’ve been meaning to post something on it for a couple of weeks now and I just came across the news that 140 Afghans have been killed in 2 days of bombing by insurgents targeting the Canadian army.
I’ve heard a lot of people say we should extend the mission their so we can ‘finish the job’ etc and I’m not quite sure what this means. I thought the job was to help rid the country of the Al Qaeda and train the Afghans on how to do this themselves at some point, not to occupy their country for years and years and leave them with no sense of sovereignty. I know the taliban are bad people but they should not be the reason why Canadians want to extend the mission there. I believe we should be training & supplying the Afghans so they can empower themselves to fight the war on terror in their own home land.
I truly believe by occupying the country with military troops in these “holy lands” with the “infidel”, it will do more harm then good, more suicide bombings, more deaths and it will give the Afghans a false sense of hope all at the same time.
I came across Stephane Dion’s open letter to Stephen Harper on Afghanistan and I couldn’t agree more with the 3 main points:
â€¢ The mission must change â€“ NATO must ensure the rotation of new troops into Kandahar so that Canadian troops can shift in February 2009 to training of the Afghan National Army and police, and protection of reconstruction efforts;
â€¢ The mission must end â€“ we must have a clear end date of February 2011, not a further review date that will lead us down the path of a never-ending mission; and
â€¢ The mission must be about more than the military â€“ there is no exclusively military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan so our efforts must be balanced between defence, diplomacy and development.
Anyone else have any thoughts?
LONDON (AFP) – The death penalty is a violation of fundamental human rights, and it should be abolished around the world,‘s wrote in a comment piece in The Guardian on Tuesday.
Tutu, alaureate and former archbishop of , was writing ahead of a vote on a draft resolution at the United Nations General Assembly calling for a moratorium on executions with the ultimate goal of abolishing the practice later this month.
“I am delighted that the death penalty is being removed from the globe,” Tutu wrote, referring to steadily rising numbers of countries that have abolished capital punishment in either law or practice.
“The death penalty … says that to kill in certain circumstances is acceptable, and encourages the doctrine of revenge.
“If we are to break these cycles, we must remove government-sanctioned violence.”
According to Giuseppe Manzo, a counsellor at‘s UN mission, 72 countries co-sponsored a draft resolution on the death penalty which was circulated earlier this month, ahead of a vote by the full 192-member assembly.
“The time has come to abolish the death penalty worldwide,” Tutu wrote.
“The case for abolition becomes more compelling with each passing year.”
Two previous attempts to secure adoption of such a resolution in the General Assembly failed in 1994 and 1999.
According to human rights group Amnesty International, 133 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, while 64 countries and territories retain and use capital punishment, although the number of countries which actually execute prisoners in any one year is much smaller.
“In country after country, it (capital punishment) is used disproportionately against the poor or against racial or ethnic minorities,” Tutu wrote in The Guardian.
“It is often used as a tool of political repression. It is imposed and inflicted arbitrarily. It is an irrevocable punishment, resulting inevitably in the execution of people innocent of any crime.
“It is a violation of fundamental human rights.”
It’s that time of year again, when the rest of the world votes against the US embargo against Cuba. It will be interesting to see if a new American President will help at all towards removing the embargo or at the very least, loosen it up a bit, or will they cave to the pressure of the CANF?
HAVANA: Cuba is confident that most of the world will condemn the U.S. trade embargo against the island in a U.N. vote on Wednesday, but it doesn’t expect any change as long as U.S. President George W. Bush remains in power.
Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said the United States has repeatedly ignored the resolution in previous years and, in the current political climate, is likely to do so again.
“We don’t have even a millimeter of hope that the blockade will be reduced or weakened in Bush’s remaining two years,” he told The Associated Press before flying to U.N. headquarters in New York via Canada on Monday. “To the contrary, we are prepared for persecution against Cuba to increase.”
The U.N. General Assembly has condemned the U.S. trade and travel sanctions against communist Cuba for 14 straight years, urging the United States to end the policy. Last year’s U.N. resolution was approved by a 182-4 vote, with Micronesia abstaining and only the United States, Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau opposed.
“We are very hopeful that the international community will give forceful support to the battle of the Cuban people” once again, Perez Roque said.
The minister acknowledged that the vote is mainly symbolic since it hasn’t lead to a change in U.S. policy, but said it nonetheless has “great political value.”
It also serves to show that the United States is isolated in its policies, he said.
“The U.S. blockade is a symbol without equal of tyranny, arrogance, and lack of scruples,” he said.
The embargo severely affects Cuba’s economy, foreign trade, and health, education and cultural sectors. The island’s government says it has lost US$86 billion (â‚¬67 billion) in trade since the first U.S. sanctions were imposed in 1960, a year after the Cuban revolution thrust Fidel Castro into power.
The worst moment in the embargo’s long history, however, is right now, Perez Roque said.
“This vote coincides with the moment in which the blockade is being applied in the most ferocious and strict way, with more fury and hatred than ever,” he said.
The Bush administration has steadily tightened the embargo. This cost the island more than US$4 billion (â‚¬3 billion) over the last year, said Perez Roque, who cited tighter scrutiny of nickel exports and Cuban use of dollars in international transactions as well as decreased travel to Cuba by Americans, particularly Cuban-Americans, afraid of sanctions.
U.S. officials defend the embargo â€” which allows the sale of some U.S. food and medicine to Cuba â€” saying unfettered trade and travel to the island would prop up Castro’s communist government. They say Cuba’s imprisonment of dissidents and restrictions on economic and political freedoms justify the policy, aimed at pushing Castro and his associates out.
Critics say the embargo, launched during the Cold War, is outdated and has not worked, given that Castro’s government remains in power and the nation is still communist. They also point out that the United States trades with other communist countries such as China and Vietnam.
Perez Roque said that a spotlight will shine on the U.S. government’s “cruel” policies on Wednesday at the U.N. vote.
“On one side, there’s the empire, militarily and economically powerful but void of any noble ideas,” he said of the United States. “On that side will be the government that violates international laws … and believes in pre-emptive war.
“On the other side will be Cuba and the countries that support Cuba, those of us who believe in a multilateral world … and all people’s right to peace.”
Democrats and free-trade Republicans in the U.S. Congress also have pushed for easing the sanctions, but they have yet to make headway against an administration determined to keep up the pressure.
Perez Roque said a victory by Democrats in Tuesday’s U.S. elections could help, but doesn’t envision major change regarding Cuba until Americans choose a new leader in 2008.
He’s being called the “Rush Limbaugh” of the left. Michael Moore already takes a beating from right-winger’s and leftists are getting pissed off because he brings no credibility to them.
I understand that his films have a lot of propaganda, inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and are almost completely one sided and doesn’t present facts objectively which make his films far from what a ‘real’ documentary should be. He masterfully edits his films to sensationalize them (although this done in a lot of movies and so-called documentaries).
Thought I’d post some good links while I enjoy my Stella and Juan Lopez no.2.
The U.S. will buy gas from Venezuela and accept 5million in dollars in aid but are giving some lame excuse about accepting doctors and medicine from Cuba and other Latin America countries because they might lack the nescessary “certification”.
Cuba could have been in the affected areas within 1 hour. Oxfam and the U.N both have recognized Cuba as a leader in disaster response.
In the football world, Juventus stopper Gigi Buffon has stuck up for displaced Juventus and Azzuri teammate Alex Del Piero.
I think it would be best if Del Piero was dealt to a team where he would get 1st team action the entire season where he can display to Azzuri coach Marcelo Lippi he could play in the 2006 World Cup.
Whats going on? A whole lot of drama is what’s going on. From Hurricane Katrina to the stampede in Iraq where almost 1000 people died.
I was sent an interesting link to Michael Moore’s site where he has an open letter to President Bush asking him where all the military choppers and national guard reservers are. They could’ve been used in New Orleans.
To me it seems pretty strange how the rescue plan went down in New Orleans. You’d think they would have planes there to help evacuate people to other parts of the country. Where they could setup some sort of refugee camp which would obviously be funded by the federal government. Why can’t the richest country in the world get this done? Or at least something of the sort. It’s pretty amazing that a country can spend billions upon billions on weapons and more billions on war but cannot put together a proper rescue plan when one of their states that they obviously know is susceptible to major flooding in the event of a hurricane. Pretty mind boggling to me, maybe I’m being a bit naive but I think a lot more could/can be done.
The looting doesn’t suprise me one bit. I don’t condone the violence that is going on but If I was living in poverty you’d probably see me running out of Wal-Mart with anything I could carry. 😐
I truly hope Katrina triggers some sort of energy-conserving plans for the U.S. and that Bush will stop ignoring science and get with the program on environmental matters.
What also bothers me is that America started to call the hurricane “their tsunami”. I’m sorry but there is no comparison, even at this early stage. 250,000+ lost their lives because of that tsunami, just doesn’t feel right comparing the two.
Now on to something a little lighter….
My all-time favorite hip-hop band Public Enemy will have their album Fear of a Black Planet enshrined for preservation by the Library of Congress. The 2nd hip-hop album to make it, the 1st was The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5. As a huge fan of theirs, I’m very proud! P.E. always keeps it real and Chuck D has always made me think.
Fear Of A Black Planet Chosen by Library Of Congress
First the seminar at NYU for It Takes A Nation, now this. The Library of Congress names Fear Of A Black Planet as one of the 50 selected recorded works to be enshrined for preservation. In the 3rd year of these recorded selections on 50 situations are chosen per year. Before this only one other rap record was chosen, The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5. Chuck D who attended the event on Capitol Hill stated ‘ theres more fantastic music in our past than our future so far, and we’re honored to believe theres no future without recognition of the past’.
Pat Robertson has lost it. Here he calls for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Robertson calls Chavez a “strong-arm dictator” and Venezuela is “a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.” Maybe Pat is just frustrated because it costs so much for him to fuel up his SUV?
This is all news for me. Last time I checked, Hugo Chavez was democratically elected and current polls indicate his popularity in his country is at about 70%. He’s a strong opponent of the U.S’s foreign policy and has made no bones about it, especially after a U.S-backed coup briefly removed him from office. His party is a socialist-democratic who have made sweeping reforms in Venezuela (land reforms, new constitution, removing political corruption). Not such a bad guy if you read about what he has done for his country.
I guess when your the worlds 5th largest oil exporter and have strong ties to Castro, your going to be high on the U.S’s hitlist. Already, for the 1st time ever too, the U.S defense minister is visiting Paraguay and Peru to persuade those countries to isolate Venezuela and Cuba.
Pat Robertson –
“We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator,” he continued. “It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”
“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it,” Robertson said. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”
Thou shall not kill, Patty….
Heres the official article.
This is just not the guy the U.S should have representing them at the U.N. . I’m totally for having someone in the U.N shake things up a bit over there but a known bully like John Bolton – who just happens to be a Bush cronie is not the right person.
He was the same guy who wrote a report about Iraq having weapons etc but also said Cuba was stock-piling bio-logical weapons and conspiring with other countries doing the same – a report that Jimmy Carter (head of a human rights committee) rubbished after his visit to Cuba.
Now this regarding his report of nukes in Iraq that he forgot about…
“Mr. Bolton’s excuse that he `didn’t recall being interviewed by the State Department’s Inspector General’ is simply not believable,” the letter said.
Read more here