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Jonathan Nack reports from Havana:
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans demonstrated unmistakeable enthusiasm while marching in the Cuban capitol on May Day – International Workers Day. Marchers chanted, danced, sang songs, and blew horns throughout the festive march. It was a clear statement of support for the Cuban government. CBS News reported an estimated 600,000 participated. Trade unionists, community groups, members of cooperatives, and even unions of small businesses demonstrated their support for the Cuban Revolution.
The main slogan for this year's May Day mobilization was, “the unity of the workers is the guarantee of the revolution.” Another prominent slogan urged the building of a more efficient and prosperous socialism. The march was organized by the government, but had a largely informal character. Most of the signs, banners, and numerous giant puppets appeared to be homemade. The march began in the early morning, no doubt to avoid the midday heat. It was basically completed by noon. Cuban President Raul Castro presided over the event, waiving to the marchers from the reviewing stand.
International supporters of the revolution who came from many countries were quite visible. Latin American international contingents were the most prominent, particularly from Colombia, Venezuela and Honduras. Images of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and, of course, that of Ché Guevara, were emblazoned on the t-shirts of many of the marchers.
On April 17, International Day of Peasant Resistance, and to mark the 30th anniversary of the Movimento Sem Terra (Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil, Bay Area delegates from the 6th MST Congress presented a report on what they had experienced and learned during their trip. The presentation at La Peña in Berkeley took a look at many aspects of the MST and the difficult and sometimes deadly struggle for poverty reduction and agrarian reform in Brazil.
Jonathan Nack writes:
Sensational reporting on opposition protests in Venezuela has been featured by the corporate mainstream media over the past three weeks. There are accounts of repression of protesters who are calling for the “exit” of President Nicholas Maduro because of rising inflation, rampant crime, shortages of consumer goods, and mismanagement of the economy to the point of collapse. Eighteen people have been reported to have been killed in connection with the protests. The government, and government aligned “colectivo” thugs are blamed. The mainstream media's narrative is that the Venezuelan government has caused this crisis, because it is a dictatorship that has ruined Venezuela's economy in a failed attempt to impose Cuban style socialism. Slowly, alternative narratives which challenge the mainstream media's accounts of current events and their context, are emerging from the internet, some journalists, and grassroots solidarity activists.
A small group of such activists gathered for an emergency street rally in the heart of San Francisco's Latino community, the 24th Street and Mission Street BART Plaza, on February, 17, 2014. The rally was called to protest the one-sided media coverage of events unfolding in Venezuela; to denounce plots to destabilize the Venezuelan government and economy in an attempt to precipitate a U.S. backed coup; and to express solidarity with the Venezuelan based international Bolivarian revolutionary movement.
The Center for Political Education organized a report back by Carolina Morales about her recent visit. The March 6 event also commemorated the one year anniversary of the death of President Hugo Chavez.
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S.F. Rally in Solidarity with Venezuela and the Bolivarian Process |
March 6 Event Announcement
The Obama administration’s push to modernize U.S. ports to accommodate huge new ships that can pass through the widened Panama Canal worries environmentalists who believe U.S. coastlines will be subjected to enormous damage and coastal residents will face increased health risks. For marine life already threatened by shipping traffic, like the majestic right whale, the odds are even tougher.
Thousands gathered in the pre-dawn hours for the Indigenous Peoples Annual Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) on November 28. This was the 44th year that the event was held to commemorate the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, according to Morning Star Gali, one of the event organizers and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pit River Tribe.
In addition to the Yaqui Deer Dancers, the event featured the Round Valley Reservation Pomo Dancers and Aztec Dancers. Speakers included LaNada War Jack, one of the original Alcatraz occupiers, Ann Marie Sayers from the Ohlone Indian Tribe, Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Two Kettle Lakota and one of the original members of the American Indian Movement, and Radley Davis and Mickey Gimmel of the Pit River Tribe.
“As we gather today to celebrate, we do not celebrate the re-write of history that has become Thanksgiving," said Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council. "We celebrate our survival as indigenous people. In reality, on this day so long ago, 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Nation were slaughtered during their sacred Green Corn ceremonies by Pilgrims they had saved during the winter months with their own food."
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