The Weight of Thought

Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro called Friday for long-time ally North Korea and the United States to avoid hostilities on the Korean Peninsula.

“If war breaks out there, the people of both parts of the peninsula will be terribly sacrificed, without benefit to all or either of them,” he said in a column published in Cuban state media.

“Now that (North Korea) has demonstrated its technical and scientific achievements, we remind her of her duties to the countries which have been her great friends, and it would be unjust to forget that such a war would particularly affect more than 70 per cent of the population of the planet.” Mr. Castro, 86, reminded the United States of its duty to avoid a clash, amid mounting tensions this year between North and South Korea.

“If a conflict of that nature should break out there, the government of Barack Obama in his second mandate would be buried in a deluge of images which would present him as the most sinister character in the history of the United States,” Mr. Castro said. “The duty of avoiding war is also his and that of the people of the United States.” Cuba is one of the last remaining allies of the communist government in Pyongyang.

Though sidelined by the Secret Service scandal, last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, was an event of considerable significance. There are three major reasons: Cuba, the drug war and the isolation of the United States.

A headline in the Jamaica Observer read, “Summit shows how much Yanqui influence had waned.” The story reports that “the big items on the agenda were the lucrative and destructive drug trade and how the countries of the entire region could meet while excluding one country–Cuba.”

The meetings ended with no agreement because of U.S. opposition on those items–a drug-decriminalization policy and the Cuba ban. Continued U.S. obstructionism may well lead to the displacement of the Organization of American States by the newly-formed Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, from which the United States and Canada are excluded.

Cuba had agreed not to attend the summit because otherwise Washington would have boycotted it. But the meetings made clear that U.S. intransigence would not be long tolerated. The U.S. and Canada were alone in barring Cuban participation, on grounds of Cuba’s violations of democratic principles and human rights.

Latin Americans can evaluate these charges from ample experience. They are familiar with the U.S. record on human rights. Cuba especially has suffered from U.S. terrorist attacks and economic strangulation as punishment for its independence – its “successful defiance” of U.S. policies tracing back to the Monroe Doctrine.

May Day Protests Around the World Pt.2 

Obama Refuses to Back Growing Call for Drug Legalization to Stem Spreading Violence in Latin America

US Isolated at Summit of Americas

Alex Main: From Cuba to the war on drugs, only Canada supports US policy

Late last year, the Central Intelligence Agency explained to Judge Kessler of the US District Court in Washington DC that releasing the final volume of its three-decade-old history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs debacle would “confuse the public,” and should be withheld because it is a “predecisional” document.    Wow.  And I thought that I had heard them all.

On the 50th anniversary of the Bay of Pigs invasion, the National Security Archivefiled a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for the release of a five-volume CIA history of the Bay of Pigs affair.  In response to the lawsuit, the CIA negotiated to release three volumes of the history — the JFK Assassination Records Review Board had already released Volume III– with limited redaction, currently available on the National Security Archive’s website.  At the time, the Director of the National Security Archive’s Cuba Documentation project, Peter Kornbluh, quipped that getting historic documents released from the CIA was “the bureaucratic equivalent of passing a kidney stone.”   He was right.  The Agency refused to release the final volume of this history, and the National Security Archive is not giving up on the fight.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hinted that the U.S. may be behind a “very strange” bout of cancer affecting several leaders aligned with him in South America.

Chavez, speaking a day after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, said the Central Intelligence Agency was behind chemical experiments in Guatemala in the 1940s and that it’s possible that in years to come a plot will be uncovered that shows the U.S. spread cancer as a political weapon against its critics.

Aging Cuban revolutionary praises Raul Castro’s speech proposing economic major changes and term limits for leaders.

Castro’s doctors and nurses are the backbone of the fight against cholera