Sunday, October 23, 2016

Achieng Abura Death: Kenyans Pay Tribute to Music Star
21 October 2016
BBC World Service

Kenya's Afro-jazz singer Achieng Abura performs one of her songs at the Nairobi's Carnivore 13 March 2004 restaurant, where she is trying to popularise her music especially among the youth who are used to the hip-hop style.Image copyrightAFP

Tributes are pouring in for Kenya's afro-jazz star Achieng Abura after she died of an undisclosed illness at a hospital in Nairobi on Thursday.

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta described her as an "inspiring figure" whose death was a "big blow".

She was the lead singer of the main anthem for celebrations marking the adoption a new constitution in 2013.

A fellow singer said her death was cruel at a time when her son, who had sickle cell disease, "needed her most".

"The gap she has left will never be filled," Princess Jully told Kenya's Standard newspaper.

The newspaper quoted a family source as saying that Ms Abura was admitted to the intensive care unit, before she died on Thursday.

On 7 October, Ms Abura wrote on her Facebook account that she had lost more than 50kg (eight stone) in the last three years and she felt weak.

"Walking is a problem with pains all over. Doctor says I must add 30kg then lose it as I exercise and firm up," she wrote.

"The irony of life. I was not even losing weight intentionally! I allowed life to get the better of me. Learn from my mistakes." she added.

Ms Abura started as a gospel singer, releasing her debut album, I Believe, in 1990. She later branched out into afro-jazz and afro-fusion, with her last album, Rebirth, released earlier this year.

In a statement, Mr Kenyatta said her death was a deep loss to the nation.

"But even as we mourn Ms Abura, let us also celebrate her life and achievements. She was a good and inspiring figure in the music industry, and a great mentor to upcoming musicians," he added.

The Standard newspaper reports that popular signer Suzzana Owiyo visited Ms Abura in hospital on Wednesday and described her condition as unstable.

Kenya had lost one of it "greatest" musicians, it quoted Ms Owiyo as saying.

Ms Abura's exact age was unclear, but she was believed to be in her early fifties when she died.
US Election 2016: Presidential Race Goes Down the Drain
Anthony Zurcher
North America reporter
BBC World Service
15 October 2016

The second week of October is likely to be remembered as the moment when the 2016 presidential campaign went careening off the rails and spinning into the void.

Pundits and election wags love to talk about the so-called "October surprise" - a last-minute revelation that turns an election upside down. This October, the only surprise seems to be a day without surprises.

Here are just some of the highlights of a week that will likely cast a shadow over US politics for years to come.

If there were any doubts about the direction the second US presidential debate was going to take on Sunday night, they were dispelled an hour before showtime, when Donald Trump held an impromptu press conference with women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual assault.

The striking thing is that while the former president's sexual history was broached by the Republican, it probably wasn't the most eye-popping, norm-breaking moment of the debate.

That, instead, came when Mr Trump said that Hillary Clinton feared his presidency because his election would lead to her imprisonment.

"Such incendiary talk is an affront to elementary democratic decency and a breach of the boundaries of American political discourse," writes conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer.

In the days since the debate, Mr Trump has only increased the voltage. Where once he used to downplay his crowd's "lock her up" chants, now he eggs them on.

"She has to go to jail," he said at a Pennsylvania rally.

Gone is any semblance of moderation or talk of pivot and restraint. It's red meat from here on out.

Parade of the accusers

While Mr Trump's embrace of "lock her up" rhetoric received the lion's share of condemnation from the left and the right, that debate moment likely won't have the greatest impact on the final month of the campaign. That (dubious) honour goes to his assertion that his secretly recorded discussion of how he made unwelcome advances on women was "just talk".

Such a blanket denial has prompted a steady stream of women to come forward to assert that Mr Trump's actions do, in fact, reflect his candid words. Jessica Leeds, who accused Mr Trump of fondling her on a plane, said she practically jumped out of her skin when she heard Mr Trump deny any improper behaviour.

The Trump campaign has promised that it will release evidence that the accusers are fabricating their claims - and Mr Trump in several speeches has issued blanket denials. So far, however, the sum total of evidence levelled against the growing list of women coming forward is a discussion of the mobility of airline armrests, an insistence that Mr Trump wouldn't have enough private time with the women in question to do anything untoward and, most amazingly, Mr Trump's own assertion that one of the women wasn't attractive enough to catch his eye.

"Believe me, she would not be my first choice," he said at a North Carolina rally on Friday.

Believe me, that line isn't going to win him any votes.

Hacked to pieces

You'd be hard-pressed to notice over the din of the travelling circus the Trump campaign has become, but the Clinton team also spent the week weathering a scandal of its own. Thanks to the release by Wikileaks of emails possibly acquired by Russian hackers, the public has been given an inside view of the Clinton campaign - and the picture it paints is often unflattering.

Campaign operatives obsess over messaging and even individual tweets, they mull over negative campaign tactics, try to resolve staff infighting and speculate on ways to inspire a liberal revolt within the Catholic Church.

The emails - assuming they are authentic - contain a full opposition-research dossier on primary opponent Bernie Sanders and staff-culled highlights of the most controversial portions of Mrs Clinton's speech to Wall Street banks that feature her pining for a hemispheric free-trade, open-borders zone.

They also show the campaign's at-times cosy relationship with mainstream journalists and television pundits - including evidence that former Democratic campaign operative (and current party head) Donna Brazile may have given the Clinton team a sneak peek at a question from a televised town hall forum during the Democratic primary.

Trump v the world

Let's face it, email controversies aside, right now it's just Donald Trump's world and we're all living in it. Unfortunately for the Republican nominee, that particular world is one with enemies around every corner, conspiring to seize what is rightfully his.

After announcing that he was free of "shackles" in a tweet on Tuesday morning, Mr Trump has proceeded to pick fights with members of his own party's leadership, condemn what he sees as a hopelessly biased media and warn of an international cabal that aims to subvert American democracy.

He regularly tells his supporters that they should carefully monitor polling places in "other communities" for signs of malfeasance. His own website currently has a sign-up for volunteer "election observers".

"This election will determine whether we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged," Mr Trump said at a rally in Florida on Thursday.

His campaign, he said, was at war with "a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities".

Mr Trump's latest remarks have some commentators saying he's moved from anti-Semitic dog whistles to a fully fledged bullhorn.

"Whatever Trump is thinking or means, the white nationalists and neo-Nazis he's activated will hear his speech with glee because he's channeling textbook anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, with all the code words and emotional tenor," writes liberal blogger Josh Marshall. "These are the kinds of conspiratorial, revanchist fantasies that spur violence and attacks on the mundane ordinariness of democracy itself."

The one-two Obama punch

This week also featured two of the Democratic Party's biggest guns unloading their most pointed fusillades.

President Barack Obama, who has seen his approval ratings soar to their highest point in nearly four years, appears to be running out of pejoratives to describe the Republican nominee. On Wednesday he said Mr Trump's comments on women would disqualify him from employment at a 7-Eleven convenience store, let alone the presidency.

Perhaps more concerning for Republicans up and down the ballot, however, was Mr Obama's decision to try to tie the party as a whole to what could be Mr Trump's sinking electoral ship.

"They don't get credit for at the very last minute when, finally, the guy they nominated and supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less act on," Mr Obama said in Ohio on Thursday.

"You can't wait until that finally happens and then say that's too much and then think somehow you're showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate."

Those remarks stand in sharp contrast with the tone Mr Obama took at the Democratic National Convention in July, when he said that Mr Trump didn't embody Republican or conservative values.

Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama launched her own attack on Mr Trump - and, if anything, it was more personal and more deadly. She has the advantage of being able to speak to Americans not as a politician but as an ordinary citizen (who happens to live in the White House, of course). And in this case, she was speaking to the nation as an outraged woman.

"This is not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election," she said of Mr Trump's surreptitiously recorded comments. "This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behaviour."

That her speech took place shortly before Mr Trump's free-form conspiracy rant, media condemnation and blanket denial of sexual assault allegations just made the contrast more stark.

Radioactive fallout

Rhetoric and media furore aside, what this election really boils down to is a numbers game. Who can marshal financial and manpower resources and who can't? Who's got the votes in key states, and who doesn't? Messaging and momentum matter, but in the end it's only important insofar as it puts ballots in the box and numbers on the board on election day.

According to current polling, it's been a miserable week for Donald Trump. His numbers are tanking nationally, as Hillary Clinton has stretched her lead from a virtual dead heat before the first debate to high single digits.

The story in swing states is equally troubling for the Republican. He still leads in Iowa, but the pivotal battlegrounds of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina are trending away from him. Then there are states that are normally safe for Republicans - Arizona, Georgia, Utah, Alaska and Indiana - that are showing signs of tightening.

A recent poll of Texas, which Republicans have carried in every presidential election since 1976 and hasn't elected a Democrat to state-wide office since 1994, shows Mr Trump only ahead by four points.

With less than a month until election day, time is running out for Mr Trump. Next week's presidential debate could be the last opportunity he has to shake up the race - but if the past two face-offs are any indication, they are more likely to cement Mrs Clinton's lead.

Pundits and prognosticators have been wrong about Mr Trump many times in the past. His primary campaign proved to be one long refutation of conventional wisdom. After this at-times-stomach-turning week, however, it's looking more and more like it would take an unprecedented reversal of fortune for the New York businessman to add the White House to his real estate empire.
Muammar Gaddafi, Another Majority World Martyr
By Tortilla con Sal

Libya now is submerged in political chaos, economic ruin and universal violence. | Photo: Reuters

22 October 2016

Hugo Chavez condemned the attack on Libya because they recognized the fascism and racism underlying the West’s phony rhetoric.

Muammar Gaddafi will always be a hero of a majority world, a world which continues still, after centuries, to pay the human, social, economic, cultural and now environmental costs of Western capitalism and pseudo-democracy. In retrospect, the West’s 2011 attacks on Libya, Syria and Ivory Coast, even more than the onslaught against Iraq and Afghanistan, definitely confirmed the West's bankruptcy in political, economic, social, cultural and moral terms.  After the West’s destructive neocolonial campaign of 2011, no one can take seriously Western political and intellectual leaders or the foreign news coverage of Western media, of almost any variety.

NATO Destruction of Libya

This year’s fifth anniversary of Muammar Gaddafi's murder is a reminder full of implicit rebuke for just about everyone involved in Libya’s destruction. Even at the time, it was clear to honest observers that the disgraceful UN Resolution 1973 was based on media and NGO falsehoods, ideological manipulation and brute neocolonial power. It cynically urged all countries to search for peace when everyone involved knew for sure that the Western powers were intervening militarily to overthrow the Libyan Jamahiriya. The African Union was completely humiliated when its call for negotiations was treated with scandalous, open contempt by the Western governments.

The leadership of Russia and China, neglecting their own interests, accepted Western assurances of good faith despite everything they knew, even then, of the West’s double-dealing over Ukraine, Iran and North Korea. Now President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping are paying the price of their predecessors’ culpable naivety. President Bashar Assad of Syria recognized Libya’s terrorist dominated transitional government. Iran and Hezbollah withheld support for Libya’s Jamahiriya mainly on the pretext of the decades-old murder of Imam Moussa al-Sadr. In fact, the Libyan authorities most likely to have been responsible for that murder were the traitorous leaders of the Libyan rebels.

Now, Libya’s terrorist leaders have repaid Syria, Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah with rivers of those countries’ martyrs’ blood, while Western governments and media of all political shades commit the same sadistic mass-murdering crimes and repeat the same shameless, cynical lies in Syria as they did against Libya. No one can legitimately deny that Muammar Gaddafi's predictions back in March 2011 were completely, presciently accurate. In March 2011, he said: “I play, personally, a stabilizing role in the African region. If the situation in Libya is destabilized then Al Qaida will take command here. Libya will turn into a second Afghanistan and the terrorists will roam across Europe.”

Libya now is submerged in political chaos, economic ruin and universal violence. Al Qaida is rife in Europe, while Arab and African migration to Europe has become an endless, out of control human catastrophe. The consequent reactions in the West to these events have multiplied even more the harm and suffering unleashed by NATO’s attacks on Libya, Syria and Ivory Coast. Support for fascist ideology has grown across the United States and Europe, perhaps most clearly in the frightening and disturbing U.S. election campaign. There, Western media have mounted against Donald Trump the kind of hate campaign normally reserved for recalcitrant foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, Bashar Assad or Muammar Gaddaffi.

The world watches two mediocre, corrupt, deceitful, mercenary, stereotypical Yankees vying to succeed a genocidal, cynical, opportunist president long ago bought off by Wall Street. That is the class of political leadership ruling the West and its corporate-run pseudo-democracies. U.S. presidential candidate Henry Wallace’s words in 1945 about American fascism ring truer than ever now, "The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”

Hugo Chavez and his fellow ALBA country leaders condemned the attack on Libya because they recognized the fascism and racism underlying the West’s phony rhetoric about democracy and freedom. Likewise, Comandante Chávez and now President Nicolas Maduro lead the current ALBA leaders in their condemnation of NATO’s war on Syria. They do so because they are familiar with the decades-long history of destabilization by Western powers trying to overthrow Libya and Syria’s governments via low-profile intimidation and terrorism turning finally in 2011 to outright terrorist war .

The ALBA country leaders also recognize that a clear majority in Libya supported the Jamahiriya, just as in Syria a clear majority supports President Assad. They are also well aware of the huge support the Libyan Jamahiriya provided for the fight against apartheid in South Africa, for sovereign African economic development and of Syria’s role defending Palestinian nationhood against the genocidal Western powers. International leaders like Nelson Mandela, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega recognized those realities and how completely bogus alleged Western governments’ human rights concerns invariably are.

Those same governments’ leaders destroyed Iraq, permitted Israel’s genocidal attacks on Gaza, Georgia’s massacre of people in South Ossetia and the endless mass murder in Afghanistan and Somalia and elsewhere. They control the UN’s mission in Haiti, where U.N. forces have committed various massacres of civilians and polluted the country with cholera. They maintain the infamous UN mission to the Congo where over the decades UN forces have been accomplices to genocide. These are merely the most obvious cases. Worse than their countries’ governments, almost all Western progressives and radicals,  even with all that recent history, attacked Libya’s Jamahiriya and its leader. They retailed every last NATO propaganda falsehood while hypocritically proclaiming themselves neutral.

The journalist Abdel Baset bin Hamel puts the matter succinctly and well, noting: “The Libyan experience of over 43 years under Muammar Gadaffi remains without precedent. The country regularly experienced reforms responding to the difficulties emerging from time to time in the fields of education, healthcare or infrastructure. The reason for the crisis in the country now is the change imposed by outside forces with international consent….It is clear that the massive military campaign was not aimed at resolving the crisis since in Sirte and Benghazi Libyans are still being killed. On the other hand, that military campaign facilitated the theft of billions of dollars from Libyans...From a political viewpoint, Libya was the most independent country in the region… What happened was not a revolution but a catastrophe for which Libyans are dying today... Gaddafi took the initiative to work out how to unite the people under a single flag. He had the gift of leadership. He was seen more as a leader than as some kind of functionary. In other words, he was unique.”

Bin Hamel's remarks are borne out by Muammar Gaddafi's martyrdom while fighting NATO. His family has just published his last call to them: “Hana, Aisha, it’s your Dad... I want to leave you honor not infamy. Better fire and death than ignominy… Tonight I’m going to launch an operation to try and break out of Sirte. Certainly, I could die doing so but don’t be sad. Don’t cry. Rather express your joy publicly, Hana, Aisha, Safiyya. This martyrdom will seal now a battle against 40 States in permanent aggression against us for 40 years.”
Iraqi Forces Launch New Advance Against Islamic State as Mosul Battle Continues
Photos: The battle for Mosul, Iraq
Associated Press

Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, launched coordinated military operations in October 2016 to wrest the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have launched a new offensive on a town near Mosul as part of a massive operation aimed at retaking the country's second largest city from the Islamic State group.

The Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, said they launched a dawn offensive Sunday on two fronts to the northeast of Mosul, near the town of Bashiqa.

Maj. Gen. Haider Fadhil, of Iraq's special forces, said they had also launched an assault on Bashiqa, surrounding it and seizing parts of the town. He said the Kurds had captured two villages near Bashiqa and a small Shiite shrine in the area.

Over the last week, Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been battling IS in a belt of mostly uninhabited towns and villages around Mosul, contending with roadside bombs, snipers and suicide truck bombs.

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The Mosul offensive involves more than 25,000 Iraqi ground forces as well as U.S.-led coalition aircraft and advisers. It is expected to take weeks, if not months, to drive IS from Mosul, which is home to more than a million civilians.

Bashiqa is close to a military base of the same name where some 500 Turkish troops are training Sunni and Kurdish fighters for the Mosul offensive.

The presence of the Turkish troops has angered Iraq, which says it never gave them permission to enter the country and has called on them to withdraw. Turkey has refused the demand, insisting that it play a role in retaking Mosul from IS.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has visited both countries in recent days, and arrived in the Kurdish regional capital Irbil on Sunday, where he was expected to discuss the issue with Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani.

After meeting with Turkey's leaders, Carter had announced an "agreement in principle" for Turkey to have a role in the operation.

But Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi appeared to bat that idea down when he met with Carter on Saturday, insisting that Mosul was an "Iraqi battle."

"I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle and the Iraqis will liberate Mosul and the rest of the territories," he said.

The forces taking part in the Mosul offensive include Iraqi troops, the peshmerga, Sunni tribal fighters and state-sanctioned Shiite militias.

Many fear the operation could heighten tensions between Iraq's different communities, which are allied against IS but divided over a host of other issues, including the fate of territories near mostly Sunni Mosul that are claimed by the largely autonomous Kurdish region and the central government.

Associated Press
AT&T Agrees to Buy Time Warner for $85.4 Billion
New York Times
OCT. 22, 2016

The headquarters of Time Warner in New York. Today’s Time Warner is the byproduct of many rounds of spinoffs and acquisitions. Credit Adrees Latif/Reuters

In the world of media, bigger remains better.

So in the wake of Comcast’s $30 billion takeover of NBCUniversal and Verizon Communications’ serial acquisitions of the Huffington Post and Yahoo, AT&T has bought one of the remaining crown jewels of the entertainment industry.

The telecommunications giant agreed on Saturday to buy Time Warner, the home of HBO and CNN, for about $85.4 billion, creating a new colossus capable of both producing content and distributing it to millions with wireless phones, broadband subscriptions and satellite TV connections.

The proposed deal is likely to spur yet more consolidation among media companies, which have already looked to partners to get bigger. This year, Lionsgate struck a deal to buy the pay-TV channel Starz for $4.4 billion. And the Redstone family, which controls both CBS and Viacom, has urged the corporate siblings, which split 10 years ago, to consider reuniting.

AT&T and Time Warner said both of their boards unanimously approved the deal.

“When Jeff and I started talking, it became clear to us very quickly that we shared a very similar vision,” Randall L. Stephenson, AT&T’s chief executive, told reporters on a conference call on Saturday, referring to Jeffrey Bewkes, Time Warner’s chief executive. “Time Warner, we believe, is the clear leader in premium content.”

Most analysts and investors have noted that Time Warner was part of one of the biggest merger follies of all time, when it sold itself to AOL at the height of the dot-com boom. That combination — also pitched on the idea of uniting content and the internet — proved unwieldy and was later stripped apart to a few core businesses.

This time, however, the rise of online outlets like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube and the shift of younger customers from traditional media have pressured media companies to seek out consolidation partners. These media companies are anticipating drops in fees from cable service providers and declining revenue from advertisers. Getting bigger would give them more negotiating leverage with both service providers and with advertisers.

Among their top priorities is finding new ways of reaching consumers. HBO, for example, offers its HBO Now service to deliver shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Westworld” to consumers who do not have cable subscriptions.

Even Disney, widely seen as the strongest content company, with brands like Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, has been grappling with how to overcome challenges facing its network channels. ESPN, which long served as a growth engine, is now facing declining ratings and subscriber erosion, putting advertising sales into question.

“The biggest thing that we’re trying to do now is figure out what technology’s role is in distributing the great content that we have,” Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said at a presentation at Boston College on Oct. 5.

Comcast’s takeover of NBC has proved a model for this new world of media deal-making. While the cable giant has occasionally been scrutinized for possible regulatory violations, NBCUniversal has generally thrived under its current ownership, with NBC enjoying a ratings comeback and Universal delivering a wide range of hit films, from blockbusters like “Jurassic World” to dramas like “Straight Outta Compton.”

Still, Time Warner’s deal with AT&T is likely to face tough scrutiny from government regulators increasingly skeptical of power being consolidated among a few titans. Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, indicated on Saturday that he would seek to block the merger if elected “because it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

Over the last decade, Time Warner has spent significant time selling or spinning off AOL, many of the Time Inc. stable of publications, and Time Warner Cable, which was sold to another cable operator. The remaining businesses are HBO, one of the most-admired pay-TV channels; Warner Bros. movie studios; and cable channels that include CNN, TNT, Turner Sports and TBS.

Overseeing much of Time Warner’s downsizing was Mr. Bewkes, for whom Saturday’s agreement serves as validation of sorts. He faced tough questions two years ago when he turned down 21st Century Fox’s bid of $85 a share, arguing that the offer sharply undervalued his company.

Now, Mr. Bewkes has found a suitor willing to offer significantly more — $107.50 a share in cash and stock — and done so at a time when media companies are under pressure to strike their own deals. AT&T’s offer represents a roughly 35 percent premium to where Time Warner’s stock was trading before news reports of the merger talks emerged.

“Time Warner chairman and C.E.O. Jeff Bewkes and his senior management team can see where the entire legacy media world is headed: secular decline,” Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at BTIG, wrote in a research note on Saturday.

Mr. Greenfield added, “We believe Bewkes will end up being remembered as the smartest C.E.O. in sector — knowing when to sell and not overstaying his welcome to maximize value for shareholders.”

The announcement on Saturday also affirms the ambitious deal-making of AT&T. One of the former so-called Baby Bells that arose from the 1982 breakup of the original AT&T, the company has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on acquisitions to reconstitute some of its parent’s empire.

That has included buying DirecTV for $48.5 billion, adding satellite TV subscriptions as an additional source of negotiating leverage with content providers, along with the satellite company’s steady stream of cash.

AT&T has also made other moves to acquire content. It has set up a joint venture with Peter Chernin, a prominent media executive, and the company was one of the bidders for Yahoo this year.

The telecom company has also been working on its own online video service, for which Time Warner’s trove of media could prove enormously helpful. Combining with AT&T is meant to accelerate those efforts, Mr. Bewkes said. “We think this is great for continued innovation in content,” he said during Saturday’s conference call.

Still, AT&T’s biggest rivals have not stood still. Comcast struck an agreement this spring to buy DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion, adding the “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” franchises to its media holdings.

Verizon has charted a different course, focusing more on internet-based properties and advertising technology players rather than traditional media companies. Its $4.8 billion deal to buy Yahoo, rooted in the aging tech company’s hundreds of millions of users, follows previous takeovers of the Huffington Post and AOL.

Not everyone seems persuaded by the latest flurry of deal-making. Disney commented on the deal in a statement late Saturday, saying, “A transaction of this magnitude obviously warrants very close regulatory scrutiny.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, also put out a statement cautioning approval. “I will be looking closely at what this merger means for consumers and their pocketbooks, and whether it stands up to stands up to the rigorous review standards set by the Department of Justice’s antitrust division in the last few years,” he said.

And in a Twitter post on Saturday, Steve Case, the former chief executive of AOL responsible for the doomed merger with Time Warner, wrote of AT&T’s move, “#DejaVu.”

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Zimbabwe Pays Off IMF Arrears
October 22, 2016
Enacy Mapakame Business Correspondent
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe has cleared its arrears with the International Monetary Fund as part of efforts to settle its overdue financial obligations to the multilateral institution.This is a milestone in the country’s endeavour to attract fresh capital.

The IMF said Zimbabwe, which had been in arrears since 2001, last Thursday settled its obligations, amounting to $107,9 million to the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.

The IMF said Zimbabwe transferred part of its SDR holdings kept at the IMF to the PRGT account to clear the arrears.

“Zimbabwe is now current on all its financial obligations to the IMF,” said IMF communications director Mr Gerry Rice in a statement.

In his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement presented last month, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya indicated significant progress had been made towards the re-engagement process to clear the country’s external debt arrears with multilateral financial institutions.

Indications were that Zimbabwe would have cleared arrears by year end.

“Significant work has been recorded to ensure that the country clears its arrears by 31 December 2016. It is critical to note that it is Zimbabwe that owes multilateral and bilateral creditors and not vice versa,” he said.

As at September 2016, the country’s arrears to the IFIs totalled $1,8 billion. Of this, the IMF accounted for $110 million, AfDB- $601 million, IDA- $218 million and IBRD at $896 million.

Dr Mangudya could not be reached for comment as he is away on business in Germany.

External debt arrears clearance will improve Zimbabwe’s country risk premium through reducing its debt overhang.

This will also enhance the country’s access to foreign finance.

Economist Dr Gift Mugano said although Zimbabwe still needs to meet financial obligations with other MFIs such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank, this was a step in the right direction.

“The issue of debt overhang has been serious and our relations with these institutions have been bad because of that,” said Dr Mugano.

“The IMF and WB are like international ‘commissioners of oath’ in business confidence and if we do not pay them they can give us a tag which is bad and difficult to shake off,” he said.

He added, under normal circumstances, the country should be getting fresh capital from the IMF.

However, the multilateral lender does not operate in isolation, said Dr Mugano, as it is still controlled by the world’s super powers with significant voting rights and bias against Zimbabwe.

“It is not a straight jacket,” he said.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Album Immortalizes Lebo Mathosa
By Lesley Mofokeng - Entertainment Editor
Oct 21, 2016

A decade after her untimely death, Lebo Mathosa's voice has been brought back to life.
Kwaito singer Lebo Mathosa. Picture Credit: Gallo Images

On Sunday, it will be exactly 10 years since Mathosa died in a car crash near the Heidelberg off-ramp in Germiston, on the East Rand.

She was 29 years of age. A young talent snuffed out in its prime, she was touted as the next Brenda Fassie because of her sheer genius as a performer after her solo forays following the success of her band Boom Shaka.

Boom Shaka was a pioneering kwaito group consisting of Junior Sokhela, Mathosa, Thembi Seete and Theo Nhlengethwa.

Today, Universal Music released a 15-track dance compilation album, Lebo Remembered, which celebrates her biggest hits such as Benga with Shana, Free with Boom Shaka, Brand New Day and Dangerous.

DJ Christos met Mathosa when she was just 13 and recorded her with Boom Shaka when she was 15. He remembers Mathosa like his own child. Christos remixed I Love Music and Awudede. "I've been recording Lebo all my life," says Christos.

"It doesn't feel like 10 years since she has been gone, [it] still feels like yesterday. She was close to a lot of people and had a special impact. She was like my child. It was sad to lose such a talent and now we can remember her with this album."

Christos says Mathosa could have gone on to become one of the top international acts to come from South Africa. "I think she would have gone jazzy and more experimental, perhaps world music but would not have been confined to a genre."

The music on Lebo Remembered is surprisingly refreshing and entertaining for material recorded over 10 years ago. And this, Christos pins on her work ethic and ambitions.

"I have never met an artist as dedicated as Lebo. She would spend 18 to 20 hours in the studio singing and perfecting the same verse . She was the first one to come into the studio and the last to leave."

Compiler Matwetwe Ntombini says most of the music was sourced from the SABC library and comes as a CD and a DVD of music videos and five live performances. "I would like the listener to walk away with the experience of what it was like to encounter Lebo. She was a dancer, singer and entertainer par excellence, and she was a very sweet child."

Says former band member Nhlengethwa: "It still feels so new [her death]. I miss her and I remember a lot about her. She was amazing, giving and spiritual too. She was everything in my life, I miss hearing her voice and her loving soul. I've accepted that she's gone, but you never forget someone who played a major role in your life."
South Africa Opposition Defends Biased Netherlands-based International Criminal Court
South African foreign minister Tshabalala-Mashabane.

Opposition parties in South Africa are taking the government to court over the decision to leave the International Criminal Court.

The country announced on Friday it was quitting the court because it conflicted with diplomatic immunity laws.

But the opposition says the decision to leave was irrational and procedurally flawed as it was not put to vote in Parliament.

TVC’s Vauldi Carelse reports that Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir wanted for genocide and other atrocities committed in Darfur and now the trigger for South Africa pulling out of the ICC.

Under obligation, the country was supposed to arrest him last year but failed to do so, despite a court order.

South Africa says it’s already given notice to the United Nations and cabinet also informed parliament of its decision.

The country was one of the court’s strongest supporters when it was established 14 years ago. But it’s now become the second African country to announce membership withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

The South African Litigation Centre – who took government to court over Al-Bashir – says this a huge blow for international justice.

Several African countries and the African Union accused the court of bias in its 14 year history there’ve only been five substantive verdicts and all of them against African suspects.
South Africa: Government Formally Withdrawing From ICC
South African Government News

Pretoria — South Africa has formally requested to withdraw from the Rome Statute, a treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

On Wednesday after Cabinet approval, the South African government sent an 'instrument of withdrawal' letter to the United Nations Secretary-General explaining its intention, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha confirmed on Friday.

"Written notice to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court has been submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in accordance with Article 127(1) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

"The withdrawal will take effect one year after the Secretary-General has received the notification. South Africa will remain obligated under the Rome Statute for the duration of the 12 months' notice period," Minister Masutha said.

The Justice and Correctional Services Ministry has already informed in writing the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the NCOP of this executive decision.

Minister Masutha said the decision to withdraw was an executive one.

"Authority to negotiate and enter into agreements is up to executive. But until Parliament withdraws from the Rome Statute, our legal obligations will remain."

The ICC, which opened in July 2002, has 124 member states. It was set up as a means to try war criminals and perpetrators of genocide, who were never tried in their home countries.

South Africa was the first African country to assent to the ICC and adopted the court's founding Rome Statute into domestic law.

However, Minister Masutha said the South African government has found its obligations, with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, at times incompatible with the interpretation given by the ICC.

Other African Union member states have accused the ICC of unfairness in servicing its mandate. They claim the court is targeting African states over other members.

Since its inception, the ICC has opened probes involving eight nations - all of which are African. These are Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda and Mali.

Minister Masutha explained that last year's legal arguments around the failure to detain Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir pinpointed Pretoria's main problem with the ICC obligation to arrest heads of state.

Bashir is wanted by the ICC in connection with alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity over atrocities committed in the Darfur conflict.

Bashir was attending an African Union summit in Johannesburg last year. He was allowed to leave South Africa, even though the High Court in Pretoria had ordered authorities to prevent him from doing so. The Supreme Court of Appeal also dismissed the State's appeal against the high court ruling.

Minister Masutha said an application for leave to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal, set down for hearing at the Constitutional Court on 22 November 2016, will now be withdrawn.

"This is so, especially as the Supreme Court of Appeal has removed the uncertainty around customary international law in relation to diplomatic immunity, in so far as it affects heads of states and others who may be wanted for serious violations of human rights and other serious crimes but who enjoy diplomatic immunity under international customary law."

Elaborating on the reasons behind South Africa's exit from the ICC, Minister Masutha said in exercising its international relations with foreign countries, particularly with countries in which serious conflicts occur, South Africa has been hindered by the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the ICC Act, 2 (Act No 27 of 2002).

"This act and the Rome Statute compel South Africa to arrest persons who may enjoy diplomatic immunity under customary international law but who are wanted by the court.

"South Africa has had to do so, even under circumstances where we are actively involved in promoting peace, stability and dialogue in those countries," said the Minister.

He said the implementation of the Rome Statute of the ICC Act, 2002, is "in conflict and inconsistent" with the provisions of the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, 2001, which provides for the immunities and privileges of diplomatic missions and consular posts and their members, heads of states, special envoys and certain representatives.

"We wish to give effect to the rule of customary international law, which recognises the diplomatic immunity of heads of state and others in order to effectively promote dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflicts wherever they may occur, particularly on the African continent," the Minister said.

Quizzed about South Africa's rationale of choosing the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act over the ICC obligations, Minister Masutha said South Africa's wish is to remain a key player in conflict resolution in Africa.

"What may need to happen is that we host conflicting parties, thus our international legal obligations may hinder our efforts to remain a key player in conflict resolution in Africa."

In order to ensure South Africa's continued ability to conduct active diplomatic relations, a bill proposing the repeal of the Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act, 2002 will soon be tabled in Parliament.

The focus, Minister Masutha said, is on ensuring that South Africa's international law obligations are fully aligned with local law obligations, without contradiction.

Despite sending an instrument of withdrawal letter, Minister Masutha stressed that South Africa remains committed to the fight against impunity and to hold accountable those who have committed crimes against humanity and other serious crimes.

"Our unwavering commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights throughout Africa and elsewhere in the world is further demonstrated by our continued participation in various international and continental human rights instruments."

The Minister said South Africa will work closely with the African Union and with other countries in Africa to strengthen continental bodies, such as the African Court on Human and People's Rights, created to deal with such crimes and to prosecute the perpetrators.

South Africa will continue to actively promote dialogue and the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the African continent and elsewhere.
Marxism and African Literature
October 17, 2016
Opinion & Analysis
Lovemore Ranga Mataire
The Reader
Zimbabwe Herald

In order to appreciate the relevance of Marxism in understanding of African literature, there is need to clearly define what it is, how it manifests in African literature and its future impact on post-colonial literature in Africa. Marxism is an economic and social system based upon the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Angels. The Encarta Reference Library further defines Marxism as “a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies”.

The basic tenets of Marxism include public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange of the same means of distribution. Marxism believes that the oppression of men by men is as a result of unfair distribution of resources which the capitalist society is wont to sustain. Marx proclaimed that history is the chronology of class struggles, wars, and uprisings.

Marx argues that under capitalism the worker has no control over the labour or product which he produces.

He advances the view that a proletariat or worker socialist revolution must occur, where the state (the means by which the ruling class forcibly maintains rule over the other classes) is a dictatorship of the proletariat. Religion, according to Marx, was the response to the pain of being alive, the response to earthly suffering.

In “Towards a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”, Marx says: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feeling of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless circumstances.”

Marx identified the working class or the proletariat as a true revolutionary class, universal in character and acquainted with universal suffering. Post-colonial literature in Africa has been associated with disillusionment by the people because of the new black leadership’s failure in fulfilling the liberation ideals. This disillusionment has manifested itself in fiction by writers like Kenyan Ngugi waThiong’o, Mongo Berti of Mali, Ousmane Sembene of Senegal.

Post-colonial literature is writing which has been “affected by the imperial process from the moment of colonisation to the present day”. Its main characteristics include counteracting alienation and restoring a connection between indigenous people and places through description, narration and dramatisation. It is also concerned with asserting cultural integrity and restores pride in the practices and traditions that were systematically degraded under colonialism.

Another trait associated with post-colonial literature is that it seeks to revise history from the manner in which it was depicted by colonisers as existing “outside of history” in unchanging, timeless societies, unable to progress or develop without their intervention and assistance.

Central to post-colonial African literature is its identification with peasants and the ordinary workers who are viewed as being a lower caste of the social ladder and the ones suffering under the vagaries of a capitalist system.

The literature satirises the new black leadership’s insatiable desire for the accumulation of wealth and its marriage with former colonisers or imperial forces in the continued exploitation of the ordinary people.

An appreciation and understanding of Marxism will reveal that most post-colonial writers have an inclination towards socialism or Marxism as the ideological panacea to the problems outplaying in the post-colonial environment.

Marxism thus becomes the guiding post for writers like Ngugi wa Thiong’o in “Matigari”, “Petals of Blood”, “Devil on the Cross” or “I Will Marry When I Want” and Sembene Ousmane’s” God’s Bits of Woods” in that it is the ordinary people, the peasants, workers or the proletariat who take centre stage.

The collective effort that the characters undertake in raising their consciousness and in a revolutionary spirit endeavour to change the system is synonymous with the dictates of Marxism which advocates for the ownership of the means of resources by the workers. An understanding of Marxism is therefore a prerequisite in the analysis of most post-colonial literature as most writers seem to appropriate some of its basic tenets in their fiction.
Ngugi wa Thiong’o: ‘I Write Because I Have To’
October 16, 2016
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Herald

Ngugi wa Thiong’o was in London to deliver the third John La Rose Memorial Lecture as part of a four-day Afroeurope@ns IV forum, which was celebrating black cultures and identities in Europe. Ngugi generously agreed to be interviewed by New African despite jet lag incurred on a long flight from Los Angeles on the other side of the USA to London.

But that was not the only reason for my trepidation in visiting Ngugi. I was worried that I may be putting to him the same old questions that every journalist asks him. But when I mentioned my misgivings, he just thought for a minute or so and said he would simply think up some new answers, before laughing the whole matter off.

He was staying at The Goodenough Club, in a fine Georgian Square surrounding a park with giant towering sycamore trees (some of the tallest I had seen in London), and coincidentally, the same place where he first stayed when he came to London in 1982 and realised he had to go into exile.

He made that decision after hearing allegations that the government of President Daniel arap Moi planned to assassinate him (or give him “the red carpet treatment” in the government’s own twisted terminology) on his return to Kenya. A few years earlier, in late 1977, Ngugi had been arrested without charge and thrown into jail at the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison.

But even prison did not stop him from writing. Using toilet paper, he wrote Caitaani Mutharabaini (later translated into English as Devil on the Cross). After Amnesty International named him a prisoner of conscience and led an international campaign for his release, Ngugi was freed after a year. But he continued to be hounded by the authorities, being barred from returning to his work of teaching Literature at the University of Nairobi. I began our conversation by discussing the nuts-and-bolts of how he wrote. “How do you go about it?” I asked. “Do you work every day? Do you set yourself a time to write?”

“No, I don’t have a time schedule,” he explained. “I work within what I call my event time; that is, events dictate how much time I can put into it, and when. Of course, it is galling because the reality is that you only have so much time when you are not pursuing the job that gives you your daily bread.”

Not that he truly begrudges the time he has to make for his work, as an academic. “Because I want to teach; I need to meet students. I also have to attend faculty meetings. And these are commitments I cannot change. But other things that I can, I will change to fit in around my writing.”

Putting to him that this sounded quite a disciplined approach, he immediately interjected. “No, I am not disciplined in the sense that I have a regular time, like when you get up in the morning, and set a time to write. But when I have got an idea — yes, then I am disciplined around that idea. I pursue it, I keep at it; I don’t get distracted.”

“Let me say that every time I finish a novel, I have a hard time getting the next idea in my mind, but more importantly, an idea that excites me.”Whether or not the writing process was an easy process for him was the next question. “Do you ever have trouble with the muse?” I asked.

“Yes, this is important, I think. Let me say that every time I finish a novel, I have a hard time getting the next idea forming in my mind, but more importantly, an idea that excites me — that inspires me and makes me want to write it. That takes some time. When it does, I can write it anywhere, any time, on anything.

“It is important for younger writers to know. No matter how many books one has written, all writers will have a block. A block is inevitable. The key thing is to keep at it. Even if you give it a day or two, or a week, you come back to it, but you don’t give up, in other words be resolute — it’s hard work actually.”

Whilst in prison he took the decision to drop English as his primary language to write in, and adopt his mother tongue, Gikuyu. “Yeah, I write in a format that works for me. All my novels, all my fiction, all my drama, and all my poetry — what you might describe as works of ‘fictive imagination’ — I write in Gikuyu. Works of theory, memos, essays etc — I write in English. Occasionally, I might practise writing in Kiswahili, but that is very rare. The moment I get a stable reading public for my works in Gikuyu; and get a reliable publishing interest, I will do everything in Gikuyu or Kiswahili. Translation by me or others will help disseminate the works into other languages, African, European, Asian.”

In fact, Ngugi’s books have now been translated into more than 30 languages, and that has won him world acclaim and his work is the subject of innumerable books, critical monographs and dissertations. Did he have a particular mentor or influence when he started writing?

“Not a particular mentor,” he explained, “but I was impressed a great deal by the works of George Lamming, the Carribbean writer of the early 60s. In the Castle of My Skin was a wonderful novel! It was a very beautiful novel.

“I also liked the works of Peter Abrahams, the South African writer. You know, many people have forgotten his name. He is of the older generation of Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah and knew them well when they were living in London. It was always very clear that he wanted to become a professional writer.

“He was a political activist, in so far as he was interacting with Nkrumah, Kenyatta and others, but his commitment was always to the pen, and his imagination.

“And I have to mention Es’kia Mphahlele. He wrote a very famous autobiography called Down Second Avenue, and in that autobiography or memoir, he wrote about himself and Peter Abrahams being in the same school — St Peters — but Peter Abrahams was senior to him. But Abrahams was known for always talking about how he was going to be a professional writer, like Shakespeare or other writers. Yeah, he was quite confident; he was clear about what he wanted to do.”

It might seem a very obvious question, and I imagined that many others had posed it before, but when I asked him why he wrote, Ngugi just paused for a few seconds before saying: “I write because I have to,” before bursting into laughter.

“I find life a bit chaotic, quite frankly,” he continued to explain. “But I get a sense of life and a sense of order when I write. I start to understand things better. When I am in the process of writing fiction, I get a clarity that I am not able to get otherwise. Writing fiction works for me. It is my first love, although drama and theatre have had more of an impact on my life — including my life as a writer of fiction — than any other genre.”

So what about his childhood? Was he prepared to talk about this? “I have finished a memoir on my childhood called Dreams In A Time Of War. And the second one is called In The House Of The Interpreter.

“I was born in 1938 in Kiambu, at the very beginning of World War II, so the whole point of my memoir was that I was born literally in a time of war — World War II, and then, my childhood was during the Mau Mau, the anti-colonial nationalist movement.”

It is clear from reading Dreams In A Time Of War that Ngugi’s mother was a strong influence on the young boy, and he loved her dearly. “My mother, who could not read or write, is the one who sent me to school,” he told me. As he narrates in his memoir: “One evening my mother asked me: Would you like to go to school. It was in 1947. I can’t recall the day or month. I remember being wordless at first. But the question and the scene were forever engraved in my mind.”

His mother, who had recognised the importance of schooling, made Ngugi swear he would do his best. “’Yes, yes’, I said quickly, in case she changed her mind,” he recalls.

That is how Ngugi went to school and learned to read and write. It was a profound experience for the young boy, and one that would also shape his life. But it was also a time of war, and as he recalls, that impacted everybody in his small community. Not only did Ngugi have relatives that went away to fight for the British in World War II, and forefathers that fought for the British in World War I, but later he also had an elder brother, Good Wallace, in the mountains fighting with the Mau Mau in its guerilla war against the British colonialists.

“Everybody’s life was affected. When you can’t go to school because bullets are flying around you, it affects you. I describe this drama in Dreams In A Time Of War.”

And moving to the present, I asked him if he enjoyed living in the US, where he holds the post of Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Irvine, or whether he ever got homesick for Kenya.

“Yeah. I enjoy my work at the University of California. But no matter where I am, I think about Kenya all the time. I cling to my Kenyan passport like it is a talisman, you know . . .”

Commenting that he must have been thinking quite hard about recent events in Nairobi, he said: “You mean that massacre! It was horrible! Every Kenyan felt the pain, whether in Kenya or outside of Kenya. Hundreds of innocent, unarmed people — unarmed people slaughtered like cattle — horrible!

“I do not know what cause, what grievance would cause anybody, anywhere in the world, to just get a gun and shoot innocent people. This is wrong.

“Then, I lost a good friend, the Ghanaian writer, Kofi Awoonor, who I have known since 1962, and of course, his passing on, or his murder really, is a blow to African writing. He belongs to the same generation — he was the same stature — as Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka.”

It was obvious that the Westgate tragedy in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, was too fresh in Ngugi’s mind and also too painful to take the conversation much further, so we turned our attention to the new young

“Each language wants to claim that it is inherently better than other languages, and that is utter nonsense!”

African writers that are bursting onto the world stage. “I am quite excited by the young writers that are coming up — young writers like Chimamanda Adiche, Helon Habila and others, they are so brilliant!” he told me. “They are really great, you know! I am also very impressed with that young lady from Zimbabwe, NoViolet Bulawayo.

“So brilliant, so bright: We, of the elder generation, are so bound up by our anti-colonial nationalism, which is important for us, but the younger generation — they are free. You find they don’t confine their characters necessarily to Africa. They are quite happy to bring in characters from other races, and so on … that’s good, because they are growing in a multi-cultural world, and so on.

“And then there are my kids too, you know, Mukoma wa Ngugi has written Nairobi Heat and Black Star Nairobi, and then my daughter Wanjiku, whose first novel, The Fall of Saints, is being published in February next year. Then my other son, Nducu, has written a book called City Murders, being published this November. And I have got my senior son, Tee Ngugi — his short stories are coming out, so I do have quite a family of young writers! But all of them . . . I have fought them on this. I would like to see all of them . . . whether my own kids or others — being a bit more conscious of African languages. I see the problem in the sense that we do not have publishers. You write in [an] African language, but the venues for publishing are really so limited.

“We must find a way to make that breakthrough somehow, you know. I would like to see more African governments coming up with more positive policies on African languages. If you can establish a central bureau of languages, like Nkrumah used to have, each language having a committee or something that helps look after it, however small, they all can coordinate through a Central Bureau of Languages. Thus the languages will contribute to each other. Then you can have an interesting language policy in Africa.

“You see . . . I think what is wrong with the languages like English and French is that there is actually nothing wrong with them as languages, but it is the hierarchy of power! Each language wants to claim that it is inherently better than other languages, and that is utter nonsense! There is no language inherently better than any other language.”

Listening to him, it becomes clear why he chose to title his John La Rose Memorial lecture Resisting Metaphysical Empire: Language as a War Zone. But while language is central to Ngugi’s thinking, he does not confine his ideas regarding Africa’s continuing struggle simply to this.

“For Africa, the key thing is to secure our natural resources, our economic environment, our polity, our culture. If you can secure that base, each country and also we, the continent of Africa, can engage with other continents, on the basis of give and take. But just now, the problem is that within Africa, we don’t even make use of our own resources — we negotiate a price for them!

“But we don’t manufacture with our resources. I would like to see Zambia making things with its copper, South Africa having companies making use of their gold, and Nigeria with oil refineries making products with their oil. I want to see manufacturing all over Africa using our resources, instead of simply negotiating their price. I would like to see factories owned by African entrepreneurs making things with that material, with the resources instead of simply negotiating a price. We have to become a continent of makers, not just a continent that sets the price for its raw materials. Africa has always given to the West; Africa must learn to give to itself: the working millions. That will be what will make Africa a big global player.

“Another thing would be to get our politicians to debate about policy, not about which ethnic group your opponent comes from. You want to know from the politicians what their policy is for the poor in the country. We must eradicate poverty, ignorance and disease. A people-based African Union would help to realise this on a continental level.”

First published in New African print in December 2013.
Asia and the Global Balance of Power
Continual financial crises and slow recoveries have taken their toll on traditionally powerful countries, placing eastern nations at the center of discussion about future leaders

Author: Iramsy Peraza Forte |
October 13, 2016 14:10:24

Asian countries have restructured their traditional economies to become the world's fasting growing nations. Photo: AsiaNews.

A new world order is germinating in the far east of our planet. In the not too distant future, the rapid development and healthy economies of several Asian nations will challenge the supremacy which traditional powers have enjoyed for centuries.

The continent's positive economic statistics indicate that it is the world's fastest growing region. Continual financial crises and slow recoveries have taken their toll on traditionally powerful countries, placing eastern nations at the center of discussion about future leaders.

World Bank projections indicate that this region, mainly composed of developing and emergent nations, will grow 4.8% in 2016; 5% in 2017; and 5.1% in 2018 - figures that confirm its progress despite difficulties and slow global recovery.  

Japan, which has historically been among the powerful, and China as an emerging economy, are being joined by other Asian states with enviable growth rates.

Economists explain that several factors have allowed for the positive development of the region, especially noteworthy given the era of crises. On the one hand, they point to the geographic location which facilitates access to maritime transportation for exports, and the relative proximity of nations.

Also recognized is the fact that these Asian countries have taken advantage of foreign investment to strengthen their industrial base. Policies that have led to extensive investment have raised questions about the impact on human beings, since the attraction of cheap labor for transnationals has led to super-exploitation.

Decisive to avoiding the spiral of crises which engulfed others was the implementation of a series of policies - such as the granting of credit in strategic industries; promoting technology; and synchronization of the public and private sectors, with the state playing a fundamental role.


The growth trend of economies in the Far East was led for many years by the so-called "Asian Tigers." This group included Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, which achieved impressive growth over the last few decades, thanks to their focus on advanced technology, import-substitution policies, and the promotion of exports.

In the majority of these countries (with the exception of Singapore where multi-nationals play a fundamental role) the government largely controls foreign investment in the modernization process, protecting national interests and the expectations of local business.

Since they did not have raw materials to export, these nations took industry as their economic axis, to stimulate development that has placed them among the top spots in world rankings of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita.

The positive positions of Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea are evidence of their ability to function as financial centers and commercial hubs, their high rates of growth, and unemployment much lower than that of other countries.


Asia's dynamism is not limited to these four states. Other nations more recently industrialized, like Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia also stand out on the world's largest continent. Their development, along with that of India, the world's seventh largest economy, and Vietnam, as the best example of progress, could mean, experts say, a shift in the global economic map.

Over the last few years, Southeast Asia has been reconfigured as a region, struggling to overcome poverty and dependence on agriculture or some other primary activity, to make the economic transition to industrialization.

Members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) are considering going beyond their political alliance to become an important economic bloc that would no doubt increase the region's influence.

Within this context, ASEAN members, led by Malaysia, Indonesia, (with the group's largest economy), Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand, could take advantage of the slow recovery in more developed states and establish new networks among emerging markets.

If this decision is made, the panorama could be encouraging, since almost all of these economies will surpass their 2016 projections for growth. Several experts agree that, while it would be wrong to say that none of these countries are experiencing the effects of the world crisis, they are also quick to point out that Asia's emerging economies may avoid this pitfall because they took timely steps to deal with external factors, and stimulated internal demand to compensate for income lost due to the decrease in exports.

Vietnam's economy began to take off in the 1980s after the long, cruel war, and is the best example illustrating Asia's economic performance. The country boasts one of the highest growth rates in the world, has multiplied its GDP by five, and diversified its exports.

While the world economy was dominated by traditional powers, like the United States, Germany, France, Japan, and Britain, in the 20th century, in this new era, countries on the Asian continent, plus BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), are looking to change this panorama, and perhaps assume the role of leaders in the future.
Persuasive Reasoning
Modern times have been characterized by the strong presence of Information and Communication Technologies, seemingly inoffensive and subtle tools, yet with the potential to instill the values and interests of the world’s most powerful hegemonic groups.

Author: Yenia Silva Correa |
October 20, 2016 12:10:14

Cuba does not neglect its responsibility for training new generations to protect the country’s historical memory in an increasingly globalized world. Photo: Alberto Borrego

Modern times have been characterized by the strong presence of Information and Communication Technologies, seemingly inoffensive and subtle tools, yet with the potential to instill the values and interests of the world’s most powerful hegemonic groups.

Cuban society is not exempt from this reality or its responsibility to train new generations to preserve the country’s historical memory in a globalized world.

Regarding this issue, Granma International spoke with Manuel Romero MSc., methodologist at the Ministry of Education’s Marxism-Leninism and History department and professor of History Didactics.

Symbols can become elements capable of introducing values contrary to those defended by Cuban society. What is being done in schools to prepare young people to protect our values in the midst of an ideological war with clearly defined aims?

There are many projects going on in schools. Many books have been written. There are lots of up-to-date and valuable sources on how to teach values. We also have a directorial program for teaching the values of the Cuban Revolution and a complete understanding of the need for such aspects given the complex reality we live in.

The aim is, as Martí once said, to create instructive ways of carrying out educative work, removing all kinds of formality. Teachers must be prepared to exert a stimulating educational influence at all times, something that can only be done through their own knowledge: the broader their knowledge, the more they can improvise.

Nonetheless, the family and society as a whole are other important educational agents which sometimes enhance what one is doing, while others jeopardize what good teachers and school management are accomplishing.

Schools must increasingly become the cultural centers of the community. In order to achieve this, at a time when values contrary to those which we defend and more technologies are being introduced, the school serves as a provider of culture not only because it offers a wide variety of knowledge or has pretty murals. It is also a cultural center if we view culture as a process of producing social meaning in every individual’s relationship with their environment, reality and peers.

What role does Cuban history play in this context? What is being done to ensure the youth take an interest in this subject and see it as a tool with which to defend our identity?

In order to understand Cuban history you have to contextualize the information and this context is universal. The influences of an entire period on the Cuban nation are extremely important and only by really understanding them can we defend our national identity.

I think the universal nature of our history must be the starting point and if there was any doubt there are the works of Martí and Fidel, two fundamental pillars in this department’s educative work, they are two universal geniuses. What better patriots than they? Reflections and texts by Fidel constantly refer back to the universality of our history.

We are a Third World country and we must reinforce our identity as part of a Third World identity. We are brothers of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

I wouldn’t use history as a tool. I think it makes it more mechanical. History is the wisdom that nourishes us; it’s the very best of our culture. Strengthening our historical memory is key to saving ourselves, which is why I believe that more than a tool, it’s a science, a body of ideas from which we must be able to extract life lessons.

How are new technologies being used to transmit our values?

Economic and political efforts have been made to provide schools with new technologies; including a complete range of audiovisual productions, such as Cinesoft, Canal Educativo, documentaries, the work of journalists and communicators….

Today, there are many resources, but you’ve got to know how to use them, because the best audiovisual production or software isn’t a magic wand or a medicine which contributes to development alone.

The key is the human being, the key lies more in us than in technology, but you’ve got to know how to use it, to cultivate intelligence, strengthen historical spirit and memory.

I wouldn’t overplay the importance of new technologies or other sources. You’ve got to use all possible sources. Only through this multifaceted approach are we going to contribute to the compressive development of new generations, heirs to this legacy that we are trying to ensure they assume.

It’s not enough to just be familiar with this intangible legacy of ideology and values. If a student learns it by heart, they don’t actually know it. Which is why, through history, I must equip students with symbols which motivate them to find meaning for their own lives in History and Social Science subjects.

Going back to symbols, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the Cuban flag. Although we are taught to love and respect it from an early age; nowadays you often see kids and young people using foreign emblems on their clothes. Beyond the role of the teacher what is the responsibility of the family in this case?

The family’s role is as important as the school’s. The family begins to interact with their children before arriving at our educational institutions, and continues to do so throughout their lives, after they leave our classrooms.

What’s the school’s role? To educate the family, demand more of it, not exclude it. All the educational meetings and cultural preparation we undertake with families are extremely important. In this sense, family education schools can play a crucial role.

The family is fundamental and the school must support it as much as possible, seek commitment, but it can’t assume all of the responsibilities of the former.

If the school is the cultural center of the community, it must also be that of the family, but sometimes this is difficult to achieve. Now, as the enemy’s subversive activity intensifies, our work must be increasingly more intelligent, more persuasive: we must expose the negative side of the media and use reasoning to contribute to deconstructing certain opinions.
Cordial Encounter Between Fidel and Algerian Prime Minister
Fidel recalled moments from his past encounters with President Bouteflika, an unconditional and loyal friend of Cuba

Author: Granma |
October 14, 2016 09:10:00
Photo: Alex Castro

Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz and His Excellency Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, held a cordial meeting on October 13.

The Algerian leader commented on the two countries’ close friendship and extended warm words to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, on behalf of his government and in particular the people of this sister nation.

Together with the distinguished visitor, Fidel recalled moments from his past encounters with President Bouteflika, an unconditional and loyal friend of Cuba, to whom he sent fraternal greetings. He also commented on Cuba’s internationalist collaboration with various African countries, in particular Algeria, and emphasized the challenges facing the international community in order to safeguard peace and ensure food security and the existence of the human species.

Fidel told the Algerian Prime Minister that the unforgettable Chávez and Bouteflika will always be leaders of two revolutionary countries - one in Latin America and the other in Africa - which have offered the most support to the Cuban Revolution, subjected to a perverse over 50-year blockade.

He highlighted that Venezuela and Algeria ceased to be instruments of imperialism, intent on plundering our countries. Our peoples’ revolutionary resolve will grow. Nothing or no one will be able to defeat them, he commented.
Raúl Receives Prime Minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
In a fraternal atmosphere, both leaders highlighted the excellent state of bilateral relations

Author: Granma |
October 14, 2016 09:10:10
Photo: Estudio Revolución

On October 13, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, received His Excellency Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, on an official visit to Cuba.

In a fraternal atmosphere, both leaders highlighted the excellent state of bilateral relations and ratified the willingness of their respective governments to continue strengthening the historic ties of friendship and solidarity which unite the two countries. They also discussed key issues on the international agenda.

The distinguished visitor as accompanied by the honorable Ramtane Lamamra, minister of State and minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Minister for Health, Population and Hospital Reform Abdelmalek Boudiaf; and M’hmed Achache, Algerian ambassador to Cuba.

Participating on the Cuban side were Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz, a Council of Ministers vice president and minister of Economy and Planning; as well as Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, Roberto Morales Ojeda, and Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, ministers of Foreign Relations, Public Heath, and Foreign Trade and Investment, respectively.

Cuba and Algeria, united by a close friendship

The visit will contribute toward strengthening the excellent bilateral ties - based on mutual respect - between the two governments and parliaments, as well as expanding cooperation in strategic sectors such as public health, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, agriculture and sport, among others

Author: Ernesto J. Gómez Figueredo |
Author: Iramsy Peraza Forte |
October 13, 2016 10:10:47

Cuba and Algeria are united by ties of friendship and solidarity, stated the President of the island's National Assembly of People's Power (ANPP) Esteban Lazo Hernández, upon receiving Abdelmalek Sellal, Prime Minister of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, making an official visit to Cuba.

Our ties have been forged throughout history, since the beginning of the Cuban Revolution, stated Lazo, who also noted that Comandante en Jefe, Fidel Castro, Army General Raúl Castro, and Algeria's most senior leaders, have been key to the construction of this fraternal relationship.

In regards to the excellent ties of friendship, solidarity and cooperation between the two countries, the President of the Cuban parliament highlighted that the island's first international medical mission was sent to Algeria, representing the "start of a history of cooperation which has taken us to over 100 nations."

On behalf of Cuba's members of parliament, Lazo thanked the North African country for its support and accompaniment offered the Cuban people in their major struggles. In particular, he noted Algeria's support for the resolution presented by Cuba in the United Nations condemning the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island.

He also noted that this visit will contribute toward strengthening the excellent bilateral ties - based on mutual respect - between the two governments and parliaments, as well as expanding cooperation in strategic sectors such as public health, the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, agriculture and sport, among others.

Lazo outlined the principle tasks currently being undertaken by the ANPP, including checks and balances regarding the implementation of the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution and the perfecting of the People's Power system.

Meanwhile, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, expressed thanks for the warm welcome, noting that he felt honored to be visiting his comrades and brothers in arms.

The greatest figures of the Algerian Revolution have visited Cuba, noted the official, adding that citizens of his country feel a great respect and friendship toward the Cuban people.

"The Cuban and Algerian revolutions have the same objectives. If in the past it was the struggle for liberation that brought us together, today we are united in the fight for progress," stated Sellal.

Abdelmalek Sellal arrived in Havana on the afternoon of October 12, to strengthen and expand the strong bilateral relations and ties of friendship which unite Cuba and Algeria.

"I bring greetings from the people of Algeria for the Cuban people," stated the Prime Minister on arrival to the island, where he was received by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abelardo Moreno, and Marcia Cobas, deputy minister of Public Health.

"I wish to convey a warm greeting on behalf of the President of my country, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to the President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, and to the leader of the Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz," he stated.

In addition to other official activities the Algerian delegation, which includes the country's Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, and Minister of Health,Abdelmalek Boudiaf, will visit sites linked to the biotechnology industry, as well as the Museum of the Revolution.

The Prime Minister will also hold official talks with the Cuban President, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz.
Alicia Imperatori Dies
The prominent revolutionary was a founder of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) and faithful collaborator of its president, Vilma Espín Guillois

Author: National news staff | |
october 13, 2016 12:10:56

The prominent revolutionary, Alicia Imperatori, a founder of the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC), who worked as FMC chief of staff and faithful collaborator of its president, Vilma Espín Guillois, passed away in Havana this October 11, at the age of 103.

Awarded the title of Labor Heroine, issued by the Council of State in 2011, Alicia Imperatori dedicated her life to the FMC.

Born on June 7, 1913, on the estate of the Preston sugar refinery in Holguín, Alicia moved to Havana at a very young age, where she began her working life in 1939. She was a member of the Orthodox Party and raised funds for the July 26 Movement.

She undertook several responsibilities in the FMC national leadership, where she worked ever since the triumph of the Revolution. She was a delegate to all FMC congresses and a member of its National Committee since its establishment.

Alicia received various awards for her important services.

FMC members of all generations will always have in her a source of inspiration. Our deepest condolences are extended to her family and compañeras.
Economic Sanctions, Principal Obstacle to the Development of Cuba
Despite the establishment of a historic dialogue with Havana on December 17, 2014, and regardless of the official visit of President Barack Obama to the island in March 2016, Washington continues to apply economic sanctions against the Cuban population, sparking the incomprehension of the international community

Author: Salim Lamrani* |
October 12, 2016 16:10:10

French bank BNP Paribas was sentenced to a record fine of 8.9 billion dollars for maintaining, among others, financial relations with Cuba. The U.S. applies the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island in all its rigor. Photo: The Guardian

Despite the establishment of a historic dialogue with Havana on December 17, 2014, and regardless of the official visit of President Barack Obama to the island in March 2016, Washington continues to apply economic sanctions against the Cuban population, sparking the incomprehension of the international community. Established in 1960, during the Cold War, the sanctions (an economic, commercial and financial blockade of the country) persist more than half a century later, cause major difficulties for the Cuban economy and inflict unnecessary suffering on the most vulnerable sectors of the population. Their high cost and extraterritorial reach prompt unanimous rejection by the international community.

However, the resolution of this asymmetrical conflict depends on the executive branch of the U.S. government, which has the necessary prerogatives to dismantle much of the framework of the sanctions imposed on the island.


On September 13, 2016, Barack Obama again renewed for another year the Trading with the Enemy Act, a law dating from 1917 used for the first time by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, to impose full economic sanctions on Cuba, extending the state of siege against the island. This law, extended each year by the nine U.S. presidents in power since, only applies against Havana.

Once again the impact of the sanctions has been dramatic for the Cuban economy and society. In one year, from April 2015 to March 2016, they cost the island 4.68 billion dollars according to Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez. In the annual report on the economic sanctions, Cuban authorities estimated the damages caused nationwide. Three sectors were particularly affected. Firstly exports, as Cuba can not sell goods or services to the United States. Next, the increased costs of seeking alternative markets that are geographically distant from the island. And finally the financial impact, as Cuba is still unable to use the dollar in its international transactions, despite statements by President Obama on the removal of this restriction. “There is no element of our lives where the impact is not felt,” Bruno Rodríguez concluded. In total, at current prices the economic sanctions have cost Cuba more than 125 billion dollars since their implementation in the 1960s.

Other vital sectors such as health are affected by the economic sanctions. To cite just one example, Cuba can not acquire deep brain stimulation systems, produced exclusively by U.S. firm Medtronic, used to treat neurological diseases.

Hundreds of Cuban patients with Parkinson’s disease, who could enjoy a better quality of life with this treatment, are deprived of it because of a political dispute that has seen Washington opposed to Havana for over half a century.


Despite the historic rapprochement from December 2014, several international organizations have been heavily sanctioned since then for undertaking financial transactions with Cuba, perfectly legal according to international law. Thus, in May 2015, the French bank BNP Paribas was sentenced to a record fine of 8.9 billion dollars for maintaining, among others, financial relations with Cuba. In October 2015 another French bank, CréditAgricole, had to pay a fine of 1.116 billion dollars for the same reason. We should remember that BNP Paribas and CréditAgricole did not violate any French law and scrupulously respected European and international law.

Washington imposed its sanctions against Cuba on an extraterritorial basis, that is, illegally. Other financial institutions were also heavily sanctioned. German bank Commerzbank had to pay a fine of 1.710 billion dollars and put an end to all relations with Cuba. The U.S. executive took all these decisions.


However, President Obama has launched several calls on Congress to put an end to the anachronistic, cruel and inefficient economic, commercial and financial blockade. He has repeatedly expressed his opposition to the continuation of retaliatory economic measures which, as well as seriously affecting the welfare of Cubans, have isolated the United States on the international stage.

During his visit to Cuba he admitted that: “What the United States was doing was not working. We have to have the courage to acknowledge that truth. A policy of isolation designed for the Cold War made little sense in the 21st century. The embargo was only hurting the Cuban people instead of helping them (…) It is an outdated burden on the Cuban people.” The international community, in favor of the peaceful resolution of this conflict, applauded these words.

However, the constructive rhetoric of Barack Obama has not been supported by tangible facts, despite his prerogatives as head of the executive branch. It is true that the U.S. president reestablished political dialogue with Cuba in December 2014, expanded the number of categories under which U.S. citizens are authorized to travel to the island in January 2015, withdrew Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in May 2015, reestablished diplomatic ties with the reopening of embassies in Washington and Havana in July 2015, authorized the export of goods and services in the field of telecommunications in March 2016 (only to the non-state sector) and facilitated the resumption of maritime passenger transport between the two countries in May 2016 and commercial flights in August 2016.

Nevertheless, beyond these positive, but very limited steps, the U.S. president has all the necessary room for maneuver to dismantle almost the entire framework of the sanctions imposed since 1960, without requiring authorization from Congress.

Barack Obama could authorize Cuban companies to open bank accounts in the U.S. to facilitate trade and financial transactions. He could also end the financial persecution of Cuba, which many international banks have suffered. In total, the Obama administration has inflicted fines worth 14 billion dollars on various banks across the world for their relations with the Caribbean island. Similarly, the White House could allow bilateral trade between Cuban and U.S. companies (import/export). U.S. capital could also be permitted the possibility of investing in Cuba.

Finally, Obama could, for example, eliminate the restriction that prevents any ship, regardless of origin, which transports goods to Cuba, from entering a U.S. port within the following six months.

There are only four sectors that the executive branch of the U.S. government can not touch without the consent of Congress. President Obama can not authorize trade between subsidiaries of U.S. companies located abroad and Cuba (1992 Torricelli Act). Instead, he can allow trade between the parent company established in the U.S. and Cuban companies, which would in effect make irrelevant any transaction with a subsidiary established in a third country.

Likewise Barack Obama can not allow ordinary tourism by U.S. citizens to Cuba (Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000). Instead, he can multiply the number of categories of citizens allowed to travel to the island and expand their definition. Thus, the White House could redefine the notion of a “cultural trip” and integrate for example a simple museum visit. Thus every U.S. citizen who committed to visit a museum during their stay in Cuba could benefit from this travel category.

Without the consent of Congress, President Obama can not authorize the credit sale of food commodities (Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000). Instead, he can agree to the sale on credit of all non-food products, thereby significantly limiting the impact of the sanctions.

Finally, the White House can not allow transactions with former U.S. properties nationalized in 1960 (Helms-Burton Act, 1996). Nevertheless, Obama can open the way for any business involving other properties on the island.


All sectors of U.S. society are in favor of lifting the economic sanctions. The business community, through the United States Chamber of Commerce, strongly desires an end to the policy in view of the market of 11 million people just 150 kilometers from U.S. shores, which is welcoming other international investors.

Public opinion favors by more than 70% full normalization of bilateral relations between both nations, as citizens can not understand why their government forbids them from traveling to Cuba for ordinary tourism purposes. Religious authorities, through the National Council of Churches, have condemned the sanctions for the suffering inflicted on the population of the island. According to a poll from September 2016, 63% of Cuban-Americans are also in favor of lifting sanctions as they know that the hostile economic measures affect their relatives on the island. Finally, it should be recalled that in 2015, for the twenty-fourth consecutive occasion, 191 of a total of 193 countries called for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade against the island during the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly.


Some observers believe that Cuba should respond to the gestures made by President Obama with changes of an internal order. They forget the asymmetrical nature of the conflict. Indeed, in the dispute that opposes Washington to Havana, the hostility is unilateral. Cuba does not impose economic sanctions on the United States, nor does it illegally occupy a part of its sovereign territory (Guantánamo), or openly finance internal opposition with the aim of achieving “regime change”, it does not steal human capital as does the Cuban Adjustment Act, and does not broadcast illegal transmissions to promote internal subversion, as is the case with Radio and TV Martí. Moreover, Cuba is an independent nation and under international law and since the Congress of Westphalia in 1648, which recognizes the sovereign equality of states, changes on the island are the exclusive competence of the Cuban people, the only body who can decide the island’s political system and social model.


The sanctions against Cuba are anachronistic, cruel and inefficient. They have a disastrous impact on the Cuban economy and strongly affect the wellbeing of the island’s population. Despite the constructive statements from the White House in favor of a lifting of this state of siege, no major new measures have been taken to alleviate Cubans of the economic strangulation that has lasted for over half a century and been massively condemned by the international community. Of course, no complete normalization of relations will be possible as long as this hostile policy remains in force.

*Doctor of Iberian and Latin American Studies of the Paris Sorbonne Paris IV University, Salim Lamrani is an associate professor at the University of La Réunion and journalist specializing in Cuba – U.S. relations. His latest book is titled Cuba, ¡palabra a la defensa! published by Hondarribia, Editorial Hiru, 2016.