Monday, December 5, 2016

2504. Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Statement on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Decision to Not Grant Easement

By Stand with Standing Rock, November 4, 2016
The flags of many tribal nations fly at the overflow camp. 
Cannon Ball, N.D.— The department of the Army will not approve an easement that will allow the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe. The following statement was released by Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II.
“Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes. We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.
The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama Administration for this historic decision.
We want to thank everyone who played a role in advocating for this cause. We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us, and the tens of thousands who donated time, talent, and money to our efforts to stand against this pipeline in the name of protecting our water. We especially thank all of the other tribal nations and jurisdictions who stood in solidarity with us, and we stand ready to stand with you if and when your people are in need.
Throughout this effort, I have stressed the importance of acting at all times in a peaceful and prayerful manner – and that is how we will respond to this decision. With this decision we look forward to being able to return home and spend the winter with our families and loved ones, many of whom have sacrificed as well. We look forward to celebrating in wopila, in thanks, in the coming days.
We hope that Kelcey Warren, Governor Dalrymple, and the incoming Trump administration respect this decision and understand the complex process that led us to this point. When it comes to infrastructure development in Indian Country and with respect to treaty lands, we must strive to work together to reach decisions that reflect the multifaceted considerations of tribes.
Treaties are paramount law and must be respected, and we welcome dialogue on how to continue to honor that moving forward. We are not opposed to energy independence, economic development, or national security concerns but we must ensure that these decisions are made with the considerations of our Indigenous peoples.
To our local law enforcement, I hope that we can work together to heal our relationship as we all work to protect the lives and safety of our people. I recognize the extreme stress that the situation caused and look forward to a future that reflects more mutual understanding and respect.
Again, we are deeply appreciative that the Obama Administration took the time and effort to genuinely consider the broad spectrum of tribal concerns. In a system that has continuously been stacked against us from every angle, it took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful.
Learn more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at standwithstandingrock.net. For incremental updates please follow our Facebook page at Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or follow us on Twitter @standingrockst.

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Chelsea Hawkins
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206.556.1653
Sue Evans
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253.592.1590

2503. The People of Santiago Pay Tribute to Fidel Castro

By Granma, December 3, 2016

BBC reported hundreds of thousands came to bid farewell to Fidel Castro in Santiago de Cuba
The act in tribute to Comandante Fidel in Santiago de Cuba began at 7:00pm this Saturday, December 3, with the national anthem.
Various representatives of the Cuban people spoke during the mass act in the city’s Plaza de la Revolución Antonio Maceo, with President Raúl offering the final, central remarks.
The first to speak was Ulises Guilarte de Nacimiento, secretary general of the Cuban Workers’ Federation (CTC), who expressed the deep pain of Cuban workers on hearing the news of the death of the leader of the Cuban Revolution. “Fidel unconditionally defended revolutionary ideas and principles of social justice,” he noted.
Guilarte de Nacimiento emphasized that the Revolution fulfilled the objectives set out in Fidel’s famous defense, known as “History will absolve me” and that with the triumph of January 1, 1959, the working class became a protagonist in the construction of the new social project. “Fidel always encouraged consultation with the labor movement regarding the most important tasks of the Revolution,” he added.
He concluded that thanks to Fidel, Cuba is a dignified, independent, anti-imperialist and solidary country, and that he would live on in the hearts of all Cuban workers.
Rafael Ramón Santiesteban Pozo, president of the Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), noted that Fidel has marked the history of Latin America and the world. He added that the Comandante en Jefe combined word and action like no one else, and that those principles are defended at all costs.
He stressed that since the very beginning, the Cuban Revolution assumed Martí’s legacy of working for the poor of the earth. He recalled that Cuban campesinos also supported the insurrection forces before the January 1959 triumph. Santiesteban recalled the transformations promoted by Fidel to contribute to the development of agriculture on the island.
He concluded that Fidel’s work will always be a beacon and guide for Cuban campesinos, noting “He will always be present in the effort and sacrifice of every campesino,” and reaffirming the commitment of all campesinos to continue to build a sovereign, independent, socialist and prosperous nation.
Major General José Antonio Carrillo Gómez, president of the Association of Combatants of the Cuban Revolution, reported that the news of Fidel’s death moved everyone, as it was the reaction to the physical loss of the man who did the most for his country, who always provided exemplary courage and who knew how to interpret the ideas of Bolívar and Martí and translate them into the Revolution.
Photo: Cuban television image
The Association of Combatants feels the loss of the Comandante en Jefe, undefeated in all battles of the Cuban people, Carrillo Gómez stated. He assured that they will never give up his legacy and that his teachings are present in every Cuban when we say “I am Fidel.”
“We have the challenge of being worthy of all those who fell for the Homeland,” he stated, highlighting that the best way to pay tribute to Fidel is to maintain unity at any cost.
Carlos Rafael Miranda, a member of the Party Central Committee and National Coordinator of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), noted that Fidel is Cuba because Fidel is the people who continue to love him. He added that Fidel is present in the work of builders, doctors, intellectuals and teachers, and that he is present “in the spirit of solidarity that he instilled in us.”
The National Secretary of the Federation of Cuban Women, Teresa Amarelle, stated that “with the conquest of a true emancipation, for the first time, Cuban women were protagonists of our own destiny.”
She stressed, “We Cuban women are the Revolution. Here, in the heroic Santiago, pioneers, campesinas, workers, artists, fighters, homemakers and retirees. “Raúl, you can count on Cuban women. Ever onward to victory!” she concluded.
Miguel Barnet, president of the National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, stated that this is the saddest occasion in his life as a writer and revolutionary. He noted that Fidel was a tireless fighter for peace. His work made him a paradigm of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and none of his contemporaries can compare.
Fidel was the architect of unity during the revolutionary struggle. No one surpassed him, nor could his most powerful enemy defeat him, he noted. “Fidel articulated in a harmonious way Bolivarian, Martian and Marxist thinking, which gave the Cuban Revolution a singularity in the world.” His mobilizing capacity was unprecedented in Cuban history. In his historic words to intellectuals he designed the Cuban cultural policy with inclusive characteristics. “Cuba without Fidel would not be the Cuba it is today,” Barnet concluded.
The president of the University Students’ Federation, Jennifer Bello, stressed that Cuban students will continue to defend the Revolution. She noted, “Cuba is ours to take care of and defend. Each university classroom will be our Moncada,” adding, “We will be faithful followers of Martí and Maceo. Cuban students today say that Cuba is and will be an eternal Baraguá!”
Sucelys Morfa, secretary of the Young Communists League, noted “Solidarity and internationalism make us grow as human beings.” She added that Fidel was a tireless fighter for the force of truth and ideas. She concluded her speech reaffirming that this generation aspires to be like Fidel. Thank you, dear Comandante, thank you, dear Raúl, for giving us this free and dignified country. Your children and young people have sworn allegiance and commitment. This youth is the fruit of your struggle, she stressed.
Finally, President Raúl Castro, delivered the central remarks in tribute to the leader of the Cuban Revolution, his brother Fidel.
Raúl began by highlighting the demonstrations of affection from the Cuban people all along the route of the funeral procession from Havana to Santiago de Cuba.
Raúl noted that tomorrow his ashes will be buried in a simple ceremony in the Santa Ifigenia cemetery, near national hero José Martí and his companions of the Moncada assault, the Sierra Maestra, the clandestine struggle and internationalist struggles. A few steps away are the tombs of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes and the legendary Mariana Grajales. There is also the pantheon with the remains of the unforgettable Frank País, assassinated by thugs of the tyranny aged barely 22, he noted.
He stressed that since the news of the death of the Historic Leader of the Cuban Revolution late on the night of November 25, pain and sadness seized the Cuban people, who demonstrated their integrity, patriotic conviction and discipline in organizing mass activities in tribute to Fidel and reaffirming their commitment to his concept of Revolution as stated on May 1, 2000.
On behalf of our People, the Party, the state and government and the family, I reiterate my deepest gratitude for the countless demonstrations of affection for Fidel, his ideas and his work that continue to come from all over the world, Raúl stated.
The Cuban President recalled key moments of the life and work of Fidel, his internationalist efforts, his dedication to the peoples of the world and his friendships with global leaders.
Raúl asserted that Fidel showed us that we could reach the coast on the Granma yacht, that we could resist the enemy, the hunger and the cold; organize a revolutionary army in the Sierra Maestra; that new guerrilla fronts could be organized in the East; that it was possible to defeat with 300 rifles the offensive of more than 10,000 soldiers; that one could repeat the epic feats of Maceo and Gómez with the columns of Che and Camilo towards the west of the island; that it was possible with the support of the whole people to defeat the Batista tyranny.
Fidel taught us that we could defeat in 72 hours or less the invasion at Playa Girón and continue the literacy campaign; that the socialist character of the Revolution could be proclaimed within 90 miles of the empire; that the principles of our sovereignty could be firmly maintained; that we needn’t fear the U.S. during the Missile Crisis; that solidarity could be sent to other sister nations in the struggle against colonial oppression and external aggression and racism; that it was possible to defeat the South African racists, saving the territorial integrity of Angola and ensuring the independence of Namibia.
Fidel demonstrated that Cuba could become a medical power and reduce child mortality to rates comparable to the first world. That we could transform Cuba into a great scientific center, advance in the modern and decisive fields of genetic engineering and biotechnology. That we could resist, survive and develop without renouncing the principles and achievements of socialism in the unipolar and transnational world that emerged after the collapse of the socialist camp of Europe and the USSR.
The permanent teaching of Fidel is that yes, we can; that man is able to overcome the harshest conditions if his will to win does not yield, he makes an evaluation of each situation and does not renounce his noble and just principles.
He showed that it was possible, that we could and can overcome any obstacle or threat in our firm commitment to build socialism in Cuba, to guarantee the independence and sovereignty of the country.
“Hasta la victoria siempre!” Raúl concluded, as the thousands gathered in the square cried, “Fidel is Raúl!”

2502. Fidel’s Enduring Lesson Is that, Yes, It Is Possible

By Raúl Castro Ruz, Granma, December 4, 2016
Photo: Estudio Revolución

Esteemed Heads of State and Government;
Outstanding figures;
Compatriots here today in representation of the eastern provinces and Camagüey;
People of Santiago de Cuba;
Dear people of Cuba:
This afternoon, upon arrival to the heroic city, the funeral procession transporting Fidel’s ashes, which retraced in reverse the route of the Caravan of Liberty of 1959, and visited emblematic sites in Santiago de Cuba, birthplace of the Revolution where, just as in the rest of the country, it was met with demonstrations of love by the Cuban people. 

Tomorrow, his ashes will be laid to rest in a simple ceremony in the Santa Ifigenia Cemetery, located very close to the Mausoleum of National Hero José Martí; his compañeros in the struggle at Moncada, from the Granma, and Rebel Army, from the clandestine campaign and internationalist missions. 

The tombs of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, father of the homeland, and the legendary Mariana Grajales, mother of the Maceo brothers and, daring to improvise in this act, also the mother of all Cuban men and women, are located just a few feet away. Also close by is the pantheon where the remains of the unforgettable Frank País García rest; a young man from Santiago, murdered by Batista’s henchmen at only 22 years of age, one month after his younger brother Josué died fighting in an operation in this city. Frank’s age didn’t stop him from accumulating an exemplary trajectory of resistance against the dictatorship, in which he stood out as leader of the armed uprising in Santiago de Cuba, on November 30, 1956, in support of the landing of the Granma expedition, as well as his decisive role in organizing the sending of weapons and combatants to the nascent Rebel Army in the Sierra Maestra.


Ever since the news of the passing of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, late on the evening of November 25, pain and sadness have overwhelmed the Cuban people who, deeply moved by his irreparable physical disappearance, have shown integrity, patriotic conviction, discipline, and maturity by attending, en mass, the tribute activities organized, and swearing to uphold the oath of loyalty to the conception of Revolution, articulated by Fidel on May 1, 2000. November 28 and 29, millions of compatriots signed their names in support of the Revolution. 

Amidst the pain of these days, we have once again felt pride and comfort in the outstanding reactions of children and young Cubans, who reaffirm their willingness to be committed continuators of the ideals of the leader of the Revolution. 

On behalf of our people, the Party, State, government, and family members, I reiterate our most heartfelt thanks for the innumerable displays of respect and affection toward Fidel, his ideas and his work, which continue to arrive from all corners of the globe. 

Faithful to Martí’s philosophy that “all the glory in the world fits into a kernel of corn,” the leader of the Revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality, and remained true to this position until the last hours of his life, insisting that, after his death, his name and likeness never be used to designate institutions, plazas, parks, avenues, streets, or other public spaces, nor monuments, busts, statues, and other such tributes be erected. 

In accordance with compañero Fidel’s decision, during the next period of sessions of the National Assembly of People’s Power, we will present necessary legislative proposals to ensure his will is upheld. 

Our dear friend Bouteflika, President of Algeria, rightly said that Fidel possessed the extraordinary ability to travel into the future, return, and explain it. On July 26, 1989, in the city of Camagüey, the Comandante en Jefe predicted, two-and-a-half years in advance, the disappearance of the Soviet Union and socialist camp, and stated before the world that if this were the case, Cuba would continue to defend the banner of socialism. 

Fidel’s authority and his close relationship with the people were key to the country’s heroic resistance during the dramatic years of the Special Period, when the nation’s Gross Domestic Product fell 34.8% and the Cuban people’s food situation deteriorated significantly, we suffered blackouts lasting 16 to 20 hours a day, and a good part of our industry and public transport was paralyzed. Despite this however, we were able to safeguard public health and education for the entire nation. 

I recall the Party meetings in the different regions: east, in the city of Holguín; central, in the city of Santa Clara; and west in the capital of the Republic, Havana, held in July 1994 to analyze how to tackle, with greater efficiency and cohesion, the challenges of the special period, the growing imperialist blockade and media campaigns geared toward sowing despair among citizens. We all left theses meetings, including the one held in the western region, presided by Fidel, convinced that with the combined strength and intelligence of the masses under the leadership of the Party, it would, and was, possible to transform the special period into a new victorious battle in the country’s history. 

At that time few in the world would have bet on our ability to resist and overcome in the face of adversity and the intensification of the enemy blockade. Our people, however, under the leadership of Fidel, provided an unforgettable lesson in resolve and loyalty to the principles of the Revolution. 

Recalling these difficult moments, I think it right and fitting to return to what I said about Fidel on July 26, 1994, one of the most difficult years, on the Isle of Youth, over 22 years ago, I quote: “The most illustrious son of Cuba this century, he who showed us that the attempt to capture the Moncada Garrison was possible; that we were able to turn that loss into a victory,” which we achieved five years, five months. and five days later, on that glorious January 1 of 1959 - this last comment added to the words I spoke on that occasion (Applause). 

He showed us, “Yes, it was possible to reach the coast of Cuba in the Granma yacht; that yes, it was possible to resist the enemy, hunger, rain and cold, and organize a revolutionary army in the Sierra Maestra following the Alegría de Pío debacle; that yes, it was possible to open new guerilla fronts in the province of Oriente, with ours and Almeida’s columns; that yes, it was possible to defeat the great offensive of over 10,000 soldiers with only 300 rifles,” after which Che wrote in his Campaign Diary, that with this victory the backbone of the army of the tyranny had been broken: “That yes, it was possible to repeat the feats of Maceo and Gómez, extending with Che and Camilo’s columns the struggle from the east to the west of the island; that yes, it was possible to defeat, with the support of the entire people, the tyranny of Batista, backed by U.S. imperialism.

“The man that showed us that yes, it was possible to defeat in 72 hours,” or even less, “the mercenary invasion of Playa Girón and at the same time, continue the campaign to eradicate illiteracy in one year,” as was happened in 1961.

“That yes, it was possible to proclaim the socialist character of the Revolution 90 miles from the empire, and when its warships advanced toward Cuba, following the brigade of mercenary troops; that yes, it was possible to resolutely uphold the inalienable principles of our sovereignty, without fear of the threat of nuclear aggression by the United States in those days of the October 1962 missile crisis.

“That yes, it was possible to offer solidarity assistance to other sister peoples struggling against colonial oppression, external aggression and racism.

“That yes, it was possible to defeat the racist South Africans, saving Angola’s territorial integrity, forcing Namibia’s independence and delivering a harsh blow to the apartheid regime. 

“That yes, it was possible to turn Cuba into a medical power, reduce infant mortality first, to the lowest rate in the Third World, then as compared with other rich countries; because at least on this continent our rate of infant mortality of children under one year of age is lower than Canada’s and United States (Applause), and at the same time, significantly increase the life expectancy of our population. 

“That yes, it was possible to transform Cuba into a great scientific hub, advance in the modern and decisive felids of genetic engineering and biotechnology; insert ourselves within the fortress of international pharmaceuticals; develop tourism, despite the U.S. blockade; build causeways in the sea to make Cuba increasingly more attractive, obtaining greater monetary income from our natural charms. 

“That yes, it is possible to resist, survive, and develop without renouncing our principles or the achievements won by socialism in a unipolar world dominated by the transnationals which emerged after the fall of the socialist camp in Europe and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. 

“Fidel’s enduring lesson is that yes it is possible, that humans are able to overcome the harshest conditions as long as their willingness to triumph does not falter, they accurately assess every situation, and do not renounce their just and noble principles,” end of quote. 


These are the words that I expressed more than two decades ago about a man, who, following the first disastrous battle at Alegría de Pío - which the day after tomorrow will celebrate its 60th anniversary - never lost faith in victory, and 13 days later, already in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, on December 18 of the aforementioned year, with seven rifles and a fist full of combatants, stated: “Now we have won the war! (Applause and shouts of “Fidel, Fidel! That’s Fidel!”).

This is the undefeated Fidel that brings us together through his example and demonstration that, Yes, it was possible, yes, it is possible, and yes, it will be possible! (Applause and shouts of “Yes, we can!”). So, I repeat that he demonstrated that yes, it was possible, yes, it is possible, and yes, it will be possible to overcome any obstacle, threat or disturbance in our resolute effort to build socialism in Cuba, or in other words guarantee the independence and sovereignty of the homeland! (Applause). 

Before Fidel’s remains, in the Plaza de la Revolución Mayor General Antonio Maceo Grajales, in the heroic city of Santiago de Cuba, we swear to defend the homeland and socialism! (Shouts of “We swear!”) And together we all reaffirm that expressed by the Bronze Titan: “Whoever attempts to conquer Cuba, will gather the dust of her blood-soaked soil, if he does not perish in fight! (Shouts)

Fidel, Fidel! ¡Hasta la Victoria! (Shouts of “¡Siempre!) (Shouts of: “Raúl is Fidel! and “¡Raúl, tranquilo, el pueblo está contigo!” (Raúl, don’t worry, the people are with you!).

2501. Torture Can Be Useful, Nearly Half of Americans in Poll Say

By Somini Sengupta, The New York Times, December 5, 2016

Waterboarding used in Vietnam. Photo: UPI 1968. The current discussion in the U.S. about waterboarding revolves on its effectiveness, not on opposition to torture on ethical or legal basis.
UNITED NATIONS — Nearly half of Americans in a global survey said they believed an enemy fighter could be tortured to extract information, according to results released Monday. That finding puts respondents in the United States in contrast with citizens of many countries and at odds with international law, which prohibits torture under any circumstances.

The results were part of a poll carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which surveyed 17,000 people in 16 countries, including many nations in conflict or recovering from conflict, to gauge public opinion about the laws of war.

The findings on torture were among the starkest. Among Americans, 46 percent said torture could be used to obtain information from an enemy combatant, while 30 percent disagreed and the rest said they did not know. On a more general question, one in three said torture was “part of war,” just over half called it “wrong,” and the rest said they did not know or preferred not to answer.

Torture is a war crime, according to international law. The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said recently that she had reasonable grounds to open an investigation into allegations of torture by American forces in Afghanistan.

On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump endorsed waterboarding, claiming that “it works.” He has suggested a shift in thinking since his election, saying that his nominee for defense secretary, Gen. James N. Mattis, believes there are more effective tactics for extracting important information from detainees.

In the survey, only Israelis, Palestinians and Nigerians seemed to endorse torture as enthusiastically as Americans. In Afghanistan, by contrast, 83 percent of those surveyed said torture was wrong; in Colombia, that number was 85 percent.

Worldwide, two-thirds of those surveyed said torture was wrong, though on the more specific question of whether it could be used to extract information from an enemy fighter, just under half said it was wrong.

One of the greatest contrasts in opinions on the rules of war was between the citizens of the world’s most powerful countries and the citizens of countries at war.

Take, for instance, a question to gauge views on the killing or injuring of humanitarian workers in a conflict zone. Among people surveyed in the United States, Russia, France, China and Britain — the five countries that have permanent veto-wielding seats on the United Nations Security Council — 40 percent said it was part of war.

Among people in countries at war, including Syria and Yemen, only 25 percent said it was part of war, and nearly all of the rest said they considered it to be wrong.

Similarly, on a question about attacks on hospitals, a larger share of people in the Security Council’s five permanent member countries said such acts were part of war. Like torture, deliberate attacks on health care facilities and aid workers are illegal, according to international law.

2500. Summary and Index for the Last 99 Posts

By Kamran Nayeri, December 5, 2016
Mooshi (2000?-November 4, 2016), Associate Publisher and Editor
Of the last 99 posts, 29 were about climate change and policy debates on how to counter it.   There were ten posts about Cuba, nine dealing with human history, especially about the crucial transition of the Agrarian Revolution, nine about the U.S. elections, especially lesser-evilism, nine about ecosocialism/socialism, and seven about issues dealing with fossil fuels and alternative energy sources.  Other notable topics were the Standing Rock Sioux resistance to the North Dakota Access Pipeline which won a victory yesterday, animal lives, and the sixth mass extinction.   

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

2499. The Need to Legalize Cuban Reforms

By Fernando Ravsberg, Havana Times, November 24, 2016
1-constitucion
Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz
HAVANA TIMES — “Laws are rather the positive, clear, universal norms in which freedom has acquired an impersonal, theoretical existence independent of the arbitrariness of the individual.” (**) This idea wasn´t communicated by a “bourgeois” philosopher but by Karl Marx.
It comes from the father of socialism, whose theory feeds the social, political and economic system in Cuba. In spite of this though, Cuban society isn’t always governed by the law, partly because there are very few laws and those that do exist are voided, a lot of the time, by “notices” and “resolutions”.
For decades, Cuban laws have been “adapted” to political needs in certain situations. Thus things like Cubans being forbidden from staying in tourist hotels took hold, without taking into the account the fact that such a measure literally violated an article in the Republic’s Constitution.
With the reforms set out by Raul Castro’s government, the situation has gotten worse insofar as these changes weren’t accompanied by a legal framework that would warrant laws, procedures, restrictions, duties, rights and legal security.
Independent producers and filmmakers have been demanding laws that the government never seem to end up approving, for years. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz
Independent producers and filmmakers have been demanding laws that the government never seem to end up approving, for years. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz
But there are more than enough “resolutions” that establish the precise number of chairs a restaurant can have and ban the use of the word “hostel” on hostel signboards. They thereby prove Montesquieu’s maxim when he claimed that “Useless laws weaken the necessary laws.”
And it’s true, this level of “legal” detail doesn’t exist in the things that really matter. Self-employed workers were allowed to hire their own personnel knowing that the Constitution explicitly forbids this, classifying this mechanism as exploitation of man by man.
Thousands of small private businesses have been opened without any legal protection. They operate under the umbrella of self-employed work, which puts business owners and their employees in the same group. They even wanted to create an innovative “classist mix”, bringing owners and workers together in the same union branch.
Employees at these private businesses are completely unprotected. There are no laws that force their bosses to respect their contracts, regulate their rights in layoffs, that sets out the number of hours in a working day, or that guarantees holidays or maternity leave.
The numerous changes that are taking place in Cuba need a legion of lawyers working on creating their legal framework. This must start with the Constitution and then follow up with complementary laws, which are the ones that ensure that these will actually be applied.
A given reforms might be necessary and fair but it aren’t coming with the corresponding legislation. For example, there isn’t a film industry law that lays down rules for the work of independent filmmakers, even though these are the people who are making half of the country’s film productions.
The number of “alternative” media platforms on the internet is increasing and yet we continue without a press law that regulates activity, setting out their duties and rights. Media is handled with verbal commands and, when that’s not enough, somebody is fired or the police intervene.
Marx assured us that without a press law, freedom of press can’t exist. “The absence of press legislation must be regarded as an exclusion of freedom of the press from the sphere of legal freedom, for legally recognized freedom exists in the state as law,” (**) he explained.
Laws aren´t being respected as is made clear by these guaracheras dressed up in the Cuban flag, which is explicitly forbidden. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz
Laws aren´t being respected as is made clear by these guaracheras dressed up in the Cuban flag, which is explicitly forbidden. Photo: Raquel Perez Diaz
Using the flag as clothing is legally forbidden (1), in spite of the fact that the first US cruise ship was received by dancers dressed up in the Cuban flag and it was also the uniform used by athletes at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic games.
The existence, validity and respect of laws transform citizens into equals, no matter what the responsibility, financial situation or IQ of every individual is. Of course there will always be some people who are more equal than others but without laws, this tendency worsens.
Cuban reforms need this legal framework, which shouldn’t be a problem given the fact that the majority of the population approves these changes. However, years are passing by and the numbers of changes are increasing without them being reflected in the Constitution or laws.
The father of socialism understood that law is the only support a citizen has to limit the authority of public officials, influence of the wealthy or the power of the powerful and that’s why he claimed that “a statute-book is a people’s bible of freedom.”
——
Notes:
*Cicerón (106 AC-43 AC) Escritor, orador y político romano.
** (MARX,K. “Debatten über Preßfreiheit und Publikation der Landständischen Verhandlungen”, Rhenische Zeitung, 12 mai 1842 [MEW, Vol. I].)