Cuba: Revolution, Sabotage & Un-Normal Relations

revolutionLeader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, has died on his own terms, after surviving at least 638 assassination attempts by the CIA. Unlike the glorification of brutal theocratic leaders like Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, the establishment will be giving no accolades to Castro. 

Capitalism’s defenders vociferously attack Cuba as a freedomless dystopia, while downplaying the country’s amazing achievements under socialism.

You cannot look at Cuba in isolation without understanding the long history of economic and political sabotage in the country on behalf of the U.S. Empire. From the crippling embargo, to the sponsoring of political dissent to the creation of an immigration policy designed for defection, the U.S. government has done everything in its power to undermine Cuba’s success.

Despite its severe economic restrictions, Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. and a near perfect literacy rate of 99.8%. Cuba’s system of free preventative healthcare is one of the best in the world.

The country’s philosophy of medical solidarity trains anyone to become a doctor, and has sent the world’s largest contingent of medical professionals to fight Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. From Haiti to Pakistan, Cuba is usually the first country on the front lines helping with every natural disaster and medical emergency. Today, more than 50,000 Cuban healthcare workers are operating in 66 countries around the world.

Because it provides basic amenities like food, shelter and healthcare for all citizens, Cuba also has one of the lowest crime rates in the Western Hemisphere.

Cuba is not perfect, yet far from the “police state” it is painted to be. I didn’t see one police officer when I was there, and people spoke freely about their discontent with the government. There was even a government sponsored art space that was full of cutting, self-reflexive political commentary.

In a three part series finale to Breaking the Set, I explain the history of Cuba-U.S. tensions and highlight underreported aspects of society and culture in an on-the-ground report.

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Cuba Part I: Revolution, Sabotage & Un-Normal Relations

BTS explains the history of Cuba and U.S. attempts of regime change, and talks to average Cubans both in Havana and in Miami about their views on the state of U.S. relations. Featuring an interview with Kenia Serrano, a high ranking Cuban parliament member, about everything from internet access to the crackdown on free speech in the country.

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Ebola Solidarity & Castro’s Daughter on LGBTQ Rights

BTS covers Cuba’s exemplary medical achievements with a Cuban doctor and students at the Latin American School of Medicine, an international medical school that trains anyone to become a doctor for free, as well as the U.S. programs that actively undermine international health efforts. Featuring an interview with Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro, and director of Cuba’s sex ed program CENESEX about LGBTQ rights in the country.

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The Evolution of Revolution

BTS focuses on reforms to the country’s economic and agricultural models, giving an overview of how Cuba’s cooperative and food system works, as well as operating private enterprise. Feauturing an interview with Ricardo Alarcón, Cuba’s former minister of foreign affairs and president of the People’s National Assembly of Power.

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@AbbyMartin

Congo’s Resource Curse, US Backed Atrocities & Refugee Industrial Complex

Earlier this year, a US drone strike killed two innocent hostages, one American and one Italian citizen near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

The incident spurred outrage across the media, resulting in Obama having to apologize for the grave error.

If only one could expect the same apology for the thousands of drone victims across the Muslim World since the advent of the War on Terror, most of whose names were never so much as uttered by those who sealed their deaths.

In today’s globalized world almost everything is interconnected. When it comes to war, conflicts are often interlocked in disturbing ways. For example, every death by way of drone wouldn’t be possible without turning a blind eye to the ongoing genocide from resource wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC.

While people rightly demand that “Black Lives Matter” in America, black lives have been forgotten in the Congo, where nearly six million people have died just in the last fifteen years.

Media Roots Radio is joined by Kambale Musavuli, Spokesperson for Friends of the Congo, to talk about how Congo’s resource curse feeds the military industrial complex and why anti-drone activists need to organize with the Congolese to disrupt cobalt extraction.

 

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Kambale came on Breaking the Set to discuss the cobalt connection to the civil war in the Congo, and Media Roots covered this issue in depth. He also visited BTS during the last Africa Summit to break down backlash against US military policy in the continent.

 

How the US Military Took Over the African Continent

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Many DRC soldiers are trained and equipped in the United States. Breaking the Set expands upon a UN report bringing to light crimes against humanity committed by a US-trained Congolese battalion.

 

US Sponsors Rape in the Congo

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This Media Roots podcast is the product of many long hours of hard work and love. If you want to encourage our voice, please consider supporting us as we continue to speak from outside party lines. Even the smallest donations help us with operating costs.

Listen to all previous episodes of Media Roots Radio here.

Follow Abby @abbymartin & @kambale.

http://www.friendsofthecongo.org/

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Independent Media and the Cultural Revolution at Zeitgeist Day

SLIDE 18 CONNECTIVITY NASAOne human family living on one organism. Yet man is embroiled in a war against himself.

Unfortunately this blatant truth hasn’t yet been realized by the vast majority of humans living on earth.

The wars against ISIS, Russia, and now laughably Venezuela are dominating headlines in the latest front of the information war, but a far more deadly battle is being carried out against the organism we all share.

We face the most severe environmental crises in history with deforestation at a rate of 36 football fields per minute, floating trash islands the size of Texas in the Pacific, and half the world’s species being wiped out in the last 40 years as a result of habitat loss and pollution. In just the last 30 years, climate change has already caused a tripling of natural disasters, with scientists predicting an irreparable tipping point around year 2020, the same year Obama pledged to cut US carbon emissions by 17%.

But how can climate change solutions be taken seriously without a massive overhaul of the agricultural industry and complete termination of the military industrial complex? The Pentagon is the largest polluting institution in the world and is exempt from all international climate treaties.

The climate change disinformation campaign has gotten to the point of such absurdity, that Florida’s State Environmental Protection Department has banned the use of the terms climate change and sustainability in all emails and reports. It’s an issue that should supersede politics. But a corporate controlled press run by oil and gas won’t dare undermine its sponsors.

Of course the establishment showcases an alternate reality. Media hysteria abounds about missing planes and Iran’s non existent nukes, yet there’s an eerie calm about the issues that most impact us, and what we can do to fix them. The population remains dumbed down, complacent and willfully blind.

Maybe the CEOs, lobbyists and politicians are shortsighted because they’re building their own elysium and don’t give a fuck if we all die, but the majority of them are inevitably just changing deck chairs on the Titanic – and they know it.

Deep down everyone knows the truth. Every last vestige of this precious planet is being pillaged without consequence. Endless consumption and unfettered capitalism cannot and will not last. And every empire falls. That’s just a matter of time.

The system blatantly protects the bottom line and resists all substantial change with military force and police aggression to keep the old guard. The elites at the helm will never capitulate their security for the good of humanity.

Once a system doesn’t work for 99.9% of the people, it might be time for a new one.

 

Abby Martin at Zeitgeist Day 2015 in Berlin

 

I’m more than happy to be a part of an annual event that showcases a different future than the dark path humanity is bulldozing down. So thank fuck for Peter Joseph’s not only incredible three part Zeitgeist documentary series, but also for his follow up work with Culture in Decline – all of which dismantle the toxic conventional wisdom that strangles our mental development.

Seeing the power of video to shatter religious, political and economic dogma inspired the hell out of me. But I was also moved by the trajectory of the series, which first deconstructed systems of control and then presented an entirely new realm of possibilities.

I used to be an anti-war organizer. But once I saw the media selling the Iraq war I realized something was very systemically wrong, and it crossed all party lines. Media became my number one battle, because if you don’t have a platform to tell your story then no one will hear it.

I started Media Roots as a hub for censored information and it grew into a multimedia citizen journalism project, which eventually brought me to RT and Breaking the Set. It was a dream job to attack power on an international platform, but I decided I want to be meeting the people behind the stories and telling them independent from any state or corporate entity.

I don’t just want to react to the mainstream media’s circle jerk of fuckery.

Bush lackey Karl Rove once brazenly told New York Times reporter Ron Suskind in 2004 “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality… judiciously as you will… we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you – all of you – will be left to just study what we do.”

Unfortunately, Rove’s right. Reality is dictated by an out-of-touch war mongering elite that doesn’t apply to the reality we live every day. But it’s only able to sustain on fear and war. And there’s nothing that terrifies the establishment more than a populace not living in fear.

People are rightly disillusioned after being called crazy for wanting more than two parties or questioning ludicrous paradoxical foreign policy. They also want sustainable energy.

Clearly I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t think anyone here claims to. But a resource based economy is one of the most thought provoking and groundbreaking solutions I’ve seen to the crisis of civilization we face.

We don’t have to wait for anyone but ourselves to start implementing the ideals either, because we are all agents of change and vessels of truth that can push our communities towards seismic sustainable shifts in the way we live right now.

Other countries already have a different approach. I recently had the chance to visit Cuba, and not only does the country have an organics renaissance, but there aren’t commercials telling you what a worthless piece of shit you are, or corporate chains eviscerating local culture.

But most spectacularly is Cuba’s medical internationalism. Cuba sent the world’s largest contingent of medical professionals to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to fight the ebola epidemic, and has healthcare workers operating in 66 countries. The country also has a medical school that trains international students to become doctors for free.

Of course, this wasn’t out of pure altruism, the long imposed embargo on Cuba forced it to become self sufficient and fiercely community oriented. The country is far from perfect, but the obvious takeaway remains the tremendous amount of good that can be done with such little resources. If that’s what an economically crippled nation can achieve, what can the richest one in the world do?

If people came first.

Every government that has tried to incorporate different economic models gets systematically undermined with regime change attempts. USAID is still spending $20 million dollars a year in Cuba to undermine the government despite the normalization process. 56 years after the Cold War, and the US government still can’t let a small socialist nation live in peace.

In socialist Venezuela, Obama just announced the country poses and quote “extraordinary threat” to national security and that he has quote “deep concerns” about its human rights abuses. Meanwhile America’s biggest ally Saudi Arabia summarily carries out beheadings and public floggings to bloggers who criticize the king.

Clearly these issues are deep rooted and deeply interconnected. This is about hegemony, and the clutches of capitalism won’t give up easily. The system can’t afford alternatives, and we’ve seen how far it will go, with no remorse. It’s a machine that runs on death and destruction, having institutionalized structural violence that kills millions of our brothers and sisters every day.

No one has to go without water in the streets of Detroit, or freeze to death in bombed out Gaza, because we have the resources to provide everyone. Would you let your mother or brother starve on the streets? No, because we belong to the commons and the commons belongs to us.

The revolution of values is the extension of empathy, understanding, compassion and humility – globally. Which means shattering the illusion of me as separate from you or us as separate from the dirt underneath our concrete jungle. It comes with expanding consciousness and media literacy. And most importantly, it’s about building alternatives ourselves. That’s why I believe that this movement is unstoppable and the ideas it’s spawned will create our reality of a sustainable future.

Because if we don’t, we’ll just become casualties in the war being waged against us and every living thing on this planet.

On this pale blue dot.

As Carl Sagan said, “In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”

Written by Abby Martin | @AbbyMartin

Photo by NASA

Why the US Won’t Give Up on Regime Change in Venezuela

VenezuelaFlagFlickrDanBrickleyTwo weeks ago, Obama made a bizarre announcement that Venezuela is an “extraordinary threat” to US national security and that he is “deeply concerned” about its human rights abuses – a declaration necessary to justify a new round of harsh sanctions.

The measure comes on the heels of another round of US sanctions against the Venezuelan government, allegedly for violating protesters rights during demonstrations last year.

In this episode of Media Roots Radio, Abby Martin talks to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and president of Just Foreign Policy about the hidden agenda behind this latest move of aggression and why the country really poses a threat to the US establishment.

US vs. Venezeula: Regime Change and Resilience

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In fact, the US has never stopped trying to undermine the Bolivarian Revolution. Eva Golinger, author of the Chavez Code, talks about the Western backed coup happening in real time in the form of paid opposition forces, propaganda and economic warfare.

 

Why the CIA Won’t Give Up on Venezeula

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has launched a global signature-gathering campaign to pressure Obama to repeal the sanctions. The letter reads “sanctions, blockades and armed aggressions are no substitute for genuine dialogue.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Abby Martin | @AbbyMartin

Photo by flickr user Dan Brickley

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Oliver Stone Uncensors American History

UntoldHistoryAmericans grow up learning history through the lens of a victorious US empire. This notion isn’t just bred through the educational system – every major institution in society maintains the same perspective in order to help unify the people under a national identity.

Although it benefits the whole if there is a sense of unity among the population, the false belief that an arbitrary national border makes one human better than the other is socially destructive. Not only is this isolated worldview of American exceptionalism insulting to non-Americans, it’s a propaganda tool used to manufacture consent for the US government’s disastrous and hypocritical policies.

Throughout the last half century, the United States has acted as military arbitrator of the world, policing other countries in the name of “freedom” while constantly waging war to undermine other nations’ democracies.

This classified history of America is deeply explored in a ten-part documentary Showtime series called The Untold History of the United States, a film adaptation of the joint book authored by Academy Award-winning director Oliver Stone and prolific historian Peter Kuznick.

The epic saga looks back with a critical eye at historical events that went under reported at the time, but ended up crucially shaped America over the 20th century. From the dropping of two atomic bombs over Japan to the Cold War and the fall of Communism, this in-depth, provocative documentary series challenges many Americans’ long held political paradigms.

Oliver Stone and historian Peter Kuznick have corrected American history on Breaking the Set before. Recently, they came on again to discuss the truth behind everything from JFK’s legacy to Obama’s expansion of the surveillance state.

Abby

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Abby Martin Breaks the Set with Oliver Stone and Historian Peter Kuznick.

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