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By Peter Simonenko 

The Communist Party of Ukraine expresses its condolences for the tragic loss of life during the armed clashes provoked by neo-fascists extremists on Hrushevskoho street in Kiev.

Responsibility for these deaths, for the bloodshed and violence rests in equal measure on those in power, which has brought the country to the brink, and on the leaders of the so-called opposition, the ultra-nationalist militant organizations and foreign politicians, who urge people to “radicalize the protests” and “fight to the bitter end.”

We demand that the government and leaders of the Maidan immediately remove from the streets of Kiev, Svoboda militants from across the country and other criminal elements, to stop the use of force, to ensure non-interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine by foreign powers and their representatives.

Any attempts to create parallel structures of power such as “People’s Parliament”, “interim president” and the like will only strengthen the opposition and create a real threat of escalating the conflict into Civil War. One part of the population will support the current government, and the other, the self-proclaimed opposition, which will inevitably lead to a final split of Ukraine.

The Communist Party is ready to present concrete proposals to resolve the situation.

We believe it is necessary:

1. Declare a referendum on the definition of Ukraine’s integration into foreign economic bodies.

2. To carry out political reform, eliminate the institution of the president and install a parliamentary republic, significantly expand the rights of territorial communities.

3. Adopt a new electoral law and return to a proportional system of elections of people’s deputies of Ukraine.

4. In order to overcome the administrative chaos and ensure strict control over the government and politicians, to establish an independent civilian body of  ”national control” by giving it the broadest powers.

5. Adopt judicial reform and institute elections of judges.

The Communist Party warned from the very beginning: the rejection of democratic mechanisms for solving social contradictions — the ban on a Ukrainian referendum, organized jointly by the government and the so-called opposition — could be catastrophic.

It is not too late, there can still be a peaceful solution to the political crisis. We the urge the people to condemn extremism, not to succumb to provocations, and demand constructive talks with the President, the leaders of political parties and public organizations.

The Communist Party of Ukraine declares that there is no other way to stop the escalation of violence and destruction of the country!

kiev

time-for-battle1

 

Up close, Christodoulos Xiros does not come across as a menacing man – in many ways he still resembles the soft-spoken craftsman he once was. But this weekend, barely three weeks after absconding from the high-security Korydallos prison in Athens, the dark-eyed 56-year-old, a key member of the defunct 17 November terror group, has struck fear into the hearts of many across crisis-hit Greece.

 

In the space of five days, panic-stricken authorities have launched the biggest manhunt in modern times, placed a €4m bounty on his head – dead or alive – and thrown a security cordon around the capital not seen since the 2004 Olympics.

 

On Friday, as European justice ministers gathered in the country that currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, there were sharpshooters on the roofs, sniffer dogs roaming the streets and more than 2,000 riot police outside government offices and hotels.

 

“I am worried that soon there will be an attack,” said former foreign minister Dora Bakoyannis, giving voice to the fears stalking Greece after Xiros failed to report to authorities while visiting his family during a nine-day leave from prison earlier this month.

 

It was 15 days before the self-described “free member of 17 November” re-emerged, with a video message vowing a return to armed action. “It’s time for battle,” Xiros said against a background of images depicting resistance fighters and a second world war communist hero. “I have decided to thunder the guerrilla shotgun against those who stole our lives and sold our dreams for profit.”

from The Guardian

spain-protestA mid-January mass rebellion in one neighborhood of a mid-sized city in north-central Spain beat back a rightist City Hall government and sparked solidarity protests in nearly 50 other cities. This first working-class victory since the capitalist crisis exploded in 2008 has turned the name of the area — Gamonal — into a cry of resistance that could reverberate from Athens to Detroit.

Historically an independent village, Gamonal later developed as the industrial area of the city of Burgos and became its main working-class residential neighborhood, filled with apartment houses. The capitalist collapse of 2008 closed the factories and left 80 percent of Gamonal’s residents unemployed.

Burgos is a city of 180,000 people. Like most of Spain today, the whole city suffers high unemployment. Growing poverty has replaced working-class stability. As in the U.S., many were evicted, their homes turned over to the banks, so that now most people between 30 and 55 years old are living with their parents. In addition, the parents’ pensions have been frozen by the national government, which is enforcing “austerity” on behalf of the biggest European banks.

The right-wing Popular Party — which governs the Spanish state — also heads the city government of Burgos. To fill the coffers of a powerful construction company, this government ordered a large street to be torn down and replaced by an unneeded boulevard.

Besides squandering $11 million and slowing traffic, the new setup eliminated already scarce and inexpensive parking spots. The plan was to replace them with expensive private parking spaces beyond the reach of the unemployed residents. They would cost up to $26,000 for a 40-year lease. ­(publico.es, Jan. 14)

Many left analysts have said this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, the drop that overflowed the vase. It was one abuse too many.

Gamoral’s community organization said 5,000 residents joined a demonstration on the afternoon of Jan. 13. When it was over, some 2,000 remained and occupied the construction area to prevent machinery from entering. (publico.es, Jan. 13 and 14) The next night, police began to attack and arrest demonstrators at random, with no restraint on their brutality.

Instead of stopping the protests, the police assault just brought out more people, who became furious with the police and with the banks that own the city — much as the banks now own Detroit in the U.S.

Leftist groups called solidarity demonstrations in at least 46 cities in all regions. The state authorities insulted and baited the demonstrators, charging them with planning violent and barbaric acts.

Most of those joining the demonstrations were workers fed up with the rapid impoverishment of a quarter of the ­population.

Burgos Mayor Javier Lacalle blamed the resistance on “outside agitators” from “ultra-left groups” who came from other parts of the Spanish state. It turned out, however, that all those arrested were from Burgos, and for once the corporate media contradicted the authorities. The mayor finally conceded and said the demolition and construction would stop, as the city could not guarantee safety at the site.

The residents are celebrating the victory, which they know may only be temporary, and are continuing to demand the mayor resign and that the 46 residents still held in prison as of Jan. 19 be released. Those on the left analyzing “the lessons of Gamonal” can’t resist remarking that the street (“la calle”) beat Lacalle.

The group Red Roja, paraphrasing a remark by Argentine/Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara about the Vietnamese liberation struggle, called for “two, three, many Gamonals.” (redroja.net, Jan. 18)

Many of Spain’s 6 million unemployed are undoubtedly hoping that Gamonal is no accident. And given the similar situation throughout Greece and Portugal and in many other European and U.S. cities under the gun of the banks’ austerity, if this is the start of a general rebellion, why should it stop at Spain’s borders?

from Worker’s World

Bolivia's President Evo Morales gives a speech during a meeting with

Bolivian President Evo Morales will file a lawsuit against the US government for crimes against humanity. He has decried the US for its intimidation tactics and fear-mongering after the Venezuelan presidential jet was blocked from entering US airspace.

“I would like to announce that we are preparing a lawsuit against Barack Obama to condemn him for crimes against humanity,” said President Morales at a press conference in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. He branded the US president as a “criminal” who violates international law.

In solidarity with Venezuela, Bolivia will begin preparing a lawsuit against the US head of state to be taken to the international court. Furthermore, Morales has called an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to discuss what has been condemned by Venezuela as “an act of intimidation by North American imperialism.”

The Bolivian president has suggested that the members of CELAC withdraw their ambassadors from the US to send a message to the Obama Administration. As an additional measure he will call on the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas to boycott the next meeting of the UN. Members of the Alliance include Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Saint Lucia.

“The US cannot be allowed to continue with its policy of intimidation and blockading presidential flights,”
stressed Morales.

The Venezuelan government announced on Thursday that President Nicolas Maduro’s plane had been denied entry into Puerto Rican (US) airspace.

“We have received the information from American officials that we have been denied travel over its airspace,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said, speaking to reporters during an official meeting with his South African counterpart. Jaua decried the move “as yet another act of aggression on the part of North American imperialism against the government of the Bolivarian Republic.”

President Maduro was due to arrive in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks with the Chinese government. Jaua was adamant that the Venezuelan leader would reach his destination, regardless of any perceived interference.

The US government has not yet made any statement regarding the closing of its airspace to the Venezuelan presidential plane. Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the US.

Relations on the rocks

Washington’s relations with Latin America have deteriorated since the beginning of the year following the aerial blockade that forced Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane to land in Austria in July. Several EU countries closed their airspace to the presidential jet because of suspicions that former CIA employee Edward Snowden – wanted in the US on espionage charges – was on board. Bolivia alleged that the US was behind the aerial blockade.

In response to the incident, Latin American leaders joined together in condemnation of what they described as “neo-colonial intimidation.”

Later in the year, the revelations on the US’ global spy network released by Edward Snowden did little to improve relations. Leaked wires revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the private communications of both the Brazilian and Mexican presidents.

The Brazilian government denounced the NSA surveillance as “impermissible and unacceptable,” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty. As a result of US spying Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has postponed a state visit to Washington in October.

source

happy-venezuelans

The U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network released its World Happiness Report for 2013 last week. Following up on the first such report, released last year, the U.N. says that the 2013 edition

delves in more detail into the analysis of the global happiness data, examining trends over time and breaking down each country’s score into its component parts, so that citizens and policy makers can understand their country’s ranking. It also draws connections to other major initiatives to measure well-being, including those conducted by the OECD and UNDP’s Human Development Report…

The World Happiness Report, as with similar such studies as the Happy Planet Index is in part a response to perceived shortcomings with traditional economic and social measures such as growth, poverty rates, employment, education, life expectancy and other indicators.

While U.S. media coverage of the report was not overwhelming, there was some. The report was also covered in numerous international outlets in countries throughout Europe, in Asia, Africa and Australia and New Zealand, among others. CNN noted that

“On a regional basis, by far the largest gains in life evaluations in terms of the prevalence and size of the increases have been in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Sub-Saharan Africa”, the report said. Reduced levels of corruption also contributed to the rise.

But CNN neglected to mention that Venezuela ranked first – again – among South American nations as happiest.

One of the only U.S. newspapers to note Venezuela’s ranking was the Deseret Morning News, whose editorial page associate editor was puzzled by the country’s relatively high placement: “Venezuela finished 20th, which must mean happiness doesn’t equate with being able to find milk in the store after years under Hugo Chavez?” – a reference to shortages of certain goods this year.

Among happy South American countries, Venezuela is a returning champion, having been ranked number one on the continent in 2012 as well, “beating some of its Latin American neighbours, such as Mexico and Brazil,” and “also topp[ing] many European countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Germany,” as Rachael Boothroyd noted last year. Venezuela also came out on top in a South America happiness comparison in 2011, and was ranked number 9 out of 151 countries on the Happy Planet Index.

Overall, mostly Northern European countries ranked happiest in the new World Happiness Report: Denmark ranked first, followed in order by Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Why has there been so little attention to the report – and to Venezuela’s ranking in it, among the U.S. outlets that did cover it? Could it be that the gains in Venezuela over the past decade challenge the conventional wisdom routinely reported in the press that Venezuela is a mess in terms of its economic, politics and security, and which typically presents Venezuelans as unhappy? As the Huffington Post notes:

The report — which analyzed 156 countries — is intended to be used as a means of improving policy making worldwide by highlighting how people around the world measure their well-being. The findings were based off national statistics and several surveys, including the Gallup World Poll, to assess a population’s emotional happiness and overall satisfaction with life. [Emphasis added.]

It is perhaps not surprising that media outlets that regularly try to convince their audiences that the social democratic policies being pursued in countries in Scandinavia, South America and elsewhere are a failure don’t want to report the contentment of citizens living in these countries.

putin-nationalideaVladimir Putin has told an influential political forum that Russia needs to strengthen its national identity based on traditional values, and vowed to continue the opposition to the unipolar international political system.

National idea as vital priority in global competition

Addressing an assembly of officials, politicians and political experts on the closing day of the international forum Valdai Club, the Russian President said that the nation had already left behind the “fundamental conservatism” characterized by the idealization of Russian history after 1917 and that it was impossible to resurrect Soviet ideology.

However, the president noted that those who supported conservative ideology were as far removed from real life as the followers of western-style liberalism.

The Russian leader emphasized that the progressive movement was impossible without spiritual, cultural and national self-determination, adding that Russia was facing another convolution in global competition and success in it was vitally important.

According to Putin, history has shown the impossibility of imposing a national idea from above and mechanically copying other countries’ experiences was not effective either. He added that resistance to the primitive borrowing of ideas and attempts to civilize Russia from abroad could be explained by the citizens’ inherent drive for independence and sovereignty in spiritual, ideological and political spheres. Putin also noted that such an approach had often failed in other nations of the world.

The time when readymade lifestyle models could be installed in foreign states like computer programs has already passed,” Putin told the Valdai forum.

All-sided dialogue, but no ethnic separatism

The president then said that all political forces must join the discussion about national ideology, urging the opposing camps to listen to each other and to abandon the practice of total nihilism and criticism.

Putin especially warned the nationalist wing, saying that those who forget that Russia was a multi-ethnic state and attempt to speculate on regional separatism “step on a path of destruction of their own genetic code and, in essence, begin to destroy themselves.”

Sovereignty, self-reliance and integrity of Russia are unconditional, they are the red lines no one is allowed to step over,” Putin emphasized.

Speaking of the possible basis for the new national idea, the president said that the current Russian leadership chose to rely on traditional Christian and moral values, noting that without these millennia-tested ideals people would “inevitably lose their human dignity”.

Multi-polar world remains priority in foreign policy

In addition, the Russian leader noted that the national revival of Russia was in line with the foreign policy course for a multi-polar world and the prevailing of international law over the rule of brute force.

Putin cautioned against attempts to reanimate the model of a unified and unipolar world, adding that such a system would not need sovereign states, but would need vassals instead.

Russia is with those who hold that the key decisions must be taken on a collective basis rather than in accordance with plans and interests of certain states or groups of states. International law must work instead of the ‘right of the strong’ and the ‘rule of fists’” Putin told the assembly.

The Russian president again stressed that every country and their people were not exceptional, but they were unique and all had equal rights, including the right to choose their path of development.

No democracy is without flaws

Answering questions after the speech, Putin noted that the current Russian authorities have certain drawbacks and probably could be better, but the same went for the authorities in any democratic country.

It is perfectly right that Russia deserves better quality leadership in general. However, it is a big and bold question if such leadership exists in other countries, including the one represented by Mr McCain [US Senator John McCain who is a constant critic of Vladimir Putin and Russia’s policies].” Putin explained that the US presidents had been twice elected in a vote where a larger number of electors represented a minority of voters and called such a situation “an absolutely evident flaw in the election process.”

The president again emphasized that the Russian political system must be chosen by Russian citizens and not by “respected colleagues from abroad”. Putin also said that in the recent presidential poll the absolute majority of Russians voted for him and this should be a starting point in any discussion. However, he also agreed that both he and the Russian state institution needed perfecting further and pledged to continue working on this.

source

nicolas-mVenezuelan authorities have warned of a suspected plot by “extreme right-wing” groups to assassinate Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro.

The alleged conspiracy was revealed in a press conference on Monday by Interior Affairs Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres, who said that figures in Venezuela, Colombia and the United States were involved.

Rodriguez informed that on 15 August Venezuelan authorities captured two Colombian citizens in a hotel in Miranda state, near Caracas. They were found in possession of two rifles with laser sight, ten Venezuelan army uniforms, and a photograph of President Maduro and National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello.

The two men, of eighteen and twenty two years of age, were presumably contracted by a Colombian named Alejandro Caicedo Alfonso (alias David), and crossed the border into Venezuela on 13 August. The men are part of a “destabilization group” of about ten people, said Rodriguez.

The Venezuelan intelligence service SEBIN is also searching for a Venezuelan man named Carlos Salcedo, who authorities believe is involved in the alleged plot and is responsible for supplying the rifles to the apprehended Colombians.

INTERNATIONAL LINKS

Interior affairs minister Rodriguez said that the government believes the suspected plot to assassinate Maduro is part of a conspiracy planned by the Venezuelan “extreme right wing” in collaboration with counterparts in Colombia and the United States.

Authorities consider the “brains” of such an operation to be Luis Posada Carriles. Cuban-born Carriles is resident in Miami, and is wanted by Venezuela and Cuba on extradition charges for his alleged role in the bombing on a Cuban airliner in 1976 that killed 78 people.

Further, Rodriguez accused former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe of involvement in the alleged plot. “I am denouncing that this conspiracy is being woven from Miami, in connection with Bogota, and that Alvaro Uribe, without any doubt, has knowledge of everything happening here,” he stated.

RESPONSES

President Nicolas Maduro responded to Rodriguez’s affirmations by demanding U.S. President Barack Obama confirm whether he possesses information of any such conspiracy, and if so, to act accordingly.

“President Obama, is it that you don’t know that in the United States the Posada Carriles group conspires, monitored and tutored by Otto Reich and Roger Noriega, to commit terrorist acts and presidential assassination in Venezuela?” asked Maduro.

The Venezuelan president further stated that if Obama does know of such a plot and does not act, then “he is implicated”.

Maduro said that the alleged assassination plot would be in order to “destroy” the Bolivarian revolution, arguing that, “To assassinate me is to begin a civil war in Venezuela”.

“I am a guarantee of peace…I’ll do everything within my ability to continue building peace in this country,” the Venezuelan head of state continued.

The conservative opposition in Venezuela meanwhile has taken a dismissive attitude to the information, with opposition leader Henrique Capriles referring to the government’s accusations as “lies” and “recycled stories”.

Alvaro Uribe and Posada Carriles have likewise denied the veracity of the allegations, calling them “infamy” and “absurd”.

Nicolas Maduro responded by commenting that among the Venezuelan opposition, “there is a strange nervousness; they try to make it [the alleged plot] into a joke”, which he said made the opposition “look bad in front of the country”.

The Venezuelan government has previously alerted the country to suspected plots to assassinate President Maduro, claiming that since the death of late President Hugo Chavez extremist conspiracy efforts have increased in an attempt to “finish” the Bolivarian revolution.

The most notorious of these alerts occurred two days before the April 14 presidential election, when authorities announced the capture of armed paramilitaries in possession of explosives who were presumed to be on a mission to “destabilize” the election.

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