Here's an article from the LA Times blog about Fidel Castro accepting responsibility for the persecution of gay people in Cuba, and calling it an injustice:
Former Cuban President Fidel Castro called years of official persecution of homosexuals under his Communist regime an "injustice." In an interview published this week in a Mexican newspaper, he said he takes responsibility for the repression.
"If someone is responsible, it is me," Castro told Carmen Lira, editor of the left-leaning daily La Jornada. Here's the...
I went to Fertile Ground last night and ate pizza with the Cuba Caravanistas. The pizza was good, and so was the discussion. Brendan Funtek spoke about Cuba and his travel and other involvement with the caravan. Then Manolo de los Santos, who is the Pastors for Peace representative (he's from New York via the Dominican Republic), also spoke. Finally, Rick Fellows spoke. Rick has been running caravans since 1984 when he became involved in a dispute between Peabody Coal and members of indigenous tribes near the 4 corners area of the Southwest US. Peabody Coal runs one of the world's largest coal strip mines in the area, and since its beginning there has been constant opposition. All three were great speakers and served to illuminate upon the relationship between the US and Cuba, as well as the situation in Cuba, and the lives of the Cuban people. After the speeches we had a great question and answer discussion.
I wish the Caravanistas the best in their journey toward the Mexican border, and beyond toward their destinations in Cuba, as well as a safe return.
The following is a description some of what I know about Cuba, including some, though certainly not all, of what I have learned in the last three days. It is also in part a description of the border crossing from Vancouver B.C. into Washington State this past Sunday, including a photographic essay. - Berd
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Peace Arch Park Vancouver B.C. Canada—Blaine Washington United States
Tonight at Fertile Ground is the Cuba Caravan's arrival on their journey through Canada, the US, Mexico and finally Cuba where they will defy the US Blockade and commit nonviolent direct action toeards the ending of the embargo. This year's caravan event is from 7-9:30 PM at Fertile Ground directly behind the downtown library. There will be pizza and beverages and will be free to the public, donations requested. Come out and enjoy yourselves with us around the cob oven.
July 4, 2010—Peace Arch Park, Blaine Washington, Vancouver B.C. 15 people traveled from Olympia and Seattle to meet a Canadian delegation to the Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan. PFP organizes an annual Friendshipment in an effort to provide supplies directly to Cubans, and to raise awareness by breaking what many consider to be an immoral US blockade of Cuba.
Over the years, PFP has transported from the USA, Canada and Europe hundreds of vehicles (many buses and ambulances) and tonnes of other basic supplies (like notebooks for students.)
The Canadian delegation made it safely across the border on Sunday, July 4, and are currently in Olympia. There will be a pizza party to welcome the group tomorrow evening at Fertile Ground Guesthouse. More information about that here.
I also uploaded some photos to flickr, and posted a slideshow of them at Peace is Possible, here.
Friday evening at Media Island will feature a showing of the Cuban-made documentary "People to People" that provides an excellent, sweeping history of the US-based (and supported substantially by Canada and Mexico) Cuba Caravan.
The documentary, made by the Cuban Film Institute, includes a rousing history of the caravan along with a thorough explanation of the US-Cuba educational exchange that allows US medical students to attend Cuba's medical school for free. (The students receive a full, six-year education and return to the US prepared specifically for the licensing examination. This program is eligible to anyone in the US.)
For anyone who has attended prior Cuban solidarity events in Olympia, you are encouraged to watch this new, 45 minute documentary. Please cross-post this wherever applicable.
People to People : coffee and desert
• Friday, May 21st 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Media Island, 816 Adams St. SE
"People to People" is a new film about the "US-Cuba Friendshipment Caravan," started in 1992 to protest the embargo against Cuba and is still going on to this day. Rick Fellows has been a mechanic for the trip since the beginning and will discuss the upcoming friendshipment. We will serve fresh roasted Honduran Resistance Coffee and decadent desserts donated by local bakers. Donations requested in support of the Latin American Solidarity Organization and Media Island.
Do the mainstream accounts reflect the whole story? In the mainstream, is there adequate analysis of the environment surrounding the death of JFK? The answer is no.
Here's a compelling analysis by Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action co-founder James W. Douglass. It's titled JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters. The book contains an account that has been all but ignored by the mainstream press. So I think it is important to promote this important book through alternative channels.
"...an extraordinary new book offers the best account I have read of this tragedy and its significance. That book is James Douglass's JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. It is a book that deserves the attention of all Americans; it is one of those rare books that, by helping us understand our history, has the power to change it.
[additional quoted material]: "Why does it matter? The death of JFK remains a critical turning point in our history. Those who caused his death were targeting not just a man but a vision -- a vision of peace. There is no calculating the consequences of his death for this country and for the world. Those consequences endure. To a large extent, the fate of our country and the future of the planet continue to be controlled by the shadowy forces of what Douglass calls "the Unspeakable." Only by unmasking these forces and confronting the truth about our history can we restore the promise of democracy and lay claim to Kennedy's vision of peace."
[Oliver Stone: JFK and the Unspeakable]
I watched a great film that I am excited about tonight. It's called The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil. I recommend it highly to those of you who are interested in community solutions to the problem of depleting global energy resources, and sustainability.
You may have already seen the film, it was released in May 2006. It's about the transition Cuba was forced to make in 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. You see, the U.S.S.R. provided a heaping amount of trade to Cuba, and when it collapsed, Cuba's GDP plummeted to 34% of its pre-collapse level. The Cuban people were faced with some very hard times - and some massive challenges. What changes did they make and how did they make them?
The film explains a lot of what happened. It's a sweet film. And it's a great window on what many important aspects of moving toward a truly sustainable society could look like.
Our wonderful City of Olympia has sustainability as one of its foremost resolutions and goals. This is something which I am sure the majority of us endorse. This film has much to offer: education, knowledge, wisdom, the experience of others: we can learn from the journey of Cuba and the Cuban people, for example - to conserve and to implement local solutions to global problem of finite and depleted energy reserves.
Find out more information, including a 2 minute trailer, at the Power of Community film-information-website: The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil Documentary - Welcome!
Although the video is for sale, it can be found for free on Google. I also posted it to my other blog: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.
Interesting and informative news article:
Chinese Muslims Ordered Released From GuantanamoRead More: Chinese Muslims Ordered Released From Guantanamo
By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 8, 2008; A01
A federal judge yesterday ordered a small band of Chinese Muslims being held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison released into the United States by Friday, rejecting the Bush administration's contention that it could detain them indefinitely without cause.
It was the first time a U.S. judge has ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee, and the first time a foreign national held at the facility in Cuba has been ordered transferred to the United States.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina issued his ruling in dramatic fashion from the bench in a packed courtroom, saying he was ordering the release of 17 Uighurs because the government provided no proof that they were enemy combatants or security risks. Under the order, the men will live with Uighur families in the Washington area until a more permanent situation can be found.
On March 21, Olympia gets the opportunity to see Gloria La Riva. She is the coordinator of the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and presidential candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. She will speak at Media Island (816 Adams St., across from the downtown Timberland library) on the current economic and political situation in Cuba and to update the community of the struggle to Free the Cuban Five, serving unjust sentences in U.S. prisons.