Maggie Alarcón

Posts Tagged ‘President Barack Obama’

Hillary´s Hour

In History, Politics, Politics on October 27, 2016 at 1:42 am

hillary

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

It´s less than a month to the US elections and it is still possible that Donald Trump turns out to be the winner. Such a scenario is regarded with astonishment and concern by those in the United States who still believe in their institutions.

When he began his campaign, very few people took seriously the aspirations of the millionaire who synthesizes the two qualities that ––in the words of Octavio Paz– define imperialist behavior: arrogance and ignorance. He displayed both when he faced the other Republican contenders and now against Hillary Clinton. All along that path he has tried to show himself, demagogically, as if he were an enemy of the “establishment” and the spokesman for its victims.

It is enough to read his proposals to understand that he is blatantly lying. His tax reform plan would benefit only those who concentrate wealth and hurt those who live on their wages. To make matters worse, – a unique case in American history– he refuses to disclose his income tax reports to the Internal Revenue Service and, last but not least, he has boasted of not having paid taxes for years. Al Capone was sent to prison for that crime. But Trump is still freely touring the country where thousands of enthusiastic supporters applaud.

Everywhere, day after day, he repeats a message of hatred, prejudice and violence. There is a long list of those who are subjected to his insults and threats: Mexicans and women, Muslims and people with physical disabilities, immigrants and the LGBT community, those who advocate limiting the arms trade, and those who fight against pollution, as well as an endless list that includes Republican politicians who distance themselves from his ultra-reactionary speech and foul language.

On a couple of occasions he suggested the assassination of Hillary Clinton; and in the debate with her, before millions of viewers, he threatened with her imprisonment if he reached the presidency.

In any country in the world, and in the United States in normal situations, a similar character would lose any election and –most likely– be held in a penal institution or in an asylum. Trump, incredibly, has been the focus of the election campaign and –although many criticize him– he has the support of millions of voters.

The only way to defeat him is Hillary Clinton, the first woman in history with a chance of being elected. The difference is abysmal. Barak Obama did not exaggerate when he said she was more prepared to be President than he –Obama– or her husband, Bill Clinton.

Hillary has a long political career from her early years and has always been seen as an enemy by the most conservative groups who have unleashed a fierce campaign against her in which slander abounds. She has made mistakes –some of undoubted importance– and reprehensible concessions. She did not always remain faithful to her ideals of her youth. But the same can be said of any US politician and none other has been subjected to such relentless scrutiny by the media – those of the large corporations and many others circulating in the digital universe. These have examined her life in detail and cannot accuse her of having committed any crime. The biggest charges against her are having embraced neo-liberalism –as did almost all in her party– and having implemented, as Secretary of State, the warmongering line of the White House.

The United States remains the most powerful country in the world but its society is going through a deep crisis. Frustration and discomfort dominate US citizens who are increasingly skeptical of their politicians. Donald Trump manipulates the situation and does it appealing to the racism, brutal individualism, stupidity and violence that have been present –since its origin– in the nation that believes it is superior to the rest of the world. His candidacy has brought out the worst in the US and has turned it into an organized political force.

Hillary does not represent a revolutionary alternative. Choosing her will not produce the radical transformation of US society. But right now she is the only hope to stop barbarism.

It is possible to beat Trump. But it needs to be a crushing defeat: a landslide of votes that puts this unprecedented demagogue out of action, and also allows the start of a new stage where “Trumpism” can be defeated, because it is a disease that corrodes US society and threatens humanity.

 

 A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.

 

EL FINAL DE UNA FARSA

In Politics, Puerto Rico, US on July 22, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Puerto Rican boy

 

Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

La leyenda parecía eterna pero, sin embargo, se disolvió en la nada, en apenas poco más de una semana.

A mediados del pasado siglo Estados Unidos había anunciado a bombo y platillo que Puerto Rico dejaba de ser una colonia y se transformaba en un socio con el que habría suscrito un Pacto, supuestamente entre iguales, bautizado como “estado libre asociado”.

Como mago que saca un conejo del sombrero, Washington mostró orgulloso la nueva criatura ante la Asamblea General de la ONU y advirtió que en lo adelante no le rendiría cuentas sobre la situación de un territorio que ya no estaría bajo su dominio. La Asamblea, que en 1953 era ampliamente controlada por Estados Unidos, endosó esa posición en una votación de 26 a favor, 16 en contra y 18 abstenciones. En otras palabras a pesar de la Guerra Fría y del poderío entonces indiscutido que ejercía sobre un Foro en el que aun no participaban la mayoría de sus doscientos miembros actuales, el mago no pudo convencer siquiera a la mitad de la Asamblea.

Al interior de la isla los nacionalistas e independentistas sufrieron la más brutal represión. Muchos cayeron combatiendo o asesinados, no pocos perdieron sus trabajos y sufrieron persecución y discriminación. Otros fueron condenados a largas sentencias en prisiones federales, entre ellos, Pedro Albizu Campos, quien sólo fue liberado cuando estaba al borde de la muerte.

Año tras año los patriotas denunciaron la farsa y reclamaron la solidaridad internacional pero su reclamo parecía encarar la sordera universal.

Entretanto la ONU fue cambiando. A ella entraron decenas de países, de África, Asia, el Caribe y Oceanía, provenientes de un proceso que desmanteló a los viejos imperios coloniales. A casi todos. Washington se las arregló para seguir practicando el colonialismo como si nada hubiese ocurrido en el mundo.

La ONU adoptó en 1960 la Declaración 1514 (XV) proclamando el derecho inalienable a la independencia de todos los pueblos aun sometidos al dominio foráneo y estableciendo la obligación de las potencias coloniales a transferirles el poder para que pudiesen disfrutar de “una independencia y libertad absoluta”.

Desde la creación del Comité Especial de la ONU encargado de aplicar esa Declaración los boricuas trataron de ser escuchados. No lo lograron hasta 1973. A partir de ahí cada año el Comité aprobó resoluciones que, siempre adoptadas también por la Asamblea, le reconocieron a Puerto Rico ese derecho y exhortaron a Estados Unidos a actuar en consecuencia. Washington tercamente insistió en que el asunto había sido resuelto con la creación del “estado libre asociado”. Este año, en la discusión del Comité, participaron los representantes de todos los sectores puertorriqueños absolutamente, sin excepción, incluyendo al actual Gobernador de la isla y a quienes abogan por su anexión a los Estados Unidos y todos, sin excluir a alguno, admitieron que es una situación colonial que debe ser resuelta con urgencia y de acuerdo con el mandato de la ONU.

Una cuestión gravitaba sobre este debate. La crisis económica de la isla, consecuencia del fracaso del modelo económico que se le impuso, había conducido a una deuda colosal y la insolvencia. Las autoridades locales quisieron encontrar remedios por sí mismas imaginando que tenían capacidad para hacerlo pues así lo sugería el viejo mito. Ensayaron también, inútilmente, que se les permitiese acogerse a los procedimientos de bancarrota como hizo, por ejemplo, Detroit. Pero en pocos días fueron obligadas a despertar. La Corte Suprema, el Congreso y la Administración norteamericana solemnemente y en términos inequívocos dijeron lo que los patriotas nunca se cansaron de denunciar: Puerto Rico carece de soberanía propia y está sujeta completamente a los poderes de Washington, o sea, es una posesión norteamericana, un territorio colonial. Para colmo el Presidente Obama sancionó una ley que crea una Junta de Control Fiscal que se ocupará de cobrar la deuda y dirigirá las finanzas y la economía puertorriqueñas. Los siete miembros de la Junta serán designados por Washington. Sin contar para nada con el imaginario “socio” le despojaron de sus escasos atributos.

Como era de suponer la situación ha generado un rechazo unánime.

El telón finalmente ha caído sobre la farsa del “estado libre asociado”.

Dando muestras de altura y generosidad las fuerzas independentistas han propuesto una salida posible. Por su iniciativa, además de la Resolución anual, el Comité aprobó por unanimidad un Acuerdo especial encargando a su Presidente emprender sus buenos oficios para promover un diálogo entre Washington y quienes buscan la descolonización con el fin de resolver este caso conforme a lo que la ONU ha demandado por muchos años ya. Obama tiene la palabra.

Publicado originalmente en Por Esto!

The 4th of July and American Exceptionalism

In History, US on July 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm

 

 

By Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada

Another 4th of July is here. It will be another long weekend in the U.S.  There will special offers in stores that will boost sales and attract many people. Some, however, will just have to make do with the illusion of the window dressing. For most it will be an opportunity for rest and family gatherings.

There will also be pompous ceremonies, with the beating of drums, fireworks displays and abundant official rhetoric. There will be fake speeches, repeated for over two centuries, whose effectiveness no one will question because they have been useful for cajoling so many people, inside and outside the United States, for such a long time.

President Barack Obama will demonstrate his undeniable oratorical skills, and will again tell us that the nation he leads is exceptional, unrepeatable. He has not spoken yet, but there is no doubt he will repeat –give or take a word– what he said last year:

“On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal, free to think and worship and live as we please, that our destiny would not be determined for us, it would be determined by us. And it was bold, and it was brave. And it was unprecedented. It was unthinkable. At that time in human history, it was kings and princes and emperors who made decisions. But those patriots knew there was a better way of doing things, that freedom was possible, and that to achieve their freedom, they’d be willing to lay down their lives, their fortune and their honor. And so they fought a revolution. And few would have bet on their side. But for the first time of many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong. And now, 237 years later, this improbable experiment in democracy, the United States of America, stands as the greatest nation on Earth.”

Such ranting has been reproduced incessantly, from day one, by all U.S. leaders, liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican. Some, perhaps, could have pleaded ignorance; but this is not the case with the former constitutional law professor. All, without exception, have insisted on a big lie.

It is a discourse that has nothing to do with the historical truth of a country that emerged oppressing others and, for over two hundred years, has spread war, pain and death around the globe. Nor is it true that those men were thinking of  conducting some “democratic experiment“.  Madison, Hamilton and Jay spelled it out in the days of the birth of the nation. The new republic would not be governed by the people; power should always be in the hands of those who owned land, factories and servants.

The amazing thing is that, despite everything, there are many who – there and elsewhere – still believe in a falsehood that is more than two centuries old. This capacity for deception is the authentic American Exceptionalism.

The rights mentioned by Obama existed only for the white owners of the wealth in the Thirteen Colonies which revolted against England in 1776. Yet, for the native peoples and African slaves, especially, the consequences of July 4th were the exact opposite.

Freed from the constraints imposed on them by London –which led to the revolt– the landowners launched a sweeping march to the West, practicing a brutal genocide of its populations. They intensified the slave trade and the slave commerce that had been previously controlled by the British Crown. The main motivation of that ” small group of patriots ” was the fear they had of the abolitionist movement in England, and the need to act before its inevitable consequences.

However, this year, in the United States, an important intellectual event is taking place lacking in the media attention the official celebrations will receive.  Gerald Horne, Professor of History and African American studies at the University of Houston, has just added two new texts to his long and brilliant bibliography on these subjects. Last April, New York University published  The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America.” And now,in late June, Monthly Review Press began distributing  Race to Revolution: The U.S.and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow .”

The fruit of thorough and painstaking research, both books belie the legend of the revolutionary character of the 4th of July. The landowners revolted to prevent the emancipation of the slaves and to unleash an aggressive expansionism for the exclusive benefit of the plutocracy in the Thirteen Colonies. Nevertheless they also encountered unwavering resistance.

Their victims , who were the same in North America and in the Caribbean islands, persisted in their quest for freedom; a struggle that united them beyond language differences and is – despite the lying propaganda which tries in vain to separate them– the foundation of their deep solidarity. Hopefully, someone will discover over there, in the capital of the Empire, these works by Professor Horne. May they find time to read them.   Now that they have a long week-end coming.

Mike Farrell, a member of US Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 sent this letter to President Obama:

In Alan Gross, Cuba/US, Cuban 5, Human Rights/Derechos Humanos, Politics, US on July 13, 2012 at 11:00 am

Mike Farrell – actor/activist

 

Dear President Obama,

Though I fear your staff protects you from letters such as this, I write in the hope that one of our voices leaks through. I am one of thousands of people around the world who ask that you make a humanitarian gesture that is also a meaningful step to reduce international tensions: grant Executive Clemency and cause the release of the Cuban 5, who have been wrongly held in our prisons for nearly 14 years.

Together with a number of colleagues in the arts who speak as Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5, I ask for the release of these five men: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Rene González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort.

Release them because they are sons, husbands, brothers, poets, pilots, college graduates and artists who have committed no crime against the United States.

Release them because they came to this country unarmed and never posed a threat of any kind to US National Security.

Release them because they came here only to monitor the activities of violent Cuban exiles who, operating from bases in Miami of which our government is well aware, were planning violent actions against innocent people in Cuba.

Release them because they were trying to prevent more brutal acts against their country and save innocent lives.

As you’re aware, Mr. President, this month was our Independence Day, a day many politicians use to celebrate our nation’s laws, its history, and its people. For many of these same politicians, supporting the so-called “war on terror” is used as a way to demonstrate their patriotism.

That being so, it is an act of profound hypocrisy for our government to continue the incarceration of these heroic men who put themselves at risk to stop the very terrorism we claim to find so abhorrent.

Therefore, I respectfully ask that you to reverse this mockery of justice and use the power conferred on you by our Constitution to do the right thing and allow the Cuban 5 to return home to their loved ones.

Sincerely,

Mike Farrell

 

Published in The Huffington Post