Because of a reforestation program which started in 1998, forests make up 30.6 percent of Cuba’s land area, and the country has been able to maintain sustained forest growth. Cuba has the highest proportion of its forest designated for protective functions in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. When Fidel claimed victory in the Cuban Revolution in 1959, only 14 percent of Cuba was thought to be covered in forest. Spanish colonization and foreign-owned timber and sugarcane industries played significant roles destroying significant amount of forest, which was estimated at around 90 percent before the Spanish landed on the island.
—  ‘Fidel Castro’s Enduring Environmental Legacy’, teleSUR
Nicaragua re-affirmed its commitment to its decision to refrain from the Paris Agreement, and has criticized the accord for failing to hold the world’s most major polluters accountable as well as not recognizing Central America is one of the most vulnerable regions in the world to the effects of climate change, facing drought and harm to agricultural systems, threatening food security for many of the region’s poorest. Nicaragua is the 4th most vulnerable country to climate change’s effects in the world, according to the Global Climate Risk Index 2014. It maintains that the deal does not do enough to hold countries like the U.S. accountable. Voluntary commitment on the part of history’s largest polluters, they say, is not enough. Dr. Paul Oquist, Minister-Adviser of Public Policies of the Presidency of the Republic of Nicaragua, asserted that the Paris Agreement should take into consideration historical and financial responsibility for climate change, and be legally binding for the few countries who since the Industrial revolution have contributed more than 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
—  ‘Nicaragua Demands Major Polluters be Held Accountable, Defends Decision to Refrain From Paris Agreement’, teleSUR

anonymous asked:

What's ur opinion on the Venezuela situation. And while we are on that why do no leftists here talk about it

I think people are quiet because it is better not to speak about things you haven’t read much about. This will be short for the same reason.

The situation is this: Venezuela has been subject to assault on its attempts to build socialism from the early days of Chavez, from attempted coups (you can watch “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which is free on YouTube, for an understanding of the 2002 US-backed coup to depose democratically elected Chavez) to collusion between the US and its allies to lower the price of oil specifically to weaken the Venezuelan economy. The current economic crisis is the result of a multitude of factors, but the intentional lowering of oil prices by the US and its allies is one of the most important, as well as the failure of the Venezuelan government to diversify its exports such thst its entire economy wasn’t tied so strongly to the price of oil. The resulting economic crisis (resulting, again, not from -socialism- in the generic, but from specific attempts to undermine the Venezuelan government) has, of course, resulted in widening anti-government sentiment, especially among classes whose ability to consume has been limited.

That last part is important- many of the most impoverished in Venezuela still support the government because their ability to eat, to go to school, etc, has been directly provides by Chavista policy. In some papers this will be talked about as buying votes, or bribing those without privilege. In reality this is the relationship between a government not of bourgeois character and those among its people who most need help and empowering- that these people’s livelihoods have been so tied to the government is evidence of the good work being done by its government, not indicative of bribery.

This crisis has been worsened by hoarding and price fixing by Venezuelan companies which are privately owned. The Venezuelan government, contrary to what many people assume, does not control all production and distribution within its borders, and many private companies seem to be able to produce some products and not others, intentionally stirring up discontent. In a recent Telesur video (which is propaganda and should be seen as such, but this merely means that it is supposed to teach you something specific and not that everything or even anything it claims is false on its face) explained that there seemed to be a shortage of toilet paper, but no shortage of other paper products like paper towels, paper plates, etc, suggesting that the problem was in production and distribution rather than lack of demand for products (who does not want toilet paper?) or lack of access to raw materials. There have also been numerous claims of things from toys to food being hoarded by the wealthy.

In response to this crisis (again, one intentionally wrought upon the country), the government of Venezuela has made several moves which I do not support in and of themselves in an attempt to combat the opposition and maintain its power, including the potential dissolution of the one governing body in which the opposition has a meaningful voice, and crackdown on protesters using means of violence I consider overkill for the tactics being used in those particular moments. But leftists need to understand that we don’t pick sides based on good guys and bad guys- and, even if we did, the opposition has committed its own unseemly and unnecessary acts of horrific violence as well, including literally burning people- but based on the class character of the actors involved. That, and that alone, is the basis of solidarity. The “opposition” is first and foremost a euphemism and a misnomer because it includes a number of elements from social democrats to the most extreme elements of the far right, but its hodgepodge of demands includes austerity, increased privatization, etc- the class character of the opposition is decidedly bourgeois, and the class character of the Venezuelan government is decidedly not bourgeois, even if you don’t want to go so far as to call it proletarian in character. That alone ought to tell us who we maybe not support but eye with more suspicion, see as the greater threat, etc. The class character of the actors involved is very clear, and it is on this basis that, whether you “support” the Venezuelan government or not, you should certainly not “support” the bourgeois opposition. Solidarity is not about good feelings and liking who we work with and so on, but about defense against right wing antisocialist and anti proletarian policy, and advancement of the goals of socialism. I do not think that Venezuela ever achieved socialism. I do not think that Venezuela is a perfect or even very good model for future socialist projects.

To be very clear here, what is being attempted by the opposition is the 2002 coup by other means and by counterrevolution as opposed to outright military coup- the goal is to unseat a democratically elected leader and to impose the will of the bourgeois and right wing elements of Venezuelan society on the people of the country. Regardless of how I feel about the decisions made by the government in the fact of this crisis, of course I do not support a mishmash of right wing elements attempting to undo the work of building something like socialism. I am no Chavista, but “Viva Venezuela” ya es el té, and I do not take kindly to seeing support for right wing elements passed around like it means nothing.

Uber’s public relations falsely suggest it introduces healthy competition into a transport market vitiated by special interests jealously protecting poor service and anti-competitive practices. But the basis of Uber’s business model has nothing to do with innovation or fair competition and everything to do with classic predatory capitalism, maximizing profits by externalizing costs as much as possible and minimizing costs it cannot externalize. Uber’s multinational business tax profile offers minimal contribution to the upkeep of roads and highways. Uber may pay the authorities of a given country for permission to operate there, but the amount will certainly be much less than the revenue lost from transport operators displaced by Uber. Nor is it true, as its promoters argue, that Uber makes more efficient use of its drivers’ vehicles. A typical Uber driver wastes 40 percent of their time driving between fares. So it is false to argue that Uber contributes to the local economy or is environmentally more sustainable than other taxi businesses. Uber contributes nothing to public health systems to cover costs from accidents involving their drivers or to mitigate environmental pollution their drivers’ vehicles create.
—  ‘Why Nicaragua Was Smart to Reject Uber’, teleSUR

“Happy Birthday, Frida Kahlo! 🎂🎉

Today marks the birth of one of Mexico’s most famous artists – Frida Kahlo. Frida would often lie about her birthday to coincide with the start of the Mexican Revolution on July 7, 1910. Born to a German father and a Mesitza mother, Frida grew up defying gender norms and enjoyed dressing in men’s clothing from a young age and was encourage by her father to do so.

In her youth, Frida was a prominent student on her way to becoming a doctor before polio and a devastating bus accident left her permanently disabled. A communist, feminist, and artist, Frida’s work centered around gender, race, love, and pain in what many have deemed surrealist art although she was not fond of the categorization.

Throughout her life Frida would stand with workers and oppressed peoples in Mexico in beyond. In fact, she rallied the courage to protests despite severe illness after the U.S. ousted President Jacob Arbenz in Guatemala. Today we honor her unforgettable legacy and spirit.”

– telesur


venezuelans: we are being killed here

first world leftists:  ehm telesur doesn’t say that so :// I can’t trust u sorry

Almost half of Argentina’s children live in poverty, a rate that has risen by 17 percent after conservative President Mauricio Macri’s first year in office, according to a new UNICEF report. About 5.6 million children live in poverty in Argentina, of which 1.3 million suffer extreme poverty, according to official statistics. Poverty affects children worse than the broader population, with 29.7 percent of people living below the poverty line, while for children and adolescents the percentage rises to 47.7 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses, known as INDEC. Adolescents are the poorest group, with 13 to 17-year-olds living below the pvoerty line at a rate of 51 percent, compared to 48 percent of 5 to 12-year-olds and 45 percent of 0 to 4-year-olds. The rate of child and adolescent poverty increases to 85 percent when children live in a household whose head is unemployed, and 65 percent when the head of household has an informal job. According to the report, extreme poverty mainly affects women and youth with low educational levels and challenges securing employment.
—  ‘Almost Half of Argentina’s Children Live in Poverty, Up 17% in Macri’s First Year’, teleSUR

The Black Panther Party was founded on this day in 1966.

The Panthers were created to combat the multiple injustices faced by the African American community, first in Oakland, and then across the breadth of the United States. What stands out and continues to inspire the struggle for racial and class justice today is their various social programs and their militancy.

Apart from having a very clear ideological position in regards to white supremacy, capitalism, and imperialism, they also had very definite projects to match their ideas to actions. These included healthcare clinics and breakfast programs for poor Black people, political education study groups, and gun clubs and self-defense classes.

Today, the legacy of the Black Panthers continues to influence culture and politics, especially in the Black communities across the country and the world.

– telesur


“On this day in 1945, with the United Kingdom’s approval, the United States dropped humanity’s first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and then again on Nagasaki three days later. It remains the only time nuclear bombs have been used in a war.

Despite Western propaganda and narratives that suggest that the bombings were a "last resort” to end the war as quickly as possible, evidence shows that the U.S. was determined to use the bombs - actually drawing out the war longer.

It is well known that the U.S. and the U.K. had at least two other tactical options to end the Pacific War, avoiding the devastating nuclear option.

One of them would have been a Russian declaration of war which would have most probably forced the Japanese to surrender. Joseph Stalin had already expressed that Russia would join the war against Japan. The second option would have been diplomatic measures to preserve the role of the Emperor. Most military and civilian advisors to the U.S. president had agreed that giving the Emperor diplomatic immunity was the best option, yet this less cruel path was ignored.

The final decision to go ahead with the bombings, ignoring all other viable options, left more than 226,000 casualties and much more injured. For decades the population in and around the two cities have suffered the after effects of nuclear radiation which included birth defects, early death, and raised levels of cancers.“

– telesur

note: the original article included pictures of japanese citizens in great distress. these pictures may have great historic value but i will not be sharing them on this blog as they are extremely unsettling.

In the wake of the 2009 U.S.-backed military coup, 28 journalists were murdered in Honduras between 2010 and 2015 alone, according to the Inter-American Commision on Human Rights. Honduras was dubbed the “murder capital of the world” in the wake of the coup due to the numerous violations against journalists, lawyers, human rights activists, LGBTI individuals and other vulnerable groups, together with a generalized lawlessness and systemic impunity that has allowed attacks and threats of violence by drug cartels and gangs to become commonplace. Government officials, pressured by human rights organizations, passed a law to institute a “protection system" for journalists in 2015. However, more than 38 journalists have petitioned for sanctuary and many are still awaiting a response.
—  ‘Another Honduran Journalist Murdered, Second This Year’, teleSUR