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The Bolivarian Revolution and the Caribbean

I liked history, as most boys do. Wars as well, a culture that society sowed in male children. All the toys offered us were weapons.

In my childhood they sent me to a city where I was never taken to a movie theater. Television did not exist then, and there was no radio in the house in which I lived. I had to use my imagination.

In the first boarding school, I read with amazement about the Universal Flood and Noah’s Ark. Later on I came to the conclusion that maybe it was a vestige that humanity retained of the last climate change in the history of… | more |

The Spirit of Cooperation is Being Put to the Test in Haiti

The news reported from Haiti describes a great chaos that was to be expected, given the exceptional situation created in the aftermath of the catastrophe.

At first, a feeling of surprise, astonishment, and commotion set in. A desire to offer immediate assistance came up in the farthest corners of the Earth. What assistance should be sent—and how—to a Caribbean nation from China, India, Vietnam, and other countries that are tens of thousands of kilometers away? The magnitude of the earthquake and the poverty that exists in that country generated at first some ideas about probable needs, which gave rise to all types of… | more |

The Lesson of Haiti

TWO days ago, at almost six o’clock in the evening Cuban time and when, given its geographical location, night had already fallen in Haiti, television stations began to broadcast the news that a violent earthquake – measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale – had severely struck Port-au-Prince. The seismic phenomenon originated from a tectonic fault located in the sea just 15 kilometers from the Haitian capital, a city where 80% of the population inhabit fragile homes built of adobe and mud.

Why Ecological Revolution?

It is now universally recognized within science that humanity is confronting the prospect—if we do not soon change course—of a planetary ecological collapse. Not only is the global ecological crisis becoming more and more severe, with the time in which to address it fast running out, but the dominant environmental strategies are also forms of denial, demonstrably doomed to fail, judging by their own limited objectives. This tragic failure, I will argue, can be attributed to the refusal of the powers that be to address the roots of the ecological problem in capitalist production and the resulting necessity of ecological and social revolution.

The Truth of What Happened at the Summit

The youth is more interested than anyone else in the future. Until very recently, the discussion revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centers on whether human society will survive. These are not dramatic phrases. We must get used to the true facts. Hope is the last thing human beings can relinquish. With truthful arguments, men and women of all ages, especially young people, have waged an exemplary battle at the Summit and taught the world a great lesson.

The Moment of Truth

The news from the Danish capital gives a picture of chaos. After planning a conference with about 40 thousand people in attendance, the hosts find it impossible to honor their promise. Evo, the first of the two presidents of ALBA-member countries to arrive, stated some truths derived from the millennium-old culture of his people.

Farmers, Mao, and Discontent in China: From the Great Leap Forward to the Present

There are widespread misconceptions about numerous aspects of the Chinese revolution. These include a misreading of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the “reforms” of the post-Mao era, and the reaction of the overwhelming mass of the peasantry to these movements. Although the revolutionary programs/movements resulted in significant hardships—on the rural population (the Great Leap Forward, 1958-61) or the intellectuals (the Cultural Revolution, 1966-76)—they both produced concrete achievements in the countryside that led to impressive gains in agricultural production and in people’s lives. In contrast, the post-Mao era “reforms” have resulted so far in a huge growth of inequality in China, with the rural population suffering greatly by the dismantling of public support for health and education. In addition, local and regional officials have sold farmland for development purposes, usually lining their own pockets, with inadequate compensation for the farmers. This has resulted in the current massive unrest in rural areas, involving literally hundreds of thousands of incidents with protesting farmers.

The ALBA and Copenhagen

The festivities associated with the 7th ALBA Summit, held in the historic Bolivian region of Cochabamba, showed the rich culture of the Latin American peoples and the joy elicited in children, young people and adults in general by the singing, the dancing, the costumes and rich expressions of the human beings of all ethnic groups, colors and shades: aborigine, black, white and mixed people. We could see there thousands of years of human history and precious culture that explain the determination with which the leaders of various Caribbean, Central and South American peoples convened that summit.

Gouldiana Rising

Warren D. Allmon, Patricia H. Kelley, and Robert M. Ross, eds., Stephen Jay Gould: Reflections on His View of Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 400 pages, $34.95, hardcover.

Stephen Jay Gould, best known to the general public for his nearly three decades of regular essays published in the popular magazine Natural History, was prolific and, although he always emphasized that he was a tradesman, specializing in paleontology and evolutionary theory, he was nonetheless a polymath, demonstrating a sophisticated understanding of art, literature, philosophy, history, and a variety of sciences, both social and natural. The vast body of work he has bequeathed to the literate public — the Republic of Letters, as he affectionately called us — is filled with gems of insight, fascinating observations, and no shortage of controversy. No one who has read Gould with care can avoid noticing his abiding love for learning and teaching, his unbridled enthusiasm for grappling with nature’s mysteries, and his fascination with humanity in all of its many forms. In many ways, Gould’s writing was deeply personal, demonstrating one man’s struggle to understand the natural world and our place in it. However, in other ways, Gould, the man, remained elusive and inaccessible to those who only knew him through his writing.

The Serious Obama

Bolivarian President Hugo Chavez really made a clever remark when he referred to the “riddle of the two Obamas.”