The U.S. administration announced through CNN that Obama would be visiting Mexico this week, in the first part of a trip that will take him to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he will be within four days taking part in the Summit of the Americas. He has announced the relief of some hateful restrictions imposed by Bush on Cubans living in the United States regarding their visits to relatives in Cuba. When questions were raised on whether such prerogatives extended to other American citizens the response was that the latter were not authorized.
Evo entered today his fourth day of rigorous hunger strike. He spoke yesterday evening and today at noon. His words were calm, persuasive and categorical. He offered a “biometric electoral register” that was still better than the one in force during the electoral processes held in his country, which had already been described by international institutions as reliable and of high quality.
Sometimes I have thought that I would not have to write the following day and that I could rather use part of the time to read and study, as I have often done. But, the significant events of the past few weeks related to the world economy and politics, and the developments in Bolivia have prevented me from doing so.
Yesterday, Thursday 9, our attention was focused on the tense situation in Bolivia…
Early on Tuesday March 31st, I read a Notimex news cable dated the 30th; it stated, verbatim:
It is now universally recognized that the U.S. economy is experiencing a deep downturn unlike anything seen since the 1930s. Hence, the question continually arises: How close is this to a depression? One way of answering is to look at the unemployment rate. The Great Depression hit bottom in 1933 when unemployment peaked at 25 percent. Today the United States is losing jobs at the rate of 600,000 a month. But the official unemployment rate currently stands at 8.1 percent (seasonally adjusted, February 2009). This is the highest rate of official unemployment in a quarter-century, but hardly what is considered a depression-level rate, which is usually thought of as well into the double-digits.
Who could have imagined the 2008 presidential campaign?
Commentators, media people, and especially politicians fell all over themselves proclaiming that the 2008 election had, “nothing at all to do with race.” And yet every event, every speech and comment, every debate and appearance had race written all over it. Stephen Colbert, the brilliant satirist, hit it on the head when he asked a Republican operative, “How many euphemisms have you come up with so far so that you won’t have to use the word ‘Black?’” Everyone laughed good-naturedly.
During the Cold War, many of the people with a radical vision of the world were driven out of our labor movement. Today, as unions search for answers about how to begin growing again, and regain the power workers need to defend themselves, the question of social vision has become very important. What is our vision in labor? What are the issues that we confront today that form a more radical vision for our era.
Esteban Morales Domínguez is one of Cuba’s most prominent Afro-Cuban intellectuals and its leading authority on the race question. Available for the first time in English, the essays collected here describe the problem of racial inequality in Cuba, provide evidence of its existence, constructively criticize efforts by the Cuban political leadership to end discrimination, and point to a possible way forward.
In The Cost of Privilege: Taking On the System of White Supremacy and Racism, Chip Smith has written a historical treatise on white racism in the United States. He provides a well researched, detailed account of the cause and effect of white privilege in the United States. The book effectively examines the influence of racial privilege on a broad range of social relations from an international to a personal level. It targets progressive white people who are consciously anti-racist and provides insights for individual self-reflection and organizational change
Around 35,000 Cuban health specialists are providing free or paid services in the world. Furthermore, some young doctors from countries such as Haiti and others among the poorest of the Third World are working in their homelands thanks to the assistance provided by Cuba. In Latin America, our main contribution has been the ophthalmologic surgeries that will help to preserve the eyesight of millions of people. In addition, we are assisting in the training of tens of thousands of young medical students from other nations, both in and outside Cuba.
Beginning in March 2008 and extending through the last Democratic primaries of early June, the United States witnessed the most brazen demonization in its history of a person based on his race, his creed, and his ties to a presidential candidate. One major purpose behind these attacks was to use the demonized figure to discredit the politician. But participation in the attacks also fed the voracious, twenty-four-hour-aday media appetite, and quickly took on a life of its own. When we look back at the ugly spectacle then taking place, the evidence suggests that, despite much optimism about narrowing racial divides and an emerging “post-racial” consciousness, something much closer to the opposite had gripped America.