[Marxism] U.S getting closer to Cuba?

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 17 16:02:53 MST 2006

Most of this post isn't about Cuba, but the point is that there now are
some who hope to pit Syria against Iran, so they're fooling around 
with the Syrians a little bit. Washington can have normal relations
with China, Vietnam, can talk to North Vietnam and other states
without making any demands on those countries that they change
their political systems to one approvable by Washington. Cuba, as
in so many areas, is completely unique on the entire planet in this
as so many other respects. 

Since Bush and the Republicans lost the mid-term elections and thus
control of both houses of Congress, it seems that the rats are today
jumping off the stinking ship of state. Here's the Florida Democrat
who would never go 90 miles from home, yet feels TODAY completely
comfortable going to a state which has been characterized as "beyond
the axis of evil" by the ex-U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton -
remember him?

Washington is frothing at the mouth over the visit to Cuba by the
ten Representatives this weekend, though they have not been able to
say much beyond presenting the diagnosis by Dr. Negroponte that Fidel
is at death's doorstep. However, Negroponte isn't licensed to practice 
medicine, last we heard.

Compare the White House on Syria with the Vatican on Syria, which
follows this. And remember, also, the Vatican also is a state which
has totally normal relations with both Cuba and the United States.

Bush and his regime are acting so out of touch with reality that now
probably the most apt way to describe it is this is a "lame schmuck"
administration. When you're all done with that, spend 1:17 MINUTES on
a video report from Havana by Reuters and enjoy its breathless
commentary which suggests that Raul might now be up to negotiating
with the United States. The reporter may not have known that Raul
revealed this little strategem to a small private party attended by
about half a million of his closest friends across the street from
the national library on December 2. Raul's secret is revealed below.

Walter Lippmann, CubaNews
Los Angeles, California

White House decries senators' visits to Syria
By James Gerstenzang
Times Staff Writer

December 15, 2006
WASHINGTON — The White House on Thursday stepped up its pressure on
senators who are engaged in direct talks with Syrian leaders, saying
their trips to Damascus risk undermining U.S. efforts to encourage
democracy in the Middle East.

The visits come at a particularly difficult time for the Bush
administration, which has largely rejected the recommendation of the
bipartisan Iraq Study Group that the United States open discussions
with Syria and Iran on ways to bring the sectarian violence in Iraq
under control.

With the elevation of Democrats to a majority position in Congress
next month adding to the uncertainty, the flurry of visits,
particularly by Democrats, has prompted the administration to go out
of its way to emphasize that it retains control over American
diplomatic efforts in the region.

The administration's relations with Damascus are in a deep freeze, in
part because of suspicions that Syria was involved in the
assassinations of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last
year and Cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel last month, and that the
government in Damascus has blocked international attempts to
investigate the killings.

The administration also cites Syria's support for insurgents in Iraq.

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow suggested Thursday that just by
engaging Syrian President Bashar Assad in diplomatic dialogue,
visiting senators could dilute Washington's hard-line approach, even
if they adopt the administration's language.

"The Syrians have been adventurous and meddlesome in Iraq and in
Lebanon and working against the causes of democracy in both of those
countries," Snow said.

On Wednesday, the administration criticized Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
shortly after he met with Assad in Damascus.

On Thursday, Snow extended that criticism to two other Democratic
senators, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and John F. Kerry of
Massachusetts, and a Republican, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

All of them are planning visits to Damascus, the Syrian capital, in
coming weeks.

Specter has traveled to Syria 15 times since 1984, most recently in

His office declined to respond to Snow's remarks but called attention
to a speech Specter gave in the Senate last week in which he urged
President Bush to negotiate directly with Syria.

Dodd and Kerry plan to travel together to Syria in coming days.

In a statement responding to Snow's comments, Dodd, a senior member
of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, noted Congress' equal
status with the executive branch under the Constitution and added, "I
can't think of a more critical part of the world than the Middle
East, and I can't think of a more critical player affecting events in
the region for good or for bad than Syria."

Kerry's spokesman, David Wade, pointed out the support the Iraq Study
Group gave in its report, issued last week, for talks with Syria, and
said his boss and Dodd would be "engaged in fact-finding, not
negotiating, and there's no better way to test Syrian intentions than
by asking the tough questions face to face."

Snow said that Nelson had been told before he met with Assad of the
administration's displeasure with his plans and that his public
comments should serve to notify Dodd, Kerry and Specter of the White
House's opposition to their meetings in Damascus.

"The Syrians should have absolutely no doubt," Snow said, "that the
position of the United States government is the same as it has been,
which is: They know what they need to do. They need to stop harboring
terrorists. They need to stop supporting terrorism in Iraq, Lebanon
and elsewhere."

He said that regardless of the message delivered by the senators,
"the Syrians have already won a PR victory" because the visits were
"lending … legitimacy" to the Assad government.

james.gerstenzang at latimes.com

Pope's Address to New Syrian Ambassador
"Great Sadness at the Cycle of Death and Destruction"


VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is Benedict XVI's address to 
Hakram Obeid, the new Syrian ambassador to the Holy See, during the ceremony to 
present his letters of credence.

* * *

Mr Ambassador,
I am pleased to welcome you to the Vatican and to accept the Letters
accrediting you as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of
the Syrian Arab Republic to the Holy See. I thank you for your words
and for the greetings which you bring from your President, Mr Bachar
Al Assad. Please assure him of my sincere good wishes and my
continuing prayers for the well-being and prosperity of your nation.

As you have indicated, Syria from ancient times has witnessed a great
flowering of civilizations and religions. Your capital city,
Damascus, is dear to Christians as the site of Saint Paul's baptism,
following his dramatic experience of conversion during his journey
there. And many great saints have led lives of exemplary holiness on
Syrian soil. For centuries now, there have been harmonious relations
between the Christian and Muslim communities in your country. Syria,
then, is uniquely placed to offer to the world an example of peaceful
coexistence and tolerance between the followers of different
religions. In this regard, I can assure you of the support of the
Holy See for the efforts your Government has made both at home and
abroad to promote dialogue between religions and cultures. As I
recently had occasion to reaffirm, "all people are linked by profound
solidarity with one another, and must be encouraged to assert their
historical and cultural differences not for the sake of
confrontation, but in order to foster mutual respect" (Address to the
Diplomatic Corps, Ankara, 28 November 2006).

You have spoken of your Government's concern over the annexation of
the Golan Heights by Israel in 1967. With a heavy heart, I note that
a wide range of territorial and other disputes have led to armed
conflicts in recent times that threaten the peace and stability of
the entire Middle East. Repeatedly I have pleaded for a cessation of
violence in Lebanon, in the Holy Land and in Iraq. The world looks on
with great sadness at the cycle of death and destruction, as innocent
people continue to suffer and targeted individuals are kidnapped or
assassinated. Like many impartial observers, the Holy See believes
that solutions are possible within the framework of international law
through the implementation of the relevant United Nations
resolutions. In this regard, I have frequently urged that the various
nations of the Middle East should be supported in their aspirations
to live in peace within secure internationally recognized borders.

The Church, as you know, emphatically rejects war as a means of
resolving international disputes, and has often pointed out that it
only leads to new and still more complicated conflicts. Sadly, from
the current situation in the Middle East it is only too evident that
this is the case. In particular, the scourge of terrorism increases
the fear and insecurity experienced by so many in the region today
(cf. Message for the 2006 World Day of Peace, 9) and in this regard,
I am glad to note your words about the Syrian Government's commitment
to counter this growing threat to peace and stability. The world
looks especially to countries with significant influence in the
Middle East in the hopeful expectation of signs of progress towards
the resolution of these long-standing conflicts.

The Catholic community in Syria, as you know, is eager to play its
part in national life, in cooperation with fellow Christians from the
various Eastern Churches represented there. Your country is certainly
fertile ground for progress in ecumenical relations between the
followers of Christ and I would like to pledge the continued support
of the Catholic Church for this important work. Indeed, I was
recently able to do so publicly when I had the joy of visiting the
Ecumenical Patriarch in the Phanar; together we signed a Common
Declaration expressing the commitment of both Catholic and Orthodox
Churches to work in every way towards the goal of full visible

I particularly appreciate the recent legislation implemented by the
Syrian Government to recognize the juridical status of the Catholic
Churches present in your country, in accordance with the norms of
canon law. This step augurs well for a future of growing reciprocal
understanding between the members of different Churches and different
religions in Syria. Moreover, it sets the scene for increasing
cooperation between the Church and the Government, that should
facilitate the discovery of a solution to differences, such as the
question of Church property taken over by the State. It is a sign of
real maturity in relations when such matters can be discussed with
openness, honesty and mutual respect.

Your Excellency, I am confident that the noble task which you begin
today will consolidate these good relations between the Syrian Arab
Republic and the Holy See. In offering you my best wishes for the
success of your mission, I would like to assure you that the various
departments of the Roman Curia are always glad to provide help and
support in the fulfillment of your duties. Upon you, your family and
all the people of Syria I cordially invoke God's abundant blessings.

[Original text: English] 

© Copyright 2006 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana ZE06121407

U.S getting closer to Cuba?

Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:12am PST


Dec. 17 - The largest United States congress delegation since 1959 is
visiting Cuba.

The bipartisan group of six Democrats and four Republicans is seeking
to open dialogue with the communist government of acting President
Raul Castro. The medical condition of his brother, President Fidel
Castro, remains shrouded in mystery.

A communist party newspaper has reported that Fidel had spoken by
telephone to a meeting of Cuban officials.

Andrew Potter reports.

SOUNDBITE: Emilio Dominguez, Havana resident, saying (Spanish):

“Fidel is on top of everything, fulfilling his duty. That’s he is
resting is natural, just as if I get sick I’ll have to rest, not a
big deal, I don’t know why everyone finds that so surprising.”

RAUL'S SECRET, revealed December 2, 2006
The American people, just as in the case of Vietnam, will put an end
to these unjust and criminal wars. We hope that the US authorities
will learn that war is not the solution to the growing problems
afflicting the planet; that proclaiming their right to irresponsibly
attack "sixty or more dark corners" of the world, even when they are
already stuck in two of them, makes their differences with other
countries more complex and profound; that power based on intimidation
and terror will never be anything more than a passing illusion and
that the terrible consequences of this on the peoples of the world,
including the American, are clear to see.

We feel certain that the way to resolve the pressing conflicts
afflicting mankind is not through war, but rather political
solutions. We take this opportunity to once again state that we are
willing to resolve at the negotiating table the longstanding dispute
between the United States and Cuba, of course, provided they accept,
as we have previously said, our condition as a country that will not
tolerate any blemishes on its independence, and as long as said
resolution is based on the principles of equality, reciprocity,
non-interference and mutual respect.

In the meantime, after almost half a century, we are willing to wait
patiently until the moment when common sense prevails in the
Washington power circles.


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