Mexican Actor Gael Garcia Bernal Slams Trump’s Border Wall at Oscars

 

The Mexican star has blasted Trump in the past, and the Oscars were no exception.

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal used his time on the Oscar’s stage Sunday to criticize President Donald Trump and his border wall plan as one of many celebrities to raise political themes during the Academy Awards ceremony.

Presenting the Oscar for best animated film, Garcia Bernal slammed Trump’s promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Flesh and blood actors are migrant workers. We travel all over the world, we build families, we construct stories, we build life that cannot be divided,” he said.

“As a Mexican, as a Latin American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I’m against any form of wall that wants to separate us.”

Garcia Bernal, known for his performance in films including “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Amores Perros” as well as the web television series “Mozart in the Jungle,” has spoken out about Trump in the past.

After Trump’s Nov. 8 election, Garcia Bernal tweeted in Spanish, “Build your fucking wall. History will take care of the failed plan to make Mexico pay. And to open the holes that there will always be.”

Weeks earlier, he told “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” that although Trump’s run for president was initially seen as a “joke” by Mexicans, his popularity eventually sparked “nervousness, fear and anger” — sentiments that have only increased since the reality TV star-turn-president took over the White House.

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Fidel: Culture and Communication in Cuba

0f58db4aaf30d89363e4f15f41377334Among his many other achievements, Fidel Castro’s accomplishments as the constructor of the new Cuban society include: overthrowing capitalism in favour of socialism and its related principles of equality and solidarity; defeating U.S. neo-colonialist domination to attain sovereignty, independence and dignity; upholding human rights in the areas of health, education, culture and sport; respecting racial equality, gender equality, food and housing for all; and defending freedom of speech and the press, the latter being one of the domains in which Fidel’s example still has much to teach us, and creating a civilized social/political atmosphere without violence. The basis of these exploits, which did not exist before 1959, is the political power of the people resulting from the Revolution that quashed the U.S.-backed state.

As early as 1953, the conquest of a new revolutionary people’s power was at the forefront of Fidel’s mind. This unshakeable goal was combined with the spirit of self-sacrifice that characterized his entire political life. Through defeats and victories from 1953 to 1956 until 1959, his every thought and action were inspired by this overriding guiding objective. It was indelibly combined with key creative tactics that were designed to convert the aspiration to conquer people’s power through armed revolution into a reality. This was the focus of Fidel’s passion.

The current new society bequeathed to the Cuban people finds its origins in the liberated areas during the wars of 1868 and 1895, the latter reaching new levels of organization under the leadership of the Revolutionary Party of Cuba and José Martí. Thus, the seeds of new political power were sowed in the second half of the 19th century, to be resuscitated and updated by Fidel in compliance with the new conditions. Local political power forged in the Sierra Maestra’s liberated areas in 1957–58 was embedded as a virtual state within the neo-colonial dominated state. The July 26 Movement and the Rebel Army were founded and developed by Fidel and his comrades. They grew as the seeds of the Communist Party of Cuba and the Armed Forces respectively. These institutions constitute two ramparts in the maintenance and development of the people’s power, in combination with Cuba’s socialist culture as the shield.

In the course of this epic victorious march and in the ensuing decades, Fidel contributed toward a new feature of the culture of enacting politics within the Cuban Revolution. He was a communicator par excellence, a key component to conquer and improve political power. Thus, his thought and action, among other aspects of his legacy, constitute a new culture of communication between the leader and his people. Let’s look at five examples of how Fidel’s culture of enacting politics was fuelled by the new culture of communication, both of which mutually propelled each other.

First, there was the 1953 writing and distribution of “History Will Absolve Me.” One may ask how it is possible to speak of the communication talents of a leader representing the people’s quest for political power, when he was imprisoned in solitary confinement, far from the masses. However, despite these extreme restrictions, he managed to communicate secretly with other jailed combatants, with some inmates serving time for common crimes and even with guards and prison employees. Before and after his defence, this was his extremely limited world.

Despite being limited to this underground communication system only and combined with the few books he was able to muster, he prepared his defence by memory. It was reported that he wrote and edited in his cell day and night, committing every word to memory until the moment he was brought to court. Only a person entirely devoted to solving Cuba’s problems through a revolution to open the path for people’s power could have maximized such scant communication tools at his disposal.

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Cuba defends itself before the OAS, Felipe Calderon and Mariana Aylwin

“Cuba will never return to the OAS,” Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote in a statement. 

Cuba denied entry to the Organization of American States (OAS), head of the OAS, Luis Almagro, who was to receive a prize from a mercenary group in Havana.

The socialist government also denied entry to former Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Mariana Aylwin, daughter of former Chilean President Patricio Aylwin.

Mainstream media quickly painted Cuba’s decision to block their entry as another example of the country’s so-called “totalitarianism.” But shortly after they released these reports, Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs commissioned a statement clearing up these accusations.

“The plan, plotted on several trips between Washington and other capitals of the region, was to mount in Havana an open and serious provocation against the Cuban government, generate internal instability, and damage the international image of the country,” the statement reads.

“Upon learning of these plans and enforcing the laws that underpin the nation’s sovereignty, the Cuban government decided to deny foreign nationals associated with the events described above to the national territory.”

According to the statement, Cuba refused entry to Almagro for three main reasons:

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Voting in Ecuador Begins for Disabled and Incarcerated

Ahead of the presidential elections on Feb. 19, those detained and disabled will cast their ballots as is their right under Ecuadorean law.

A program created by the government of President Rafael Correa will see more than 10,000 inmates voting Thursday for the upcoming elections and will continue to assist people with disabilities to cast their ballot for the next president of Ecuador.

Elections are scheduled to be held on Sunday, Feb. 19 to elect the next president, vice president and members of the National Assembly.

According to the National Electoral Council, 10,230 people who are inside penitentiaries without a conviction will be able to vote. This is only possible after an agreement signed in 2013 between the Ministry of Justice and the General Registry.

On Friday, those with disabilities that have requested to vote at home or need assistance to reach voting centers will begin their voting process.

The Electoral Council, the Disability Council and the Federation of Taxi Drivers began this year’s program for home and assisted voting for any Ecuadorean who needs a relative or spouse to help them cast a vote.

After the voting process, the ballot boxes will be sealed and the material will be transferred to the custody of the police so that the votes can be included in the general elections.

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Venezuela Sanctions CNN in Fight Against Imperialist News

0000368320Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission, CONATEL, announced plans on Wednesday to begin sanctioning procedures against CNN en Español for its “direct aggression against the Venezuelan people and state.”

The announcement was made in response to a CNN en Español report released last week suggesting that the Bolivarian government “may have given passports to people with ties to terrorism.” More specifically, the report alleges that Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami is linked to 173 people from the Middle East, including some connected to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

“As part of its traditional interventionist and imperialist policy, this US agency abrogates extraterritorial powers that blatantly violate basic principles of international law,” CONATEL wrote in a statement.

“It [CNN en Español] has the ignoble and Machiavellian purpose of undermining the image of the National Executive Branch and, therefore, institutionality, governance, and stability of the country, as well as the Bolivarian Revolution, a socio-political project contrary to its interests of domination.”

CONATEL’s statement, which points out that CNN en Español’s allegations are based on unsubstantiated evidence, urges journalists around the world to launch an independent investigation of the report.

The statement also questions the validity of government “whistleblower” Misael Lopez’s claims that the government was “scheming” to sell passports and visas for thousands of dollars. Most of CNN en Español’s report is based on alleged testimony by Lopez, a former secretary of the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq who has strong connections with Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition.

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Afro-Ecuadorians recognize achievements of Citizen’s Revolution in Ecuador

405387Afro-Ecuadoreans have achieved unprecedented gains under President Correa but political participation and education are crucial to end structural racism.

As Ecuador prepares for its presidential and parliamentary elections, the Afro-Ecuadorean community braces for the challenges ahead while recognizing the gains that have been made by outgoing President Rafael Correa and his Alianza Pais party, Afro-Ecuadorean lawmaker Alexandra Ocles told a recent interview.

Ocles, who was the first Afro-Ecuadorean to enter the national assembly in history, highlighted some of the many gains her community scored under Correa’s government over the past decade.

“There is a tacit acknowledgment of the Afro-Ecuadorean people as a constituent part of the state and the Ecuadorean people,” Ocles said as black and white photos of U.S. civil rights activists Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X hung behind her at her office in the capital of Quito.

“I believe it is one of the fundamental actions because it was one of the historical demands of the Afro-Ecuadorean people,” she said.

She went on to highlight the inclusion of “the principle of equality and non-discrimination” in the country’s constitution in 2009, which, according to the legislator, was the result of the hard work of different social movements that pushed for the Afro-Ecuadorean agenda within the socialist government.

Under Correa’s Citizens’ Revolution, the government brought millions of people out of poverty including many within the Afro-Ecuadorean community where poverty was reduced by 20 percent according to official figures.

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Ecuador and Venezuela Team Up to Help Migrants, Share Resources

0013648580The Bolivarian governments are working together to ease restrictions on migrants travelling between their countries and to boost bilateral oil trade.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Guillaume Long met with members of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry on Wednesday, where they discussed strengthening relations between the two Bolivarian nations.

Top of the agenda were issues related to bilateral migration and the sharing of resources. Both governments reaffirmed the “right of mobility” for their respective residents and the need to share crude oil resources.

“We have given a comprehensive review of all the issues on the bilateral agenda,” Long said Wednesday, Prensa Latina reports.

“We have very rich and active relations.”

The Ecuadorean and Venezuelan governments are now in the process of creating joint resolutions that ease restrictions on migrants traveling between the two countries.

Ecuador has become home to thousands of Venezuelans leaving their country as a result of opposition groups sabotaging the socialist economy. Between 2013 and 2016, about 17,000 Venezuelans moved to the Andean country, according to Ecuador’s Interior Ministry.

Venezuela currently has one of the highest population of Ecuadorean emigres, most of whom fled during the country’s financial crisis in 2000.

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Spain’s Pablo Iglesias Interviews Ecuador’s Rafael Correa

pabloiglesiascorreaCorrea said that the Citizens’ Revolution had to create new systems because institutions were so weak when he was elected in 2007.

Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa said that the opposition candidates were fighting among themselves for second place in the coming elections because “no one doubted who would be first,” referring to his former vice president Lenin Moreno and Alianza Pais candidate who has been leading in polls in recent months.

In an interview with Spain’s Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias, he added that the Citizens’ Revolution had to create new systems because institutions were so weak when he was elected in 2007. “In 10 years, we had had seven presidents, on average each administration lasted 18 months,” said the current president.

Among the measures was a reform of the tax system: the country’s elites are not used to paying taxes, he said, and the banking sector usually invested in the media in order to manipulate information.

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Trayvon Martin’s Parents Consider Run for Office

trayvonmartinhoodedTrayvon Martin’s parents were thrust into racial justice activism when since-acquitted George Zimmerman fatally shot their 17-year-old son — and now they’re considering a run for political office.

While promoting their new memoir, released January 31 and titled, “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin,” Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin revealed their potential political aspirations.

“We certainly want to look at the positions that (are) available locally, and then we want to look at the positions for the state of Florida and then U.S. positions,” Fulton said Thursday on ABC’s Good Morning America. “We want to take a look at those positions to see what areas we would best benefit from and (communities) would benefit by having us there.”

Trayvon Martin’s death sparked outrage and accusations of racial profiling by Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who shot the teenager. Martin had bought Skittles at a convenience store just before the altercation, a detail that was used to draw attention to the fact that Martin was unarmed and unthreatening.

The parents also revealed the same aspirations in a video interview for USA Today’s Capital Download program Sunday. “The only way we can be a part of the change is if we start with local government and we work our way up,” Fulton said. “Instead of just telling somebody else, ‘Listen, we need to change laws, amend laws,’ maybe (political office) is something we need to take a look at. We’re taking a step back now to see if that’s something we want to explore.”

Fulton explained that they would first look into municipal-level positions.

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