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Thaw at last: Cuba and the US get talking

Source: The New Internationalist

The restoration of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba announced on Wednesday is welcome – and long overdue.


Cubans have been celebrating in Havana. And – not that you’d guess from some of the news reporting from Miami – it’s been welcomed by Cubans living in the US too.  


The fiercely anti-Castro lobby that reporters go to when wanting ‘the Cuban exile view’ is now in a minority. This is partly due to demographic change as the hardliners grow old or die and a new generation of Cubans living in the US want relations between the two countries to be ‘normalized’. read more

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Why Is Ecuador Selling Its Economic and Environmental Future to China?

Source: The Nation

The slick, oily underside of Correa’s “citizens’ revolution.”

At the point where the lazy, black-water Cuyabeno runs into the faster currents of the Aguarico, carrying a chill from their Andean source, sandbars stretch out from the verdant banks. These are the Playas de Cuyabeno, and the name has attached itself to the indigenous Cofan community in this region, deep inside Ecuador’s portion of the Amazon Basin. Until very recently, an assortment of thatched, wooden dwellings sat above the river. Today it has been replaced by an orderly hamlet of evenly spaced, two-story, prefab houses, all steel and white plaster, connected by improbably clean roads, and sprinkled with basketball courts and childrens’ playgrounds. This is Ecuador’s first Comunidad de Milenio (Millenium Community), a $21 million benefit from the proceeds of the Pañacocha oil field that borders the community. Under the terms of the country’s 2010 Hydrocarbon Law, a portion of the royalties from oil production must be ploughed back into the communities affected by drilling and extraction. read more

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Rebecca Solnit: The Age of Capitalism is over

Source: Tom Dispatch

It was the most thrilling bureaucratic document I’ve ever seen for just one reason: it was dated the 21st day of the month of Thermidor in the Year Six. Written in sepia ink on heavy paper, it recorded an ordinary land auction in France in what we would call the late summer of 1798. But the extraordinary date signaled that it was created when the French Revolution was still the overarching reality of everyday life and such fundamentals as the distribution of power and the nature of government had been reborn in astonishing ways. The new calendar that renamed 1792 as Year One had, after all, been created to start society all over again. read more