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A View on Cuba’s Opening From the De Facto U.S. Colony of Puerto Rico

Source: NACLA Report on the Americas and

Cuba y Puerto Rico son / Cuba and Puerto Rico are

De un pájaro dos alas / Two wings of the same bird

Reciben flores y balas / They receive flowers and bullets

Sobre el mismo corazón / With the same heart

—Lola Rodríguez de Tío

The “momentous” yet seemingly long-planned announcement that the United States and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations was an odd end to a chaotic year of crises and strife. From the summer of renewed violence in Gaza and the surge of unaccompanied children on the Mexican border to the anguish of Mike Brown/Ferguson and Eric Garner/Staten Island and the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, there seemed to be no end to conflagrations of long-stirring conflicts that expose the myth of American exceptionalism. The cost of freedom in the first-est of First Worlds that we live in is the increasing precariousness of life outside our borders—a carnage that is often not connected to our comfort, yet is a result of the burgeoning inequality created by the gospel of globalization. Yet now, perhaps one of the sorest points of contention in the hemisphere, the 50-year U.S.-imposed embargo of Cuba, is finally being acknowledged as a mistake. read more

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Fisk: A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Source: The Independent

Did you know that it will soon be the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War?

Every month, my London mail package thumps on to my Beirut doorstep with An Cosantóir inside. It’s the magazine of the Irish Defence Forces – surely the glossiest-paged journal of any army, let alone one of the smallest military forces in the world. But among its accounts of Ireland’s UN missions abroad – think Golan, for example, with Syria’s civil war crashing around Irish soldiers – almost inevitably each month, there’s a piece of history we’ve forgotten. For while the start of the Great War of 1914-18 has been commemorated to the point of spiritualism these past 12 months, who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War? read more

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All over the world, the challenge to the old order is growing

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

The powers that be will fight back against attempts to change the status quo, economically or globally

A decade and a half into the 21st century, we’re still living through the aftermath of two epoch-making shocks. The first was the demonstration of the limits of US power in the killing fields of Afghanistan and Iraq – the war on terror that broke the spell of invincibility of the world’s first truly global empire. The second was the financial crash of 2008 and the crisis of the western-dominated economic system it unleashed, still playing havoc with economies and lives across the world more than six years later. read more