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Ghost Dog

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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 16,717

About Me

A Brit many years in Spain, Catalunya, Baleares, Canarias. Cooperative member. Geography. Ecology. Cartography. Software. Sound Recording. Music Production. Languages & Literature. History.

Journal Archives

Cubans voted in Referendum to approve new Constitution

So... Take your pick:

Cuba snubs Trump’s anti-socialist crusade with massive constitution vote
By Pablo Vivanco, former director of Telesur English. Published time: 1 Mar, 2019 15:03

Cuba’s new Magna Carta reinforces the island’s revolutionary model, even as Washington ramps up its efforts against leftist governments in Latin America...

--- The ‘yes’ campaign obtained 90.6 percent, or roughly 6.8 million votes, compared to just over 700,000 who rejected the proposal... Over 130,000 meetings were held at job sites, neighborhoods, schools and universities, hospitals, and any other place people gather in order to discuss the draft and give feedback. Upwards of 800,000 proposals were then sent up to the National Assembly of People’s Power for consideration and review... All told, 63 percent of the original draft’s articles were changed based on feedback from the Cuban people.

“All Cubans had the opportunity to give our opinions on this constitution, which comes at a very important time for our country, and which will be very important for our present and our future,“ said Nereyda Lopez Labrada, a member of the National Assembly and Secretary General of the National Union of Cultural Workers. ..“This has been a total success and in total democracy.”

To characterize these changes as important is surely an understatement... As optimistic as Cubans are about the steps taken with a new constitution, many are aware that they may have to rely on their past in order to secure their future.


The Post's View Opinion
Cubans are losing their patience — and their fear
By Editorial Board March 1 at 6:32 PM

MORE THAN 86 percent of the votes cast Sunday favored approval of Cuba’s new constitution, which barely tweaks the system of single-party rule established by Fidel Castro six decades ago. But far more telling was the surprising share of eligible voters who cast “no” ballots or stayed home. In the last constitutional vote in 1976, when Castro had established a totalitarian state, 99.02 percent voted yes. What’s notable in Cuba is not the lame maneuverings of the Communist Party but the unmistakable signs that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their fear of the authorities and lost their patience with a decaying economic and political system.

The new constitution is the handiwork of the authoritarian clique that stumbles on after Castro’s death. The key decisions were made by a commission appointed by former president Raúl Castro, who still leads the Communist Party, and has amendments by the rubber-stamp parliament. Genuine political competition — the essence of democracy — was absent. The state-run news media ignored those who would advocate a “no” vote, and in the final day, nervous about the outcome, the authorites blacked out the digital newspaper 14ymedio, run by the dissident blogger Yoani Sánchez, who had openly called for a “no” vote on social media. José Daniel Ferrer García, a tough-minded activist and regime opponent, was detained after sitting in a park in Santiago de Cuba with a hand-lettered sign that proclaimed, “No.”

The new constitution is hardly earth-shattering. It recognizes private property for a “complementary role in the economy,” but continues to enshrine a “socialist economic system based on ownership by all people of the fundamental means of production as the primary form of property as well as the planned direction of the economy.” For most Cubans, this reality is a dystopia reminiscent of the Soviet Union, with shortages of eggs, butter and other basics...


Explainer: What is old and new in Cuba's proposed constitution
Marc Frank. FEBRUARY 21, 2019 / 4:12 PM

The new version keeps the Communist Party as the only legal party and maintains its role as the guide of the nation, stating that this is irrevocable. At the same time, it eliminates a ban on the use of private property to exploit the labor of others.

The new version reinforces the state’s dominance over the means of production and land, as well as the role of centralized planning. This too is deemed irrevocable. However, for the first time it recognizes the market as a fact of economic life, though it can be countermanded at will by the government.

Private businesses and non-farm cooperatives are included for the first time in the new version as legitimate economic actors. The role of joint ventures and other forms of foreign investment is upgraded from secondary to “important” or “fundamental.”

The president of the nation, who is elected every five years by the national assembly, may serve only two consecutive terms and must be under 60 years of age when first taking office...

(much more...)


Cuba constitution referendum is 'first chance for open dissent' | Al Jazeera English
Published on Feb 24, 2019

Cubans will vote on a new constitution for the first time in decades. It could mean more freedom in trade, property and foreign investment. And for the eight million registered voters, it will be a rare chance to voice opposition to the government. David Ariosto in New York, an executive producer of Eurasia Group's G-Zero Media and author of the book "This is Cuba", talks to Al Jazeera about the significance of the referendum.


Cuban Electoral Commission Informs Final Results of Referendum
Havana, Mar 1 (Prensa Latina)

Alina Balseiro, president of the National Electoral Commission (CEN), stated that about 6,816,169 people voted in favor of the new Cuban Constitution for a 78.3 percent of the voter registration lists, while reporting the final results of the national referendum.

During the Sunday elections, 'votes against reached 706,400 for an 8.1 percent of the list and nine percent of those who voted, Balseiro informed on Friday night during the daily radio and TV Round Table program... The results that are disclosed are part of an arduous, serious work, in accordance with the law of the electoral authorities and I congratulate them for their previous performance and the February 24 consultation to ratify the law of laws, Balseiro said .


Edit: So around 72% of eligible voters voted to approve the constitution while 28% did not.

Q: Do you understand irony?

A: Yes of course. Ever since my mother stopped understanding it for me.

Leonard Cohen: The Traitor

"The Traitor is about the feeling we have of betraying some mission we were mandated to fulfill and being unable to fulfill it; then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it; and the real courage is to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you find yourself".

An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN Investigator and Human Rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

Food for thought from Chernobyl

Socioeconomic collapse in an affected society can be more damaging to human health in the aggregate than a large nuclear accident such as Chernobyl, taking into account the then Soviet society's quite well-organised reaction to the latter catastrophe (immediate evacuations, medical treatment, social support, containment...). It is predictable that varying degrees of socioeconomic collapse in various societies worldwide will be caused by forthcoming now unavoidable anthropogenic rapid climate change and accompanying natural systems instability (shifting ecosystems homeostasis), and could also be caused by large-scale warfare using modern weapons as well as natural causes such as earthquakes, volcanoes and asteroid strikes. Rapid socioeconomic collapse can also be more directly caused by financial meltdown and consequent economic paralysis as almost occured in 2008.

It would interesting, I'd like to suggest, to examine and theorise about what can render a society less vulnerable to socioeconomic collapse, whatever the cause, with a view to setting up experiments...

... Analysing dust for radioactive contamination is just a small part of the decades-long study of this vast, abandoned area. The accident turned this landscape into a giant, contaminated laboratory, where hundreds of scientists have worked to find out how an environment recovers from nuclear catastrophe... Today, though, this part of Ukraine is not easily delineated into two categories - contaminated or clean. Research has shown that Chernobyl's aftermath is more complicated, and the landscape here much stranger - and more interesting - than the stringent "do not touch" rules in Narodichi would imply... "Natural radioactivity is all around us - it varies from country to country, from place to place. Most of the area of the exclusion zone gives rise to lower radiation dose rates than many areas of natural radioactivity worldwide."...

... Many suspect that the radiation has or will cause other cancers, but the evidence is patchy at best. Prof Richard Wakeford, from the University of Manchester's Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health, points out that health studies look for a "signal" of a specific health effect linked to Chernobyl. They aim to pick out that signal above the "background noise" from other causes. That has been incredibly difficult, primarily because of the huge background noise that was the almost simultaneous upheaval of the Soviet Union's collapse.

"It's assumed that there will be some cancers linked to the accident in addition to the thyroid cancers, but detecting them amid that socioeconomic chaos - that had its own impacts on people's health - has proven almost impossible," says Prof Wakeford. Cancer also affects between a third and a half of people in Europe, so any Chernobyl signal is likely to be imperceptibly small.

Amid reports of other health problems - including birth defects - it still is not clear if any can be attributed to radiation...

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