Nicaragua: 40 years after Somoza’s fall, another dictatorship

By Miguel Sorans*

The triumph of the revolution in 1979 was a great impact and generated great expectations. After 45 days of a general strike and the armed struggle of the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front), the National Guard was defeated and the fierce dictator fled. Forty years later, the leader of that revolution, Daniel Ortega, is a bloodthirsty dictator repudiated by his people.

The leadership of Sandinismo took to defeat that triumphant revolution. It is very important to draw the conclusions of how, 40 years later, the former commander Daniel Ortega, using the flags of the FSLN, governs for the rich and against the working and oppressed people. Some former Sandinistas such as writer Sergio Ramirez (he was Ortega’s vice president from 1985 to 1990) argue, against Ortega, that it was all because “we wanted a hegemonic party” and that the “democratic” character of the revolution was put aside. For the revolutionary socialists the analysis differs. Although Ortega’s anti-democratic advance is real, the underlying problem is that the FSLN did not break with the bourgeoisie and imperialism. And along that road they ended up starving and repressing the Nicaraguan people.

The Revolutionary Triumph

The revolution was immense. The Somoza family had dominated Nicaragua since 1936, with a pro-American dictatorship. In 1979 practically all the Nicaraguan people rose. By mid-year, in intense fighting between the FSLN and the National Guard “the boys” (the popular name for the Sandinistas) took the northern area (Matagalpa and León). In the capital Managua, a desperate bloodthirsty Somoza bombarded the working-class neighbourhoods. The street fighting took place in the city. On the southern front (border with Costa Rica), the final battle was concentrated in the city’s taking of Rivas, the last stronghold of the dictatorship. On 19 July, Managua was in rebels’ hands. In a country with two and a half million inhabitants, there were approximately 50,000 casualties.

In their struggle, and with the Sandinistas at the head, the Nicaraguan masses liquidated the bourgeois state, annihilated their army, partially armed themselves and began to occupy lands and factories, forming trade unions and exercising embryonic and partially direct political power. An enormous opportunity opened to advance expropriating the great bourgeoisie and imperialism, to ignore the dictatorship foreign debt, to begin a planning economy to satisfy in the first place the urgent needs of the Nicaraguan people. That is to say, to start the path towards socialism.

The policy of the FSLN leadership was the opposite. They formed the Government of National Reconstruction (GRN), with the main representatives of the tiny anti-Somocist bourgeoisie, Violeta Chamorro of the Conservative Party, and the businessman Alfonso Robelo.

The Sandinistas undertook this path with the help of a very important advisor: Fidel Castro. In a speech in the Cuban city of Holguin, with the presence of Robelo and several Sandinista commanders, Castro said that “Nicaragua should not be another Cuba” (Juventud Rebelde, 29 July 1979**). He advised the Sandinistas to do the opposite of the Cuban experience of 1959-61, when Fidel and Che Guevara led the break with imperialism and the Cuban bourgeoisie, expropriations and economic planning.

Our current, headed by Nahuel Moreno, put forward an alternative policy to that of Ortega and Castro. We intervened in the 1979 revolution with the Simon Bolivar Brigade. The policy of the brigade leaders was to promote mobilisation and an independent workers’ and peasants’ power, via the new unions and popular militias. It proposed a Sandinista government without capitalists to advance in the expropriation of the landowners and the bourgeoisie and to support the revolutionary process of El Salvador. Ortega’s policy and the leadership of the FSLN was different. And that is why Ortega finally expelled the brigade. He made the brigadists arrested and imprisoned in Panama.

Ortega and the FSLN ruled with the bourgeoisie and rebuilt the economy and the political and military institutions of capitalism. It was the Nicaraguan people who suffered the consequences of this policy with more poverty and repression.

Now it is necessary to end Ortega’s dictatorship

In 1990 the FSLN lost the elections to the right-wing pro-American Violeta Chamorro. In 2006 Daniel Ortega returned to power, having previously signed an agreement with the Constitutionalist Liberal Party of corrupt Arnoldo Aleman. He allied himself with the right-wing sectors in Congress to pass, for example, a law banning the right to abortion, one of the revolution’s achievements. He made a deal with the Catholic Church and with the big businessmen of the Private Business Superior Council (COSEP). Finally, in April 2018, a popular uprising broke out. The detonator was Ortega’s attempt to impose a welfare reform suggested by the IMF. Thousands took to the streets all over the country. People set up barricades again. Ortega had to retreat with the reform. But the people hated the dictatorship and the mobilisation did not to stop and demanded: Out Daniel! The Church, imperialism, the OAS and the big businessmen, fearful that Ortega would fall for a new revolution, like those in North Africa, called for “dialogue” and negotiation. While Ortega continued repressing and imprisoning activists. To this day we know of around 350 dead. Applying these two politics they have succeeded, for now and despite the mobilisations, the regime has survived.

The mobilisation showed forms of self-organisation of the students, the women’s movement and the peasantry (the “Movement against the Canal,” among them). But the deficit of the Nicaraguan popular rebellion has been the absence of a revolutionary leadership. They used this vacuum to channel the opposition to the regime through the Civic Alliance, where the business sectors of Cosep and Mario Arana, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, among others, are hegemonic. Since March, a negotiation table with the government has been set up. But many sectors are critical of this dialogue. Among them were the leaders of the student movement, women’s organisations in struggle and former Sandinista commanders like Luis Carrion and Dora Tellez, who broke up with Ortega. Because of these negotiations, an amnesty law came out that freed an important part of the imprisoned leaders, such as the peasant leader Medardo Mairena, the student leader Yubrank Suazo or journalists Miguel Mora and Lucia Pineda. But the law has been repudiated because it has a trap that allows for the liberation and “amnesty” of the regime’s genocidal police and paramilitary while other activists remain imprisoned.

The only way out against this dialogue of cheaters and liars is to continue with the popular mobilisation until overthrowing Ortega’s dictatorship. In this way, we must take steps to form an alternative revolutionary regrouping. In the perspective of fighting for a government of those from below, of the self-organised workers, students, women and peasantry. The task that remained pending after the 1979 revolution.

*Miguel Sorans is a leading member of the Socialist Left (Argentina) and of the IWU-FI; he is also a former member of the Simon Bolivar Brigade.

You can hear the full speech at


The Simon Bolivar Brigade*

The PST (Socialist Workers Party) of Colombia promoted it from Bogota, where Nahuel Moreno was exiled, and led a systematic campaign to support the struggle against Somoza’s dictatorship.

Recruitment and training began in Bogota in June 1979. More than a thousand volunteers signed up in a few days. It was financed with fundraisings from unions, other organisations and many people who contributed to the piggy banks.

Many were individually incorporated into the ranks of the Sandinista army in the South Front and participated in the bloody confrontations that took place against the last resistance of the Somoza National Guard. Three members of the brigade fell in combat (Mario Cruz Morales, Pedro Ochoa García and Max Senqui) and many were injured. On the Atlantic Coast, in the city of Bluefields, the defeat of the Somocist and the seizure of the city were directly in the hands of a column of brigadists.

Once the dictatorship was overthrown, the brigade dedicated itself to supporting the formation of new unions, 110 organisations in Managua and Bluefields, along with support for the armed neighbourhood militias. On 16 August 1979, they were arrested and expelled from the country.

*See La Brigada Simon Bolivar. El Socialista (only in Spanish)


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Puerto Rico: cae Rosselló y la crisis no se cierra

Por Martin Fú

Las masivas y espontáneas protestas que comenzaron el pasado 13 de julio y movilizaron más de un millón de personas, terminaron tirando al gobernador Ricardo Roselló. Dimitió por el repudio generalizado a sus dichos homofóbicos, machistas y violentos. Sumado al rechazo a las políticas que someten a cientos de miles a una creciente miseria y han forzado el mayor exilio de puertorriqueños de las últimas décadas.

La jornada del 22 de julio, con huelga general, bloqueos de rutas y autopistas de San Juan terminaron coronando la salida y renuncia de Rosselló del gobierno, que ha quedado acéfalo con un real vacío de poder. La figura de Wanda Vázquez, secretaria de Justicia y en la primera línea como posible sucesora en medio de esta enorme crisis, es rechazada y amplía, aún más, la movilización. Sumando a Colectiva Feminista en Construcción, que denuncia el paso de Vázquez como jefa de la Procuraduría de las Mujeres en 2010 “donde no abordó los problemas de violencia de género y fue una pieza más en la burocracia del gobierno” (Clarín, 26 de Julio) y utilizó sus influencias para acomodar a su hijo y marido en la función pública. La crisis no se ha cerrado y en la isla soplan vientos de bronca. Dos son los partidos que se alternan en el poder en Puerto Rico desde 1950, el partido Nuevo Progresista -del gobernador depuesto- y el partido Popular Democrático. Ambos son expresiones patronales, correas de transmisión del imperialismo yanqui. Cuentan con el rechazo de las mayorías que hasta expresaron el “que se vayan todos” en las enormes movilizaciones de julio. La Junta de Supervisión Fiscal, organismo creado por los banqueros yanquis para garantizar los pagos de la deuda sigue en pie. Ha perdurado con el paso de los gobiernos y según sus propios voceros el ajuste y las políticas fiscales son mandatadas por la misma. Esta crisis pone de manifiesto, una vez más, la necesidad de la independencia total y definitiva de los Estados Unidos. Reflotando las pasadas luchas independentistas encabezadas por dirigentes como Filiberto Ojeda Ríos y Oscar López Rivera (ver El Socialista Nº 432).

Puerto Rico ha autodecretado su bancarrota económica desde mayo de 2017, con una deuda externa de 70.000 millones de dólares que no para de crecer. Ser un estado asociado a Estados Unidos no le supone ninguna ventaja o mejor ubicación a los puertorriqueños, frente al resto de Latinoamérica. El país tiene una tasa de desempleo del 15%, tres veces superior a la de cualquier estado de la Unión, siendo el costo de vida más caro que en el continente y los salarios sensiblemente inferiores. Las políticas de ajuste y los recortes de presupuesto fueron los detonantes en la decisión de decenas de miles de emigrar hacia Estados Unidos, sumado a la corrupción y la desidia, condiciones que se repiten y multiplican en la mayoría de los gobiernos de Latinoamérica. Los doce años de recesión económica y la crisis del endeudamiento han servido de aliciente en el proceso revolucionario iniciado el 13 de julio en San Juan de Puerto Rico. La isla sufrió en 2017 los embates de los huracanes Irma y María que la arrasaron de punta a punta, sintiéndose en los barrios más pobres debido a su precaria infraestructura. Hubo miles de muertos cientos de desaparecidos y durante meses sectores populares vivieron sin luz ni agua. Las mayorías populares debieron sufrir también el abandono de un gobierno que no dio respuesta y del gobierno de Trump, que miraba hacia otro lado. Luego Trump, ante la presión popular, hasta ventiló el desvergonzado robo de los fondos destinados a los primeros auxilios y planes de reconstrucción de la isla más urgentes.

Eduardo Lato, escritor puertorriqueño, señaló que “han sido doce días en que los que por primera vez en décadas vivimos sin amos, descubrimos en estas jornadas la fuerza indetenible de la libertad” (Clarín, 26 de julio). Parece ser la mejor ilustración de lo que fueron las jornadas revolucionarias de julio y el espíritu de jóvenes, trabajadores y el pueblo en general supieron expresar en las calles. Sin una dirección política y con figuras del arte como la del músico Ricky Martín, René de Calle 13, el rapero Bad Bunny encabezando las movilizaciones y con la solidaridad de otros artistas como Benicio del Toro y Luis Fonsi, la exigencia del cambio de la dirigencia política de la isla es uno de los reclamos que unifica la rebelión. Esto pone en el tapete la necesidad de que la juventud rebelde, los artistas, los trabajadores, las mujeres y sectores de la izquierda, den paso en la formación de un nuevo partido de los de abajo.

La crisis política no está resuelta. La movilización popular rechaza el recambio de Wanda Vázquez. El pueblo boricua debe seguir su lucha hasta lograr un gobierno surgido de la movilización revolucionaria y de las nuevas organizaciones populares que vayan surgiendo. La movilización debe reclamar el no pago de la deuda externa para utilizar ese dinero en un plan de emergencia de obras públicas para generar trabajo y reconstruir las ciudades más afectadas por el huracán. En ese camino retomar la pelea por la independencia de Puerto Rico de los Estados Unidos. Desde la Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI) acompañamos este proceso y llamamos a rodear de solidaridad al pueblo de Puerto Rico, que nuevamente se ha puesto de pie y ha salido a las calles a luchar por un futuro más digno para su pueblo.

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China/Hong Kong: Thousands on the streets for more freedoms

In recent weeks hundreds of thousands of young people mobilised in Hong Kong, initially against the extradition law promoted by the pro-Beijing government of Carrie Lam’s, and then to take up again the democratic slogans that promoted the massive mobilisations of 2014 with the “umbrella revolution”.

The extradition bill defended by Carrie Lam’s government, aims to give more power to the central Chinese dictatorship led by the CCP, over the autonomy of the former British colony, by allowing extradition of suspects of common crimes to Beijing. When the debate on this bill began in Parliament, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers mobilised and surrounded the building in repudiation of the bill, denouncing that the Chinese dictatorship could use it to extradite activists fighting for democratic rights.

With this project, the semi-autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong enters a dispute. Although the agreement between Great Britain and China (1997), for transferring sovereignty, will last until 2047 where China cannot intervene in the former’s autonomy colony, with the extradition law China would violate in principle the judicial autonomy in the framework of the division of powers that Hong Kong has. But, in addition, it is a new advance of the capitalist dictatorship of the Chinese CP (CCP) in pursuit of further undermining the few democratic rights and freedoms that exist in Hong Kong. This law seeks to persecute, pressure and criminalise the opposition sectors, it is defended by the Chinese dictatorship for fear that this democratising wave will replicate in mainland China where millions of workers and peasants live exploited and without the right to protest, nor democratic freedoms, such as building a political party different from the CCP, unionising,…

As happened with the “umbrella revolution” in 2014, in which hundreds of thousands of people, especially students, demonstrated against the Hong Kong executive, demanding free and democratic elections. They kept the economic capital paralyzed for three months, with sit-ins and mobilisations that summoned hundreds of thousands of citizens. That democratic rebellion in Hong Kong is part of the struggle that is being waged throughout China to end the dictatorship of the single party, for the free right to strike, to free speech, to organise trade unions, student centres, political parties and full democratic freedoms. It is that rebellion that is being replicated throughout Hong Kong today.

They achieved a first triumph, because of mobilisation, pushing back the dictatorship Carrie Lam is playing as a mainland China puppet, who had to suspend the treatment of the law. The enthusiasm for this first victory emboldens the movement to continue for the definitive elimination of the law and Carrie Lam’s resignation.

Last Monday, 1 July, thousands of demonstrators took over parliament during a massive mobilisation on the 22nd anniversary of Britain’s 1997 return of Hong Kong to China. The demonstrators seized the parliament for hours, repressed with tear gas to leave. The Hong Kong youth and workers continue to be mobilised for the definitive fall of the extradition law, against police repression, for Carrie Lam’s resignation and for free elections.

From the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International we call on workers, women and youth of the world to show solidarity with the Hong Kong workers and youth who fight for democratic demands. We call to repudiate the repression of Carrie Lam’s police who defends the interests of the capitalist dictatorship of the Chinese CP and any attempt of intervention of the dictatorship of the CCP.

Eduardo Ruarte
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Trump’s Military Fake in Iran

By Simon Rodriguez*

Surrounded by the failures in domestic politics and the internal crises of his government, reflected in a very high rotation of high officials, with constant public contradictions between Trump and his cabinet, the American president has been using a spectacular foreign policy to hide his weaknesses. The most recent case has been his war threats against Iran, with the sending of bombers which he cancelled at the last moment, on 20 June.

In 2018, adapting to the line of Israel and the most aggressive sectors of the American right, the Trump government broke the nuclear agreement that Obama had signed with Iran. In that pact, signed in 2015, the US lifted economic sanctions for the theocratic regime’s commitment not to exceed agreed uranium enrichment quotas for its nuclear programme. The re-establishment of sanctions by Trump has impacted the Iranian economy, which had already been suffering the wear and tear implied by the military occupation of Syria in the service of Assad’s fascist dictatorship. In response to the sanctions, Iran restarted the uranium enrichment process and announced that in July it would exceed the quota agreed in 2015.

The tension increased with the carrying out of six attacks on oil tankers in the last six weeks in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the strategic points of greatest interest for imperialism. With only 33 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, it handles around a fifth of world oil exports, some 19 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, and liquefied gas from Qatar, its main world exporter. Iran denies being responsible for the attacks.

In this context, on 19 June, Iran shot down an unmanned US spy drone. Everything would show that the apparatus was flying over Iranian territorial waters. The imperialist spokesmen claim that the action took place over international waters. Trump ordered a retaliatory bombardment and soon after, with the bombers already flying, cancelled the attack. He limited the retaliation to a cyber-attack against the Iranian government.

Trump showed in a very short time all his faces: first he said to believe that the drone’s demolition had not been deliberate, then he ordered and cancelled the attack, then he declared that he interrupted the attack because it seemed disproportionate to him as they informed him it would cost 150 deaths. More recently, he has offered Iran prosperity and friendship for twitter if it desists from its nuclear programme. An obvious offer to renegotiate an agreement. The imperialist governments of the European Union have openly criticised the unilateral nature of US policy towards Iran, calling for negotiation.

Trump’s bluff has revealed great differences with his security advisor, Bolton, and Secretary of State, Pompeo, as shown in leaks to the press. According to government sources, Trump says he is not in favour of a war with Iran and complains to his closest circle that his officials want to manipulate him into a war adventure. The magnate, of racist and imperialist convictions, is guided by the motto “America first,” arguing that the role of the world police is very costly. Near the pre-election period, an invasion is not among his plans. The memory of Iraq, America’s second Vietnam, continues to deter imperialism from waging new wars of aggression. But he does not abandon his permanent threats of aggression against the peoples.

The Iranian regime makes the most of the just repudiation that Trump’s threats generate in its country and worldwide. For four decades this capitalist, anti-worker and anti-people theocracy has been using the supposed imminence of a US military aggression to justify the non-existence of democratic freedoms and the repression against the resistance to its austerity policies. We revolutionaries repudiate Trump’s military threats and economic sanctions against Iran, at the same time we stand in solidarity with the workers and people of Iran who are suffering under the boots of the dictatorship.

A pattern is being drawn that shows the crisis of political, economic and military domination of US imperialism. Friendly talks followed threats of a nuclear attack on North Korea between Trump and Kim Jong Un. The failure of the 30 April coup attempt diluted the option of military aggression in which Trump and Guaido counted on the rupture of the Chavista military high command. As with Iran, in these cases the Trump government has used the military threat to achieve results. Any attempt by imperialism to gain an advantage through military blackmail must be repudiated, yet so far Trump is barking but not biting.

*Simon Rodriguez is a member of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSL) in Venezuela, IWU-FI section.


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El amague militar de Trump en Irán

Por Simón Rodríguez*

Cercado por los fracasos en la política doméstica y las crisis internas de su gobierno, reflejadas en una altísima rotación de los altos funcionarios, con constantes contradicciones públicas entre Trump y su gabinete, el presidente yanqui ha venido empleando una política exterior de corte espectacular, para ocultar sus debilidades. El caso más reciente ha sido el de sus amenazas bélicas contra Irán, llevadas al extremo con el envío de bombarderos cuya acción fue cancelada en el último momento, el 20 de junio.

En 2018, adaptándose a la línea de Israel y de los sectores más agresivos de la derecha estadounidense, el gobierno de Trump rompió el acuerdo nuclear que Obama había firmado con Irán. En dicho pacto, firmado en 2015, EEUU levantaba las sanciones económicas a cambio del compromiso del régimen teocrático de no superar cuotas acordadas de enriquecimiento de uranio para su programa nuclear. El restablecimiento de las sanciones por parte de Trump ha impactado a la economía iraní, que ya venía sufriendo el desgaste implicado por la ocupación militar de Siria al servicio de la dictadura fascista de Assad. En respuesta a las sanciones, Irán reinició el proceso de enriquecimiento de uranio y anunció que en julio superaría la cuota acordada en 2015.

La tensión aumentó con la realización de seis ataques a buques petroleros en las últimas seis semanas en el Estrecho de Ormuz, uno de los puntos estratégicos de mayor interés para el imperialismo. Con apenas 33 kilómetros de ancho en su punto más estrecho, por allí transita alrededor de la quinta parte de las exportaciones mundiales de petróleo, unos 19 millones de barriles diarios procedentes de Arabia Saudita, Kuwait, los Emiratos Árabes Unidos e Irán, así como gas licuado de Qatar, su principal exportador mundial. Irán niega ser responsable de los ataques.

En ese marco, el 19 de junio fue derribado por Irán un dron yanqui no tripulado de espionaje. Todo indicaría que el aparato volaba sobre aguas territoriales iraníes. Los voceros imperialistas aseguran que la acción ocurrió sobre aguas internacionales. Trump ordenó un bombardeo en represalia y poco después, con los bombarderos ya volando, canceló el ataque. La represalia se limitó a un ataque cibernético contra el gobierno iraní.

Trump mostró en muy poco tiempo todas sus caras: primero dijo creer que el derribo del dron no había sido deliberado, luego ordenó y canceló el ataque, posteriormente declaró que interrumpió el ataque porque le pareció desproporcionado al ser informado de que costaría 150 muertes. Más recientemente ha ofrecido por twitter prosperidad y amistad a Irán si desiste de su programa nuclear. Un evidente ofrecimiento de renegociar un acuerdo. Los gobiernos imperialistas de la Unión Europea han criticado abiertamente la unilateralidad de la política yanqui hacia Irán, llamando a la negociación.

El bluff de Trump ha evidenciado grandes diferencias con su asesor de seguridad, Bolton, y el secretario de Estado, Pompeo, que nuevamente son reflejadas en filtraciones a la prensa. Según fuentes de su gobierno, Trump dice no ser partidario de una guerra con Irán y se queja ante su círculo más cercano de que sus funcionarios quieren manipularlo para que caiga en una aventura bélica. El magnate, de convicciones racistas e imperialistas, se guía por el lema “America first” (Estados Unidos primero), argumentando que resulta muy costoso el rol de policía mundial. Entrando en un período pre electoral, una invasión no está entre sus planes. El recuerdo de Irak, el segundo Vietnam de EEUU, sigue disuadiendo al imperialismo de emprender nuevas guerras de agresión. Pero no abandona sus permanentes amenazas de agresión hacia los pueblos.

El régimen iraní, por su parte, saca el máximo provecho del justo repudio que en su país y a nivel mundial generan las amenazas de Trump. Desde hace cuatro décadas esa teocracia capitalista,  antiobrera y antipopular esgrime la supuesta inminencia de una agresión militar yanqui para justificar la inexistencia de libertades democráticas y la represión contra la resistencia a sus políticas de ajuste. Los revolucionarios repudiamos las amenazas militares y las sanciones económicas de Trump contra Irán, al mismo tiempo nos solidarizamos con los trabajadores y el pueblo de Irán que padecen bajo las botas de la dictadura.

Se va delineando un patrón que evidencia la crisis de dominación política, económica y militar del imperialismo yanqui. Las amenazas de ataque nuclear a Norcorea fueron seguidas de conferencias amistosas entre Trump y Kim Jong Un. La opción de una agresión militar contra Venezuela se diluyó al fracasar el intento de golpe del 30 de abril en el que Trump y Guaidó contaban con la ruptura del alto mando militar chavista. Al igual que con Irán, en estos casos el gobierno de Trump ha usado el recurso de la amenaza militar para procurar resultados. Todo intento del imperialismo de obtener ventaja mediante el chantaje militar debe ser repudiado, no obstante está claro que hasta ahora Trump ladra pero no muerde.

*Integrante del Partido Socialismo y Libertad (PSL) de Venezuela, sección de la UIT-CI

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Haití: ¡Fuera Jovenel Moïse y el parlamento corrupto! ¡No a la injerencia del Core Group!

La publicación del segundo informe de la Corte Superior de Cuentas sobre la corrupción en el manejo del fondo de Petrocaribe, que confirma la implicación del presidente Jovenel Moïse y su gobierno en el desfalco, ha desatado una nueva ola de movilizaciones, como parte del proceso abierto con las enormes protestas de julio del año pasado contra el aumento de los combustibles y el ajuste impuesto por el FMI, así como a partir de agosto con el movimiento contra la corrupción de Petrocaribe. El 9 de junio se realizaron gigantescas marchas en la capital Puerto Príncipe y las principales ciudades del país con cantos y consignas como “Vamos al palacio a buscar el dinero de Petrocaribe, si no aparece lo vamos a quemar”. El 10 y el 11, el país fue paralizado por una poderosa huelga general y las protestas han continuado toda la semana pese a la brutal represión.

La crisis política se sigue agravando. Un gobierno ilegítimo, producto de un fraude electoral, sostenido por el imperialismo, ha ido perdiendo el apoyo de sectores de la burguesía y de la Iglesia Católica, que empiezan a cuestionarlo, ante la presión de la lucha popular. El 30 de mayo senadores opositores impidieron la ratificación del gabinete de Moïse encabezado por el primer ministro Jean Michel Lapin, con lo cual cobra fuerza la denuncia de que Moïse encabeza un gobierno de facto sin sustento legal al no contar con apoyo parlamentario. Un grupo de diputados solicitó en una carta abierta al presidente del Congreso que abra un procedimiento para destituir a Moïse. El cuestionamiento generalizado alcanza también al parlamento, pues la oposición burguesa también está involucrada directa e indirectamente en la corrupción.

La gente en las protestas habla de la necesidad de acabar con “el sistema”. La gente repudia no solo al gobierno sino al régimen en su conjunto, los mecanismos de explotación y saqueo que caracterizan al Estado capitalista haitiano bajo la dominación semicolonial de Estados Unidos, Francia, Canadá, Alemania, España, precisamente los países imperialistas que integran el Core Group. Dicha instancia, en la que también participan delegados de la Unión Europea, la ONU y la OEA, es odiada por su respaldo al gobierno derechista de Moïse y el Partido Tet Kale (PHTK, partido de las cabezas rapadas), por su apoyo a la represión policial en febrero de este año, cuando elogiaron el “profesionalismo” de los represores, y por su participación en la rapiña económica contra el pueblo haitiano.

Repudiamos la brutalidad policial, reflejada en al menos dos asesinatos y decenas de heridos. Apoyamos la exigencia de expulsar al Core Group y a las fuerzas de ocupación de la Minujusth. La deuda externa debe anularse y exigirse reparaciones históricas a los Estados imperialistas de Francia y EEUU, por las extorsiones e invasiones sufridas por el pueblo haitiano a manos de ellos desde la independencia de Haití. con PDVSA y el Estado venezolano debe anularse en vista de la complicidad de la boliburguesía y el chavismo con la corrupción del régimen haitiano. Para sacar al gobierno de Jovenel Moïse y al parlamento corrupto, recuperando el dinero de la corrupción para invertirlo en salud, educación, acceso al agua, agricultura e industrialización, reorganizando al país al servicio de las mayorías obreras y populares, es necesario construir un frente de las organizaciones en lucha. No confiamos en la conformación de un gobierno de transición dirigido por los mismos sectores burgueses que están siendo impugnados por la movilización popular. Deben gobernar los trabajadores y el pueblo a través de sus propias organizaciones y en este esfuerzo deben confluir todas las organizaciones independientes que defienden los derechos de los trabajadores, los campesinos, las mujeres, la juventud, los defensores del ambiente que se oponen al saqueo megaminero y las organizaciones comunitarias.

Llamamos a la más amplia solidaridad internacional con la lucha del pueblo haitiano.

Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI) 14 de junio de 2019

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Free Louisa Hanoune and all political prisoners in Algeria

The Algerian people are still mobilised to demand an end to the dictatorial regime of hunger and poverty and in defence of democratic freedoms, after having achieved the resignation of dictator Abdelaziz Bouteflika. However, the Constitutional Council postponed the 4 July elections, granting an extension of provisional mandate to the faithful disciple of former President Bouteflika, Abdelkader Bensalah

The general and chief of the High Command, Salah, is pursuing a policy of repression against the mobilisation and persecution of activists. On 9 May, the leader of the Algerian Workers’ Party was arrested on charges of “attacking the authority of the military and plotting against the authority of the state” by the Military Court, together with other activists. A terrible attack on democratic freedoms, perpetrated by the military state of General Salah with the complicity of the interim president.

From the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI), we stand in solidarity with the workers and the Algerian people and we repudiate the arrest of Louisa Hanoune and those demonstrating against the regime. We demand the release of all political prisoners. We adhere to the call of 20 June for an international day for the liberation of Louisa Hanoune, the day on which her lawyers would present the lawsuit demanding the lifting of charges and her unconditional release.

International Workers Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI)

10 June 2019

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Libertad a Louisa Hanoune y todos los presos políticos en Argelia

El pueblo argelino sigue movilizado para exigir el fin del régimen dictatorial de hambre y miseria y en defensa de las libertades democráticas, luego de haber logrado la dimisión de dictador Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Sin embargo, el Consejo Constitucional pospuso las elecciones del 4 de julio, otorgándole una extensión de mandato provisorio al fiel discípulo del ex presidente Bouteflika, Abdelkader Bensalah.

El general y jefe del Estado Mayor, Salah, lleva a delante una política de represión a las movilizaciones y persecución de activistas. El pasado 9 de mayo detuvieron a la líder del Partido de los Trabajadores de Argelia bajo los cargos de “atentado contra la autoridad del Ejército y complot contra la autoridad del Estado” por el Tribunal Militar, junto a otros activistas. Un ataque terrible a las libertades democráticas, perpetrado por el Estado militar del general Salah con la complicidad del presidente provisorio.

Desde la Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores – Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI), nos solidarizamos con los trabajadores y el pueblo argelino y repudiamos la detención de Louisa Hanoune y de quienes se manifiestan contra el régimen. Exigimos la liberación de todos los presos políticos. Adherimos a la convocatoria del 20 de junio a una jornada internacional por la liberación de Louisa Hanoune, día en el que sus abogados presentarían la demanda exigiendo el levantamiento de los cargos y liberación sin condicionamientos.

Unidad Internacional de Trabajadores y Trabajadores – Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)

10 de junio 2019

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Academic meeting on Leon Trotsky in Cuba

Report by a correspondent of International Correspondence, the magazine of the IWU-FI

The first Leon Trotsky International Academic Event, sponsored by the Philosophy Institute and the Juan Marinello Cuban Institute of Cultural Research, was held at the Benito Juarez house in Havana between 6 and 8 May, with the collaboration of other institutions, including the Leon Trotsky House Museum from Mexico City. The presentations included Trotsky’s contribution to the Marxist theory, his involvement in the cultural and artistic debates, Trotsky as a historian, among other topics. Simon Rodriguez Porras, Venezuelan Trotskyist, co-writer of the book Why did Chavismo fail? A balance sheet from the left opposition, a member of the Socialism and Freedom Party of Venezuela and the IWU-FI took part in the panel Revolution in the Caribbean and the continent with the paper The validity of the IV International in the 21st Century.

There is a growing interest in Trotsky’s figure and theoretical legacy in Cuba, where students and intellectuals develop debates about the experience of the USSR and the meaning of the economic and social changes the island has undergone in recent decades. They reflect this interest in art and culture. The Man Who Loved Dogs, by Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura, is a literary work that deals with the life of Trotsky and his murderer, Stalinist agent Ramon Mercader, who lived his last years on the Caribbean island. They sold two editions of this novel in Cuba. In one work by Cuban artist Ruben Alpizar, exhibited at the Havana Biennial at the same time as the academic event was taking place, Trotsky can be seen as one of the iconic figures who occupy Noah’s Ark, along with Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante and singer Celia Cruz, among other referents. Although her outreach work was directed more to the exterior than to the interior of Cuba, the late intellectual Celia Hart also proclaimed herself openly as a Trotskyist in the last decade.

Against the tide

The coordinator of the event was the Cuban researcher Frank Garcia, who admirably overcame the obstacles to its realisation, with the collaboration of equally tenacious young people such as journalist Lisbeth Moya and writer Yunier Mena. At the opening of the event, Garcia considered the Cuban Trotskyists as misunderstood revolutionaries and recalled the title of the Mexican cartoonist Rius, The Devil Is Called Trotsky when he vindicated the Bolshevik leader. His bold initiative and tireless work allowed the realisation of this historic event, which was attended by about 60 international guests from some fifteen countries.

Unfortunately, the attendance of young Cuban students, researchers and activists were very limited. They did not announce the activity publicly and the entrance to the Benito Juarez house was restricted to a previously elaborated list of guests. Customs withheld donations of Trotsky’s books and other materials. For many in the state apparatus, Trotsky remains a four-letter word, just as it was in the 1970s when the last Trotskyists in Cuba were imprisoned.

Not a few Cuban academics and intellectuals strive to incorporate the study of the work and theoretical legacy of the Russian revolutionary into the reflection on the Soviet experience and on the changes underway on the island, overcoming long-standing institutional resistance. Without reaching a dozen, the young Cubans attending the activity showed great interest in the debates raised from this critical Marxist current of Stalinism. The left opposition to Stalinism had important figures in the 1920s and 1930s in Cuba such as the young leader Julio Antonio Mella and the workers’ leader Sandalio Junco. Unfortunately, in the 1960s Trotskyism in Cuba came to be identified with the Posadist current, known for its nonsensical and erratic policies. Without claiming to be a Trotskyist, Che Guevara in his last years recommended the publication of Trotsky’s books in Cuba and carried his texts among his last belongings in the Bolivian guerrilla. Nahuel Moreno deservedly paid homage to the guerrilla commander as “hero and martyr of the permanent revolution”.

Three days with an intense agenda

Esteban Volkov, Trotsky’s grandson, sent his greeting to the event. They launched Trotsky in the Mirror of History, by Peruvian historian Gabriel Garcia, and a new edition of The Revolution Betrayed by the Karl Marx Centre for Socialist Studies and the compilation Latin America Writings by the Leon Trotsky Centre for Socialist Studies and Thinking, and extracts from a documentary in preparation, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, by audio-visual producer Lindy Laubman.

We discussed a great variety of topics during three days of intense activity. Among the papers presented, Paul LeBlanc spoke about Trotsky’s struggle against Stalinism, Clara de Freitas spoke about the critique of Lenin’s cult developed by Stalinism, Suzi Weissman spoke about the breakup between Trotsky and Victor Serge, Helmut Dahmer developed a paper about the relationship between Walter Benjamin’s work and that of Leon Trotsky, Marcela Fleury examined the relationship between Eisenstein’s cinematographic work and the theory of permanent revolution, Armagan Tulunay drew parallels between Trotsky’s exile in Turkey and that of Nazim Hikmet in Havana, Flo Menezes spoke about the Trotskyism of Brazilian Mario Pedrosa, Yunier Mena spoke about art and culture in The Betrayed Revolution, Dan La Botz presented a paper on the debates between Trotsky and Souvarine, Alex Steiner reviewed Hegel’s studies by Trotsky, Daniel Perseguim reviewed the Mexican phase of the Bulletin of the Opposition, Rafael Bernabe addressed the emergence of U.S. imperialism according to Trotsky and the Puerto Rican case, while Ricardo Marquez spoke about Julio Antonio Mella and the Cuban Trotskyism.
Among the interventions of Cuban researchers, Natasha Gomez, professor of philosophy at the University of Havana, emphasised the importance of the theory of permanent revolution, of which Marx himself was a precursor, for a Marxist reading of revolutions in peripheral countries such as Cuba itself. Wilder Varona, of the Institute of Philosophy, stated that Cuba had a historical debt with Trotsky and with the Trotskyist movement, whose contributions were relevant in the present “dispute of meaning”. The researcher Caridad Masson exposed from the perspective of Stalinism the arguments used both to expel the black workers leader Sandalio Junco from the Communist Party and to assassinate him when he was already a leader of the Bolshevik Leninist Party. The speech generated indignation because it bordered on the apology of a brutal crime, but there were no interruptions.

The speeches and lectures that delimited Marxism from Stalinism, its bureaucratic and reformist distortion, were repetitive. There was no lack of polemics between different currents about the social character of the USSR, the revolutions of the post-war period, the debates between Trotsky, Nin and Serge, among other topics.

The validity of the IV International

In his presentation, Simon Rodriguez Porras presented “a reading of what it means to be a Trotskyist at present, through an interpretation of the validity of the project of the IV International, which (Trotsky) considered the most important work of his life”. The researcher recalled that Trotsky considered the Communist International definitively depleted “after the disastrous policy of Stalinism that helped the rise of Nazism to power. Less than a year after the founding of the Fourth International, they signed the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The IV International resumed the internationalist tradition. “There is evidence that this debate (that of internationalism versus socialism in one country) was the one that most troubled Stalin at the time he ordered Trotsky’s assassination.

The paper contrasted the tasks that the Fourth International established for itself with today’s world. “The fall of the USSR and the restoration of capitalism at the end of the 20th century in the countries where the bourgeoisie had been expropriated, undoubtedly had a profound political impact, as none of these countries achieved a regime of workers’ democracy that preserved the social conquests and the expropriation of the bourgeoisie. To conclude that there was capitalist restoration we based ourselves on the criteria by which during the NEP Lenin and Trotsky considered that the USSR continued to be a workers’ state: the state monopoly of foreign trade, state economic planning and the nationalisation of the fundamental sectors of the economy. The restoration of capitalism implies that in countries like China, where the Communist Party governs allied to the trans-nationals or Russia, under the conservative government of Putin, shows the need for a new socialist revolution.

A new episode in the cyclical crisis of capitalism erupts in 2007. Economic inequality has reached its highest levels in history. There are no “anti-imperialist” or “progressive” bourgeois sectors that can play a leading role for a stage of “national liberation,” as Stalinism still poses following a scheme of “revolution by stages”. The most dramatic case of failed class-collaboration projects in Latin America is that of Venezuela, where austerity plans, with a brutal reduction in wages and social spending, forced over 10 percent of the population to emigrate, a crisis aggravated this year by the American economic sanctions. A consistent revolutionary position implies repudiating the U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela and the coup attempt promoted by Trump but maintaining full political independence. In the countries of North Africa and the Middle East where great popular rebellions continue to emerge, the absence of revolutionary parties that organise a fundamental change, raising a socialist alternative to the crises, has transformed great triumphs into defeats. In concluding, Rodriguez claimed that “it is still possible and necessary to build a revolutionary world party to fight against a system it is also a world system”.

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Sudán: Repudio a la criminal represión en Sudán! Apoyo a la huelga general hasta la caída de la Junta Militar!

En Sudán se ha producido una brutal represión por parte de los militares gobernantes sobre un acampe popular que reclamaba el fin de la junta militar y elecciones libres. Las denuncias hablan de un mínimo de 13 manifestantes muertos. El Comité Central de Médicos, un sindicato opositor, anunció que podría aumentar la cifra de mártires de la matanza frente a la comandancia general (del Ejército) perpetrada por la junta militar.

En Sudán existe un proceso revolucionario desde hace meses, que se inició en diciembre de 2018 con una revuelta por el aumento en el precio del pan pero que continuó reclamando el fin de la dictadura de Omar al-Bashir que llevaba 30 años en el poder. Finalmente las movilizaciones terminaron con la renuncia de al-Bashir. Pero asumió una Junta Militar que busca desviar y derrotar a la revolución. Los militares intentan quedarse en el poder por dos o tres años más en una “transición”. Pero las protestas no cesaron reclamando la retirada de los militares y que el pueblo pueda decidir su destino libremente. La semana pasada hubo una huelga general.

Ante la brutal represión la oposición sudanesa, la Alianza o Fuerzas por la Libertad y el Cambio, está convocando a la “desobediencia civil” y a una huelga hasta la caída del régimen militar. Esta alianza nuclea a varios partidos burgueses de oposición, sindicatos y otros movimientos. Se produce un cambio ya que hasta el momento intentaron negociar con la Junta Militar lugares de poder en el futuro gobierno. En vez de darle continuidad a la movilización popular. La huelga general de la semana pasada fue otro punto de inflexión que llevó a un mayor enfrentamiento generalizado contra la junta militar que rompió las negociaciones y lanzó esta represión sangrienta.

Desde la UIT-CI, sin sentar confianza política en la alianza opositora, llamamos a apoyar la convocatoria a la huelga general contra la Junta Militar en Sudán. Convocamos a la más amplia solidaridad internacional con la movilización y huelga general de los trabajadores y el pueblo de Sudán.

Abajo la Junta Militar de Sudán!

Viva la huelga general hasta su caída!

Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)
3 de junio de 2019

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