International Notes: August 15, 2016

 
International Notes: August 15, 2016

Spain:  United Left calls for nullification of Franco sentence

United Left deputies in  the lower house of  the Spanish parliament, the Cortes, are denouncing patterns of whitewashing the crimes of the fascist dictatorship of Francisco Franco (1939-1976).  Three United Left deputies from the region of Andalusia in Southern Spain (Alberto Garzón, who is also the party’s secretary general, Miguel Angel Bustamante and Eva Garcia Sempere) have introduced a resolution drawing special attention to the case of Blas Infante, who is considered by many to be an Andalusian regional freedom fighter and hero.   When Franco’s troops took over Seville in August 1936, at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, they executed Infante because he was a leftist who supported regional autonomy (a few days later, also in Seville, the fascists  murdered Spain’s most outstanding poet of the day, Federico Garcia Lorca).  After Infante was killed, he was put on trial and declared guilty of “rebellion”, although it was actually the military who had rebelled against the democratically elected government of the Second Spanish Republic.  The resolution introduced by Garzón and his colleagues on August 10 calls for the sentence against Infante to be annulled and for his confiscated property to be returned to his heirs.  The resolution’s sponsors point out that since Franco’s death, wide ranging autonomy has been granted to Andalusia and other regions of Spain.  “It is a serious contradiction that Blas Infante is mentioned in the Autonomy Statute as a father of the Andalusian nation, yet at the same time, a sentence against him still exists because of his republican and pro-Andalusia activities”.   United Left (Izquierda Unida) is a parliamentary political alliance which includes the Communist Party of Spain and six other parties.

 

Madagascar:  Communists protest attacks on press freedom

The Party of the Congress of the Independence of Madagascar, or A.K.F.M., has issued a call for international support  in the context of a deteriorating political situation in that large island nation in the Indian Ocean.  The call includes an update of what has been happening since the overthrow of the “ultra-neoliberal and dictatorial regime” of President Marc Ravalomanana in 2008, and his replacement with Andry Rajoelina—an overthrow which the A.K.F.M. supported because of the degree to which the previous government had been handing over Malagasy resources, including large tracts of vital agricultural land, to transnational corporations.  Under international pressure, including from the United States, Madagascar held new elections in 2013.  The winner of those elections and current president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina Rakotoarimanana Marcial, had campaigned on a promise of clean government and adherence to the Constitution.  However, according to the A.K.F.M. what the president has delivered instead “non observance of the Constitution, bad governance, incompetence, corruption [up to] the top of the state, grabbing and illegal occupation of land by foreigners” and the looting in the interests of multinational corporations of Madagascar’s assets such as its famous rosewood.  There are major problems of illegal outflow of currency and rising unemployment.  Credit terms of the International Monetary Fund  and also climate change related to the current “El Niño” episode are causing further hardship. Currently statistics show that 77  percent of the people live in poverty.  Now political repression and threat to freedom of the press are being added to the mix, the latter including a restrictive new “Communictions Code”.  The A.K.F.M. is calling for unity of all forces opposing the government and its policies.

 

 

Peru:  Communist parties of Peru hosting meeting of Latin American leftists

Peru’s two communist parties – the Peruvian Communist Party  (Partido Comunista Peruano) and the Communist Party of Peru – Red Fatherland (Partido Comunista del Perú Patria Roja)—have issued a joint announcement that they will be hosting a meeting of Latin American communist and left parties, to take place in Lima August 26 through 28.  The announcement reads, in part:  “The exceptional circumstances which Latin America and the Caribbean are undergoing, wherein advances in the long battle for full emancipation and development of their peoples converge with counteroffensives aimed at perpetuating forms of domination and backwardness, need to be examined with attention and a critical spirit, at the same time as the development and perfecting of sustainable initiatives and responses over time”.  Invited to the activity are all the communist parties of the region plus other left wing parties in and out of power.

 

Portugal:  Communists Criticize Priorities of the European Union

The Communist Party of Portugal (PCP) continues to criticize European Union Policies that it considers harmful to workers in Portugal and other poorer countries that are part of the 28 nation bloc.   Paula Santos, a Communist Party deputy in the lower house of the Portuguese parliament, emphasized her party’s views that the deepening of European Union policies euphemistically called “the European construction process”, namely neo-liberalism, federalism and militarism, as well as the concentration of economic and political power in the EU, have negative consequences for the Portuguese people, and do not correspond to their needs.  Santos and her comrades also criticized the budgetary restrictions which the European Union imposes on member states – restrictions which hit poorer countries like Portugal especially hard—and warned of the dangers of the projected Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.

Author

    Emile Schepers is a veteran civil and immigrant rights activist. Emile Schepers was born in South Africa and has a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Northwestern University. He has worked as a researcher and activist in urban, working-class communities in Chicago since 1966. He is active in the struggle for immigrant rights, in solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a number of other issues. He now writes from Northern Virginia.

     

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