International Weekly Monitor 20 January 2023


  1. WFTU Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023
  2. The WFTU condemns the murdering of Palestinians in the city of Jenin
  3. WFTU Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023
  4. Eswatini, South African pro-democracy groups protest at Mswati’s Consulate offices,demand justice for assassinated lawyer Thulani Maseko.
  5. Eswatini pro-democracy groups applaud SADC leaders for their continued efforts to resolve political crisis.
  6. Mswati’s police shoot two protesters during “Justice for Thulani Maseko” march in Manzini
  7. SADC Defence Chair Slams Mozambique Troops Filmed Burning Bodies
  8. Zimbabwe Parliament Enacts Law Critics Say Paralyzes NGO Freedoms
  9. Racist Israeli nationals reflect their new government
  10. Female Palestinian prisoners tortured, harassed by Israeli guards
  11. Amid US pressure, Israel considers supplying arms to Ukraine
  12. Venezuela: UN Human Rights High Commissioner Presents Balance
  13. Why is Venezuela’s Gold Still Frozen in the Bank of England?
  14. Police Brutality in US Violates Human Rights, Says Cuban FM
  15. Bolsonaro Tried to Convince a Senator to Carry Out a Coup
  16. Lula Won't Send Arms to Ukraine: "Brazil Is a Country of Peace"

WFTU Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023

30 Jan 2023

The World Federation of Trade Unions fully condemns the anti-democratic and authoritarian practices of the regime in Peru with murders, detentions, and blatant violation of even the most fundamental human rights of the Peruvian people.

The international class-oriented trade union movement once again stands beside the people of Peru and demands an immediate end to the bloodshed, the abuse of power, and the abnormal and unconstitutional developments that followed the removal of the president of Peru.

We unequivocally condemn the violent repression against the people’s demonstrations and workers’ struggles and freedoms and the murderous violence of the repressing mechanisms resulting in tens of dead protesters.

It is obvious that all the old and dirty tactics have been used, taking advantage of infiltrators and vandals who have nothing to do with the authentic workers’ movement, in order to delegitimize the mobilizations and target the class-oriented trade unions, their leadership, and to criminalize the protests and their just demands.

The World Federation of Trade Unions joins its voice with the Peruvian Working Class demanding:

-The immediate and unconditional release of all the trade unionists and protesters who are detained and the end of the repression and ongoing political prosecutions.
-Fully respecting of the trade union and democratic rights, including the unalienable right to protest and strike.
– Ensure conditions for the effective execution of the democratic right of the Peruvian people to freely decide for their present and future, without any discriminatory and authoritarian acts.
– Implementation of the just workers’ demands for dignified working and living conditions and satisfaction of contemporary needs.

The WFTU Secretariat is organizing an International Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023, and calls the WFTU affiliates as well as all the militant, class-oriented trade unions all over the globe to actively participated in International Solidarity Day.


The WFTU condemns the murdering of Palestinians in the city of Jenin

27 Jan 2023

On the morning of Thursday 26/01/2023, the Israeli occupation forces launched an operation in the city of Jenin that lasted for 4 hours. The operation resulted in the death of 9 Palestinians, including an old woman. Tens of others were injured with some of them in critical condition and the death toll might rise according to a declaration of the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

The occupation forces targeted houses of civilians, causing destruction to the homes of Palestinian as well to the camp’s infrastructure. The Palestinian president declared three days of mourning and called upon the international community to put an end to the Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of its 105 million members in 133 countries around the world, once again condemns the Israeli barbarism. At the same time, the WFTU condemns the hypocrisy of the US, NATO, and European Union who equalize the perpetrators with the victims and insist on the equal-distance policy. We call on the international community to take its role to stop the constant crimes against Palestinians, we express our undivided internationalist solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people, and we convey our sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

The Secretariat calls upon the WFTU affiliates and friends, the militant and class-oriented trade unions, to condemn the new crime and variously express their unconditional solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The present text was published by the WFTU Secretariat and was decided to be delivered by its affiliates in Israeli embassies all over the world as a protest against the new crime against the heroic people of Palestine.

The Secretariat


WFTU Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023

27 Jan 2023

After the removal of the president of Peru and the illegal and unconstitutional developments that followed, an authoritarian and violent attack started against the trade union freedoms and democratic rights of workers, with the use of repressing mechanisms Tens of protesters were murdered and many trade unionists are prosecuted and arrested for listening to the right of reaction and protest.

The World Federation of Trade Unions once again fully condemns the anti-democratic and authoritarian practices of the regime in Peru that continues to abuse power, violating fundamental human rights and democratic and trade union freedoms.

The Secretariat of the WFTU decided to organize an International Solidarity Day with the people of Peru on January 31st, 2023. The Secretariat calls the WFTU affiliates and friends to actively participated in International Solidarity Day and to actively express their internationalist solidarity with the people of Peru, organizing protests before the embassies or diplomatic commissions of Peru. Video statements and photos of the solidarity initiatives should be sent to WFTU Headquarters.

WFTU statement and poster of the International Solidarity Day will be published on January 30th, 2023


Eswatini, South African pro-democracy groups protest at Mswati’s Consulate offices,demand justice for assassinated lawyer Thulani Maseko.

3rd February, 2023

Eswatini and South African pro-democracy groups protested and delivered a petition at the Swazi Consulate offices in Johannesburg on Friday, they are demanding justice for prominent human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko who was assassinated,allegedly by Mswati’s State agents.

The political entities include the South African Communist Party(SACP), National Education, Health,and Allied Workers\' Union (NEHAWU), the Congress of South African Trade Unions(COSATU), the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO) and the Communist Party of Swaziland(CPS).

Other political groups include the United Eswatini Diaspora(UED),the Swaziland People’s Liberation Movement(SPLM) and Swaziland Liberation Movement(SWALIMO)among others.


Eswatini pro-democracy groups applaud SADC leaders for their continued efforts to resolve political crisis.

2 February, 2023

Eswatini pro-democracy groups have applauded Heads of State within the Southern African Development Community(SADC)region for their efforts to resolve the ongoing political crisis in this troubled Kingdom.

SADC leaders held an Extraordinary Summit in Windhoek, Namibia on Tuesday and renewed their call for an urgent political dialogue as political temperatures continue to escalate in eSwatini.

Speaking to this Swaziland News on Thursday,Wandile Dludlu,the Secretary General of the People’s United Democratic Movement(PUDEMO)said as pro-democracy groups, they appreciated the efforts by the SADC leaders to try and resolve the crisis.

“We understand that King Mswati is not willing to participate in a political dialogue,he wants to fight and kill people.But SADC leaders are trying to resolve the political crisis and we appreciate that,”said the PUDEMO Secretary General.

Dludlu was among the high profile political leaders who travelled to Namibia on Tuesday to lobby SADC leaders,pro-democracy groups and the civil society in that country to put pressure on King Mswati to democratize.

Other political leaders who travelled to Namibia include PUDEMO President Mlungisi Makhanya,Sicelo Mngomezulu,the lawyer representing incarcerated pro-democracy Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube, PUDEMO National Organizer Penuel Malinga and Busie Mayisela, the President of the Swazis First Democratic Front(SFDF).

Reached for comments by this Swaziland News, King’s Spokesperson Percy Simelane said Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini shared with SADC on behalf of the King, what exactly delayed the political dialogue.

“According to the Law of Communication,it is a norm to understand messages differently and only one interpretation represents the correct version. Before the recent SADC Summit the King alluded to the fact that key stakeholders in the envisaged dialogue have threatened to kill and destroy homes belonging to anyone who will oppose their position during the dialogue. He pointed out that it would be irresponsible of him to lead a threatened Nation to a dialogue,adding that the ground was not level,” said the King’s Spokesperson.


Mswati’s police shoot two protesters during “Justice for Thulani Maseko” march in Manzini

27 January 2023

Following a peaceful protest to the Manzini Police Headquarters on Friday to demand justice for assassinated human rights lawyer, Thulani Rudolf Maseko, Mswati’s police opened fire on the protesters, heavily injuring two protesters and assaulted many more.

The two activists who were shot are Mhlonishwa Mtsetfwa, Central Committee member of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), and Sibusiso Vilakati, member of the Swaziland Liberation Movement. The police shot Mhlonishwa Mtsetfwa from behind, around the waist, while Sibusiso Vilakati was shot on the left leg.

Both have since been rushed to hospital. The police shot Mhlonishwa Mtsetfwa at close range with what appears to be a rubber bullet. He is currently in theatre, scheduled to undergo a critical procedure.

These brutal attacks on peaceful and unarmed protesters by the Mswati autocracy constitute some of its acts of desperation to cling to power and maintain Swaziland as Africa’s last absolute monarchy.

A mere two days ago, Wednesday 25 January, Mswati’s police targeted and arbitrarily detained and assaulted two Swaziland National Union of Students activists in Manzini, following a political school organised by their union. The two students, Sambulo Shongwe and Lwazi Maseko, are still in custody. The police have denied them their right to legal representation.

The arrest of the two student activists also followed the brutal assassination of human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, on 21 January 2023 as well as the assassination of many other activists by the autocracy.

Mswati has long declared war on the people of Swaziland. The CPS reiterates its call for the establishment of community councils, including security councils, among others, so that the people can adequately defend themselves against the regime’s murderous security forces.

As the year begins, the CPS reiterates its call for the oppressed people of Swaziland to render the country ungovernable! The regime’s resources must be exhausted by daily activism.

The CPS also calls for the intensification of international solidarity with the fighting people of Swaziland. On this score, the CPS reiterates its call for the international isolation of Mswati and his henchmen. The regime’s elites must not be able to land anywhere in the world until democracy is attained in Swaziland.

Issued by the Communist Party of Swaziland


SADC Defence Chair Slams Mozambique Troops Filmed Burning Bodies

27 January 2023

Namibian head of state and chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security regarding the SADC Mission in Mozambique Hage Geingob said that the he does not not condone acts of extremist violence in Mozambique, Adolf Kaure of the Namibia Economist reports.

"I wish to inform the general public that the SAMIM leadership has instituted investigations to establish the circumstances on the matter, a result of which will be shared once completed," Geingob said.

The South African National Defence Force says an investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding a video circulated on social media. The footage shows persons wearing as-yet unidentified defence force uniforms throwing dead bodies into a pile of burning rubble. A uniformed soldier, clearly showing the South African flag on his sleeve, can apparently be seen watching, while filming the scene.

The incident appears to have taken place on November 29, 2022, near Nkonga village, in the Nangade district of Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province where a regional force called SAMIM and Rwandan troops have been fighting insurgents affiliated to the Islamic State since July 2021.

Conflict in Mozambique began in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado in 2017, with militant attacks that forced close to a million people to become internally displaced. Cabo Delgado is a province rich in natural gas reserves and is host to an estimated U.S.$60 billion worth of international investment in gas projects.


Zimbabwe Parliament Enacts Law Critics Say Paralyzes NGO Freedoms

2 February 2023

Jeers filled the air when lawmakers of the ruling ZANU-PF party celebrated after the Private Voluntary Organizations Amendment Bill, which regulates non-governmental organizations, passed in Zimbabwe's Senate late Wednesday.

The legislation, which still awaits President Emmerson Mnangagwa's signature, makes it a criminal offense for NGOs to support or oppose political parties or candidates in any election.

Supporters say the legislation is designed to curb financing for terrorism and money laundering in Zimbabwe. Ziyambi Ziyambi, Zimbabwe's justice minister, told Parliament after the bill passed that law-abiding NGOs have nothing to fear.

"All we are saying is: if you come and you say you want to assist - in quotes - water sanitation, you have not any business in getting into political lobbying," he said. "So, we are saying: we want to follow the money where it is going. So, we believe that this is a progressive piece of legislation."

But opposition lawmakers and human rights activists don't see it that way.

Musa Kika, a human rights lawyer who heads the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said the law infringes on Zimbabweans' basic rights.

"Our position is this law is unconstitutional," he said. "It violates freedom of association. It violates citizens' rights to organize and self-organize in spaces outside the state. So that's our position that this law cannot and will not stand constitutional scrutiny by an independent and any competent court."

Kika said the process to enact the bill had been driven by the president's office, and that parliament ignored Zimbabweans' objections during public hearings on the proposed legislation.

"And the consequences for our country are going to be dire," he said. "From a social protection point of view, from [a] diminished accountability point of view, even economic fortunes given that development support in Zimbabwe was contributing annually almost $1 billion. We are going to see a significant reduction in those that find Zimbabwe being a safe space for them to bring their development support."

Kika said the NGOs in Zimbabwe are now at the "mercy" of the government.

During the debate in Parliament, a member of the opposition, Morgen Komichi, said the new law would result in only the government's voice being heard.

"In a democracy, there should be different voices," he said. "People should air their views. They should converge, discuss and plan their things. In last 42 years, Zimbabwe hasn't seen an organization which is a threat to government. Please do not enact this law...."

Meanwhile, a top local official of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) - one of Zimbabwe's major financiers - said the legislation could have major consequences. Priscilla Sampil, acting director of USAID Zimbabwe, told a local newspaper this week that the agency's programs with local NGOs will be severely affected if President Mnangagwa signs the bill into law.

USAID has provided $4.5 billion in support to Zimbabwe since 1980 for water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS and other health-related issues.

The agency declined to comment to VOA for this story.


Racist Israeli nationals reflect their new government

3 February 2023

On Tuesday a Jewish mother gave birth at the Israeli HaEmek Medical Centre in the city of Afula in the northern district of Israel. The Jewish woman found herself lying in a room alongside an Arab mother who had given birth at the same hospital. The Jewish woman got angry and asked hospital staff to move the Arab woman out of the room.

The request was rejected by the hospital administration, where Arabs and Jews work together. However, the terrible behaviour which was a result of a policy aimed at breeding systematic racism, shocked the Arab woman and her husband.

"At this moment at HaEmek Medical Center, where my wife had just given birth, her roommate refuses to stay in the same room with her because she's Arab," Dr Wasim Rock, the Arab woman's husband, wrote on Twitter.

Due to the tension, Dr Rock voluntarily moved to another room as the Jewish Israeli woman said she she did not feel safe, "but she does not have the right to request that other people leave the room in a hospital," he added.

Dr Rock told Israeli TV Channel 13: "We are all citizens of the same country. We need to live together in peace because we do not have any other country or place to live in."

This incident echoes a similar event in 2016, when Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich's wife requested that an Arab woman be moved out of her room after giving birth to a baby at an Israeli hospital.

"As a woman who lives here, in Samaria [the occupied Palestinian West Bank], I experience the war between us and the Arabs on a daily basis. And because of that, yes, I feel uncomfortable sitting in the same room with an Arab woman. As far as I am concerned, we are enemies," Smotrich's wife said.

Extremist far-right Smotrich, a member of the Knesset for the Jewish Home Party, defended his wife's views. "It's only natural my wife would not want to lie next to someone who just gave birth to a baby that might murder her baby in another 20 years," he said.

A message to the Arab world: do not welcome Netanyahu or his fellow extremists

But Smotrich's wife's racism went further, she told Israeli TV: "I distinguish between Jews – of European descent, Moroccan descent, Yemenite descent – and Arabs. The first ones are my people; the second are my enemies."

Mossawa Centre, a rights group working to achieve the rights of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians, blamed Smotrich for what happened with Rock's wife, citing remarks he made in 2016. "Racist" Smotrich and his wife "can feel proud about the racist climate they have created," the rights group said.

The atmosphere of racism promoted by Smotrich does not stem from the incident with his wife in the maternity ward, but in every single corner across the political and social spectrums. In 2015, Smotrich declared in a Knesset Interior meeting that developers in Israel should not have to sell homes to Arabs.

"Anyone who wants to protect the Jewish people and opposes mixed marriages is not a racist. Whoever wants to let Jews live a Jewish life without non-Jews is not a racist," Smotrich said. He added: "I believe in God's words. I prefer that Jews make a living and would not sell a house to Arabs."

In March 2017, he said there were only three choices to deal with a Palestinian child throwing stones at Israeli occupation forces. "Either I will shoot him, or I will jail him, or I will expel him," he said.

In 2017 he published an essay called "Israel's Decicive Plan," in which he said: "Ending the conflict [between Israelis and Palestinians] means creating and cementing the awareness – practically and politically – that there is room for only one expression of national self-determination west of the Jordan River: that of the Jewish nation. Therefore; those who wish to forgo their national aspirations can stay here and live as individuals in the Jewish state."

Palestinians who are unwilling to forgo their national ambitions, he wrote, "will receive aid to emigrate" or be characterised as "terrorists" and "will be dealt with by the security forces with a strong hand."

Two years ago, he addressed Arab lawmakers in the Israeli Knesset saying: "You are here by mistake. It is a mistake that [Israel's founder David] Ben-Gurion did not finish the job and did not throw you out in 1948."

Alongside his racism and advocating annexation of Palestinian territories, Smotrich rejects calling the murder of Palestinian families or the burning of Palestinian children and women acts of terrorism.

Referencing the settler arson attack that killed a Palestinian family, leaving only their four-year-old child orphaned and with severe scars, Smotrich said: "The murder in Duma, with all its severity, is not an incident of terrorism. Period. Whoever calls it terrorism is deviating from the truth, causing mortal and unjustified harm to human and civil rights."

The most problematic issue today is that Smotrich is not the only racist among Israeli politicians; Israel is plagued by racists from the far-right to the far-left. This racism passes from the politicians to the public complicating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel's newest government is packed with ministers who, like Smotrich, are racist against Arabs and other minorities in society. Some openly declare that they believe themselves to be "fascist".

As long as Israel's leaders harbour such hate, an end to Israeli aggressions – both by authorities and civilians – will not be on the horizon.


Female Palestinian prisoners tortured, harassed by Israeli guards

3 February 2023

Female palestinian prisoners being held by Israel in the Damon Prison have recently been sprayed with tear gas and pepper spray, while some have been tortured or placed in isolation as a result of their protests against the treatment they are receiving at the hands of prison authorities.

On Monday, prison officers raided some of the women's cells, while cutting off the electricity supply to the unit. Prisoners refused to leave the unit during the search so the guards dragged them out, causing some of their hijabs – headscarves – to fall off their heads.

The prison was placed on a state of 'high alert' after authorities claimed they received "specific warnings" concerning the intention of some prisoners to carry out operations against the repressive measures carried out in the occupation's prisons.

The attack against female prisoners led to the Palestinian Captive Movement declaring a rebellion in all prisons and detention centres until the situation of the female prisoners is checked and any new penalties imposed on them are lifted.

On Monday, 120 prisoners in Ktzi'ot Prison announced an open hunger strike in protest against their continued isolation.


Amid US pressure, Israel considers supplying arms to Ukraine

3 February 2023

The Israeli government is mulling its policy towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the possibility of providing Ukraine with defence systems, the Israeli website Walla reported, citing three senior Israeli officials.

Israel is under pressure from the Biden administration and Democratic and Republican Congressmen, as well as from other Western governments to provide military aid, such as missile defence systems, to Ukraine.

So far, Israeli officials assert that Tel Aviv has rejected most US and Ukrainian requests to supply Ukraine with defence systems out of fear that this step could lead to tensions with Russia and harm Israeli security interests in Syria.

Earlier this week Russia warned Israel against delivering weapons to Ukraine.

"We say that all countries that deliver weapons must understand that we will consider these weapons as legitimate targets for the Russian armed forces," said Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.


Venezuela: UN Human Rights High Commissioner Presents Balance

28 January 2023

Volker Türk welcomed the Government's decision to extend the team's presence in Venezuela for another two years.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, presented this Saturday a balance of his visit to Venezuela and announced that his office will extend for two more years its work in the South American country.

"I am encouraged by the Government's decision to extend the team's presence in Venezuela for another two years so that they can continue their work to promote the human rights agenda in the country," Türk said from the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Maiquetía, at the end of his visit.

In a press conference, Türk reiterated that the unilateral coercive measures imposed by the United States (U.S.) against Venezuela do violate human rights and requested the lifting of such sanctions.

"I heard about the impact of sanctions against various sectors. I heard from people who said they cannot find medicines. It is clear that the sectoral sanctions have aggravated the economic crisis," he said.

In his assessment of his visit to Venezuela, Türk indicated that he met with the opposition that is developing a dialogue with the Government of Caracas, and reiterated the support of his office to continue with the process that is being carried out in Mexico.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights offered his full support to be a bridge between the opposition and the Venezuelan Government, based on his experience in the field of human rights.

Türk said that in the last two days, he met with more than 125 members of civil society, human rights defenders, representatives of the Catholic Church, opposition politicians and senior government officials.

He also highlighted the willingness of President Nicolás Maduro, with whom he met on Friday, to strengthen the Venezuelan Justice System, in this sense he offered his support to carry it out.


Why is Venezuela’s Gold Still Frozen in the Bank of England?

27 January 2023

A new investigation published by Declassified UK highlights the arbitrary retention of Venezuelan gold at the Bank of England.

On Friday, Declassified UK published an investigation by John McEvoy presenting details of the reasons and circumstances surrounding the retention of assets belonging to the Venezuelan State in the United Kingdom. This journalistic investigation is presented below.

In late December, Venezuela’s leading opposition parties voted to oust Juan Guaidó as “interim president” and dissolve his parallel government. This was clearly not the ending the UK government had in mind.

Four years ago, the British government made the bold decision to recognise Guaidó as Venezuelan president, and proceeded to facilitate his legal battle to seize roughly $2bn of gold held in the Bank of England.

Indeed, the UK government insisted at every turn that it recognised Guaidó – and not Nicolás Maduro – as Venezuelan president. In turn, Guaidó’s lawyers argued that he was authorised to represent and control the assets of the Central Bank of Venezuela held in London.

Throughout this time, Guaidó paid his UK legal costs by drawing on millions of dollars of his country’s assets originally seized by the US government. In other words, Guaidó tried to seize Venezuelan state assets with looted Venezuelan state assets.

Meanwhile, it seems certain that the Foreign Office also used a significant amount of public funds to sustain its backing of Guaidó. Now that Guaidó has been ousted, the legal argument for transferring the gold to the Venezuelan opposition has effectively disintegrated. Despite this, the gold remains frozen in the Bank of England, with no clear resolution in sight.

Whatever happens next, this case sets a precedent which could have far-reaching consequences: the UK’s coup weapons now include asset stripping a foreign state, and transferring those assets to political actors engaged in regime change. This will surely serve as a warning to any state which plans to store its gold in the Bank of England

Recognising Guaidó

The recognition of Guaidó was a key prerequisite for the Bank of England’s refusal to release Venezuela’s gold. Guaidó had never run for presidential office.

Yet on 23 January 2019, he swore himself in as Venezuelan “interim president”, using Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution to declare that Maduro had abandoned his post and thereby left an “absolute vacuum of power”. This vacuum, claimed Guaidó, would have to be filled by the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly – a post occupied by Guaidó.

Without the support of the US government, Guaidó’s legal gymnastics would probably not have gotten him very far. However, the Donald Trump administration moved quickly to recognise Guaidó, and began pressuring the so-called “international community” to follow suit.

The day after Guaidó’s self-swearing in, then UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt visited Washington and met key members of the Trump administration including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The political crisis in Venezuela was high on the agenda. Before meeting with Pompeo, Hunt told the press that “the United Kingdom believes Juan Guaido is the right person to take Venezuela forward. We are supporting the US, Canada, Brazil and Argentina to make that happen”. This was a strong statement – but not yet recognition.

Documents obtained by Declassified show that Hunt was privately thanked by Pompeo and Bolton for this. However, Britain’s contribution to toppling Maduro would go further.

‘Delighted’ to freeze Venezuela’s gold

The Foreign Office is refusing to say whether its officials or ministers have had discussions with counterparts in the United States on the Venezuelan gold stored in the Bank of England since 2019.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, it also claimed that “the release of information relating to this case could harm our relations with the United States of America and Venezuela”.

Yet according to Bolton, Hunt was “delighted” to help with Washington’s destabilisation campaign in Venezuela, “for example freezing Venezuelan gold deposits in the Bank of England”.

The Bank’s directors, however, were uneasy about the legal implications of freezing a foreign state’s assets. The Bank of England had already refused to release Venezuela’s gold in 2018, citing doubts over the legitimacy of Maduro’s government, though they were on shaky legal ground.

The Foreign Office worked to ease their nerves. On 25 January 2019, Alan Duncan, the minister of state for Europe and the Americas, wrote in his diary that he held a phone call with Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, about Venezuela’s gold. He wrote:

“Hunt was ‘delighted’ to help with Washington’s destabilisation campaign in Venezuela”

“I tell Carney that I fully appreciate that, although it’s a decision for the Bank, he needs a measure of political air cover from us. I tell him I will write him the most robust letter I can get through the FCO lawyers, and it will outline the growing doubts over Maduro’s legitimacy and explain that many countries no longer consider him to be the country’s President”.

In other words, the Bank of England required a robust legal rationale for keeping Venezuela’s gold frozen, and the Foreign Office was happy to provide it with one.

One week later, on 4 February, Hunt went one step further by issuing an official statement recognising Guaidó “as the constitutional interim President of Venezuela, until credible presidential elections can be held”.

With this, the UK government had committed to the Washington-backed coup effort. Hunt apparently declared: “Venezuela is in their back yard, and it’s probably the only foreign adventure they might just pursue”.

When the Foreign Office was asked in parliament this month whether it received legal advice in recognising Guaidó as president, it replied “We do not comment on when legal advice has been received”.


Police Brutality in US Violates Human Rights, Says Cuban FM

31 January 2023

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez on Tuesday said that law enforcement brutality is one of the most serious and systematic violations of human rights in the United States.

On Twitter, the Cuban foreign minister pointed out that it is also alarming the more than 1,000 people who die every year in the United States due to police firearms.

Rodriguez gave as an example of disrespect to the most elementary human rights, the deaths of the African-American George Floyd, in May 2020, and recently of Tyre Nichols, both examples of racism and violence by some police officers, according to the U.S. media.




Cuba Welcomes International Mobilizations Against US Blockade 27 January 2023 "With renewed energy and solidarity, friends and Cubans living abroad resume the caravans to denounce the shortages caused by the blockade," chancellor Rodriguez stated.

On Sunday, Cuba’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez welcomed the resumption of international demonstrations demanding the end of the U.S. blockade against his country.

"With renewed energy and solidarity, friends and Cubans living abroad resume the caravans to denounce the shortages and suffering caused by the blockade on Cuban families," Rodriguez said.

On Saturday, supporters of the Cuban Revolution held demonstrations in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, and Nigeria to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the birth of Cuban national hero Jose Marti and call for an end to the U.S. hostile policies towards Cuba.

"The demonstrations in the U.S. seek above all to raise funds to support Cuban children’s hospitals and reiterate the request to President Joe Biden to remove Cuba from the list of States sponsors of terrorism," said Carlos Lazo, an organizer of the "Bridges of Love."

Between August 2021 and February 2022, Cuba registered almost US$ 4 billion in losses due to the U.S. blockade. "Cuba's gross domestic product could have grown 4.5 percent in those months if the blockade had not been in force," Rodriguez said.

He considered that the Biden administration’s decision to resume American flights to the Island and authorize remittances are “a step in the right direction, but of a very limited nature”.

"These actions do not counteract the most harmful effects of the blockade," the Cuban chancellor said, adding that these initiatives do not regularize bilateral trade or stop the persecution of foreign companies trading with Cuba.


Bolsonaro Tried to Convince a Senator to Carry Out a Coup

2 February 2023

Marcos Do Val said that he will resign from the position of Senator that was due to end in 2026.

On Thursday, center-right Senator Marcos Do Val said that former President Jair Bolsonaro tried to convince him to stage a coup to prevent Lula da Silva from becoming president of Brazil.

"I would get angry when they called me a Bolsonaro. You wait for me to drop a 'bomb.' We Can" party who decided to denounce the far-right politician.

After issuing some messages through social networks, Do Val said that he "definitely leaves politics" and will resign from the position of senator that was due to end in 2026. He said that this decision was due to family and health reasons.

"I lost coexistence with my family and especially with my daughter. It was not worth it to be transparent, honest, and fight for a better Brazil. The attacks and offenses continue to occur," he said and announced that he would return to the United States where he previously lived.

These declarations occurred a few days after 513 Lower House representatives and a third of the Brazilian senators elected in October took possession of their seats.

Currently, the former Captain Bolsonaro is in Miami, where he fled before officially concluding his term and without acknowledging the victory of Lula da Silva.

The far-right politician is being investigated for his involvement in the assault on the Brasilia's headquarters of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches, which took place on Jan 8.


Lula Won't Send Arms to Ukraine: "Brazil Is a Country of Peace"

30 January 2023

Argentina and Colombia are other countries in the region that have also refused to provide arms to Ukraine.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said on Monday after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that the South American country will not send ammunition that could be used in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Lula da Silva said through his official Twitter account, "Brazil has no interest in ceding ammunition to be used in the war between Ukraine and Russia. Brazil is a country of peace. At this moment, we have to find those who want peace, a word that until now has been used very little."

At a joint press conference following the meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, the President affirmed that Brazil is willing to contribute, together with countries such as China, India and Indonesia, to create a "club of countries that want to build peace on the planet."

Lula da Silva recognized China's role in the current conflict. "Our friends, the Chinese play a very important role," said the Workers' Party (PT) leader, adding that he wants to "discuss peace between Russia and Ukraine with President Xi Jinping," during his visit in March.

On the issue of reaching a Russia-Ukraine consensus, Lula da Silva said it is necessary "to constitute a group with sufficient strength to be respected at a negotiating table and sit down with both (Ukrainian President Vladimir / Russian President Vladimir Putin)."

The Brazilian President referred to the role of the United Nations (UN) in the face of the conflict. Lula said the UN "no longer represents the geopolitical reality," and added: "We want the UN Security Council to be strong, more representative and able to speak another language that the world needs."

While calling Russia's special military operation in Ukraine a "mistake," the Brazilian President said that Ukraine's possible entry into the European Union and NATO were possible reasons.


Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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