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Archive for August 1st, 2013

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Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin has praised Russian authorities for not caving in to pressure from abroad, saying granting asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden would help prevent the establishment of a ‘global electronic prison camp’.

 

It is encouraging news that Russia is demonstrating its independence in this case as it has in many others, despite the pressure” said the head of the Holy Synod’s Department for Relations between the Church and Society.

Vsevolod Chaplin added that the Snowden saga has been broadly discussed both on the domestic and international level, with Russia’s position potentially bolstering its image as a country upholding “the true freedom of ideals.”

The Russian cleric further argued that Snowden’s revelations confirmed the existence of a pernicious problem discussed by Orthodox Christians for many years – “the prospective of a global electronic-totalitarian prison camp”.

First they get people addicted to convenient means of communication with the authorities, businesses and among each other. In a while people become rigidly connected to these services and as a result the economic and political owners of these services get tremendous and terrifying power. They cannot help feeling the temptation to use this power to control the personality and such control might eventually be much stricter that all known totalitarian systems of the twentieth century,” Interfax news agency quoted Chaplin as saying.

The church official added that in his view true democracy remained an unreachable ideal.

Any political system fixes the domination of a few over many. In the twentieth century the harshest forms of such political power used brute force, but now they are using soft power, through total data collecting and through soft persuasion of people, first through slogans but then through legal acts,” Chaplin explained. He noted that currently the soft power system was promoting such topics as declaring the western political system as the only viable option, making religion a marginal trend, and sidelining both criticism of market fundamentalism and leftist political platforms.

Chaplin urged Russian authorities to defend “real freedom, the freedom from the global ideological dictate and from the electronic prison camp.”

The cleric also offered a possible solution – the development of its own electronic communications system that would be independent from foreign-based mediums. “The nation has the brains for this and I hope we will also have a will,” Chaplin declared.

Russia is currently considering Edward Snowden’s request for temporary asylum and the former NSA contractor still remains in the transit zone of the Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

The Russian Justice Ministry on Tuesday sent a formal response to a letter from US Attorney General, who assured Moscow that Snowden would not face the prospect of death or torture if handed over to the United States.

The Russian ministry did not provide the details of its reply to the press.

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fidel3Compañero Fidel’s letter to leaders of delegations visiting Cuba on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons

A few days ago, as I observed, from the middle seat of a 4-wheel drive vehicle, what had been an old genetic center for milk production, I was able to read a brief, synopsis of just one paragraph from a speech I made on May Day in 2000, already 13 years ago now.

Time will erase those words written in black letters, on a white-washed wall.

“Revolution […] is struggling with audacity, intelligence and realism; it is never lying or violating ethical principles; it is a profound conviction that there is no power in the world that can crush the power of truth and ideas. Revolution is unity; it is independence, it is struggling for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism and our internationalism.” …

Unfortunately, no one can insure that there will be a number 70, an 80, a 90 or a 100th anniversary of the Moncada. During the Río de Janeiro international conference on the environment[1992], I said that a species was in danger of extinction: the human race. But then I thought it was a question of centuries. I am not as optimistic now. In any event, nothing worries me; life will continue to exist in the boundless dimensions of space and time. …

One Latin American and world leader to whom I wish to render a special tribute, given what he did for our people and others of the Caribbean and the world, is Hugo Chávez Frías. He would be among us today if he had not fallen during his valiant struggle for life. He, like us, did not struggle to live, but lived to struggle.

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Nicolas Maduro

 

The consolidation of a system of “popular government” will be the primary goal of the second stage of Venezuela’s Street Government initiative, President Nicolas Maduro announced yesterday during a ceremony at Caracas’ Mountain Barracks, where the coffin of Hugo Chavez is being held, to honor the birthday of the late president.

In his speech, Maduro listed ten other objectives that the program would focus on moving forward.

Regarding the issue of insecurity, Maduro spoke of the strengthening of the Plan Secure Homeland, in which members of the military patrol crime-ridden areas. He also called for peace among Venezuelan youth, adding that numerous armed groups would soon turn in their weapons to be incorporated into various social programs.

Further objectives focused on restoring the supply of basic products and exchange rate controls to combat inflation; detecting and prosecuting cases of corruption; and stabilizing the country’s system of electricity, which occasionally leaves blackouts in some regions of the country.

Maduro also expressed support for the Military Street Government program, an initiative launched under new Defense Minister Carmen Melendez.

“Don’t stop: continue with your plans to visit barracks, military units, academies, and schools to strengthen and improve them. You know that you can count on me as President of the Republic and as commander in chief of the Bolivarian National Armed Forces,” he said.

Since being launched at the end of April, Maduro’s Street Government has approved 2,450 projects, which arose from over 2,000 popular assemblies and other activities held throughout the country. Maduro stated that the outreach had allowed the government to interact with over 3,483,000 citizens.

“It’s a contact from the people to the people,” Maduro said, “because we too are the people. Here, the bourgeoisie, the bigwigs of the right, are not governing. The working class people are governing.”

At an earlier event yesterday in Sabaneta, Barinas state, the hometown of Chavez, Maduro  indicated that the second phase of the Street Government would begin “very soon … from Sabaneta, through all of Venezuela.”

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