Tag: USA

US State Department puts Cuba back on ‘sponsor of terrorism’ list, makes early days tough for incoming Biden administration
Americas

US State Department puts Cuba back on ‘sponsor of terrorism’ list, makes early days tough for incoming Biden administration

Biden administration: Outgoing United States President Donald Trump and his administration are not backing down from making early days of Biden administration tough as it takes charge on January 20, one week from now. State Department led by Mike Pompeo has put Cuba back on the list of ‘sponsor of terrorism’. This action will make Biden’s attempts to realign with Havana more complicated. 

The controversial decision has put Cuba reclassified into the list, putting it alongside Syria, North Korea and Iran. The announcement was made by Mike Pompeo who said that Cuba was engaging in a “range of malign behavior across the region”. With this Pompeo has highlighted Cuba’s support to Nicolas Maduro, authoritarian leader of Venezuela, that Trump had tried to overthrow, though unsuccessfully. 

Pompeo has justified the decision of reclassifying Cuba on the list by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

This action reverses former President Barack Obama’s decision of 2015 to remove Cuba from the list after being there for over three decades. 

The move by Trump administration is in reference to enabling and giving shelter to former Black Panther Assata Shakur who was jailed in the US over killing of police officer in 1973. She later escaped to Cuba where was given shelter by then Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Furthermore, the decision is also made due to refusal by Cuba to hand over a group of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) guerillas, which were involved in Bagota bomb attack in 2019. 

But many US allies are not in favour of Trump’s charges on Cuba. Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House said, “Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Sabatini explains that move by Trump is more of a “parting gift” to incoming Biden administration. He said, “It’s like when departing armies leave scattered mines in a field. They are planting these political mines for the Biden administration that will be very difficult to be rolled back and to lock in, at least temporarily, their policy preferences.” 

Havana is furious with the decision. Its foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted, “The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.” He called the move ‘hypocritical and cynical’. 

USA -Venezuela, what changes with Joe Biden
Americas

USA -Venezuela, what changes with Joe Biden

USA -Venezuela: Venezuelan opposition leaders and the governments supporting them have just seen their strategy to remove President Nicolas Maduro’s tyrannic regime culminating in a failure. On Sunday, in farcical elections for a new term, Maduro supporters took control of the opposition’s last remaining bastion, the National Assembly. But on the other hand, opposition leaders have been denouncing for months how the Venezuelan leader was obstructing the main opposition parties in all ways, both lawful and unlawful, by completely emptying the very meaning of the elections. That not surprisingly had a record of abstention. The parliament served as a spearhead for a coordinated international campaign to remove Maduro, promoted by the Trump administration and supported by European and Latin American democracies, seen in the president of assembly Juan Guadiò. Their champion to restore a modicum of democracy in Venezuela.

That plan, launched two years ago, sought to capitalize on the opposition’s hold on the National Assembly Opposition politicians had won the overwhelming majority during the last legislative elections, in 2015. That proved to be Venezuela’s latest credible polls. Although the regime later stripped the National Assembly of all its powers, the opposition still enjoyed the legitimacy of a duly elected government institution, albeit apparently without practical authority, and found a way to leverage it.

Maduro continued to dominate even though almost all Western countries disowned him as interlocutor and chosen the Legislative Assembly leader, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate president. After Maduro proclaimed himself the winner of a fraudulent election in 2018, the National Assembly declared the presidency vacant. And following the constitutional guidelines, appointed the head of the legislature, Juan Guaido, the legitimate interim president until fair elections.

Fifty countries soon recognized Guaido as the legitimate head of state of Venezuela. The United States waged a new “maximum pressure” campaign against the regime, including tightening sanctions, but a planned military uprising to oust Maduro did not materialize. Once again, the military power of a South American country remained faithful to the pre-established order. Perhaps because of not having too much faith in the new leader. Also, because of the direct involvement of the US. That is why the opposition forces, despite the words of circumstance, were hoping for a reappointment of Trump. It is not a mystery that Maduro was rooting for a victory for the Democrat Biden.

Trump has been a strong ally of the opposition to the Venezuelan leader. He has shown that he is determined not to back down on demand to kick Maduro out of power. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA – the country’s economic lifeline – was also hit by US sanctions, increasing the number of Venezuelan people suffering. Biden expressed his desire to resume diplomacy with OPEC members Venezuela and Iran. That could lead to the return of their oil exports if certain conditions occur, according to Reuters.

“We are not trying to dismantle the sanctioning policy, but to enforce sanctions intelligently, aided by a multilateral effort and with specific objectives to achieve mainly free, fair, and credible elections.” Leopoldo Martinez, Biden’s campaign strategist, told Reuters in late November. The strategy managed to strengthen President Donald Trump’s good faith among large segments of Latin voters in the United States, a significant contributor to Trump’s comfortable election victory in Florida in November. It also helped galvanize support for the Venezuelan opposition among European democracies. But in its most important goal, carving a path towards a return to democracy, the strategy has made no progress.

For Juan S. Gonzalez, former US Deputy Secretary of State and former Special Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, the elected president will stand with the Venezuelan people and democracy. In organizing a cohesive international response to the humanitarian crisis, targeting regime supporters involved in corruption and human rights violations wherever they go. Recovering assets stolen by the Venezuelan people, driving international pressure for free and fair elections. “Joe Biden is someone who advocates the use of multilateral sanctions to force the Maduro regime to restore democratic freedoms in Venezuela.” Juan S. Gonzalez said.

But for many Americans, this plan won’t work. “Yet, none of these outcomes will be achieved if Biden simply lifts economic sanctions,” Ryan Berg and José I. Hernández write today on CNN. They suggest to develop a “different sanctions strategy”: supporting effective humanitarian exemptions and using US diplomatic means to stop Maduro’s rapaciousness. That would strengthen the possibility of a democratic endgame over a bold diplomatic strategy, a better collection of options to discuss the complicated change to democracy in the South American country. The nature of Venezuela’s emergency needs US resolution and thinking outside the box.

Why America Is Better Off Without Trump Altogether
Americas

Why America Is Better Off Without Trump Altogether

America Is Better Off Without Trump: As Donald Trump comes to know that he is not to resume office in the next session, he seems to have disappeared from the scene altogether. The result is that people have been left stranded without any solid leadership, at a time when America is seeing its worst case of medical catastrophe. The corona virus numbers continue to swell and there is no respite for the American public. 

The elect president Joe Biden is trying to set his stage and agenda as he takes over office at the White House. But meanwhile, the helm should have been held by Donald Trump, who seems to have out of sight and thinking of how to secure his own political fate. He did not seem to have addressed the nation after the daily toll of affected people rose to 2,879 deaths. Till last week, confirmed cases numbered 217,664 and over 100,000hospitalizations.

Sources confirm that Trump indeed has busied himself fundraising for his future political endeavours and happily also sowing seeds of doubt in the country’s democratic foundations. It is sad to see that indeed the American people had been fooled in selecting someone so spineless and selfish as Donald Trump, whose Trump’s Twitter feed, meanwhile, has focused almost entirely on making wild, false accusations of electoral fraud.

It is so surprise that, like a spoilt child, Trump has been speaking of Biden getting the credit for the vaccine dissemination that starts after the latter takes office in January. The attitude is completely unfit for a leader of a nation and his approach is shameful. 

Trump continues on his campaigns, throwing caution to wind and mocking fellow White House officials for using common sense approach to maintain hygiene and social distancing protocols. 

CNN Video surfaces on possible path for Trump 2020 win
Americas

CNN Video surfaces on possible path for Trump 2020 win

CNN Video: CNN aired a possible path for President Trump’s election win a while back. The video is making the rounds again on Black Friday. As more and more Americans are made aware of the historical fraud, several states could flip to Trump despite the fraudulent numbers produced by Dominion Voting Systems and massive voter fraud. If the current White House tenant keeps Pennsylvania, he can get 270 votes with Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia. CNN Video CNN aired a possible path for President Trump’s election win a while back. The video is making the rounds again on Black Friday. As more and more Americans are made aware of the historical fraud, several states could flip to Trump despite the fraudulent numbers produced by Dominion Voting Systems and massive voter fraud. If the current White House tenant keeps Pennsylvania, he can get 270 votes with Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia. 

Screenshot 2020 11 30 at 11.19.21 AM 1024x533 - CNN Video surfaces on possible path for Trump 2020 win

And Arizona is the surprise of the last few hours: the state worth 11 great voters was initially assigned to Biden, passed to Trump after the recount. The US presidential election is still in the balance. Democratic candidate Joe Biden seemed to have reached the quota of 270 electors necessary to set foot in the White House and would do so with the record of votes never obtained by an American president. But there have been key-US where the votes are still counted and that they will decide the game.

Screenshot 2020 11 30 at 11.19.31 AM - CNN Video surfaces on possible path for Trump 2020 win

After Trump won Pennsylvania, which is worth 20 major voters, he got the 270 electoral votes he needs to reconfirm himself as president of the United States of America. With votes by mail, Trump went from a margin of over 600,000 votes to around 164,000 votes. The uncounted ballots are still about 500,000, but they are almost all from Philadelphia and Allegheny County, where Biden should have a huge advantage that he could make it. In Philadelphia County, Biden leads with 79% of the votes counted in his favor. The recount in Arizona, Nevada, or Georgia, also awarded to President Trump, is calling everything into question. Although the media always lined up against The Donald, are still give Biden as the winner, ignoring a different reality.

Twitter suspends Pennsylvania Senator after election integrity hearing
Americas

Twitter suspends Pennsylvania Senator after election integrity hearing

Twitter suspends Pennsylvania Senator: The operations Twitter account of Pennsylvania Senator Doug Mastriano, who directed Wednesday’s election integrity recording, has been halted. Senator Mastriano of Pennsylvania’s 33rd District arranged and chaired the conference in the state’s Senate Thursday on election integrity that highlighted an appearance by President Donald Trump.

Conservative critic Jack Posobiec was the first to remark that Senator Mastriano’s campaign account had then been banned by Twitter after the hearing.  Apparently, there has been no reason provided as to why the Twitter account of the Senator was suspended from the Social Network as it happens to millions of users.

https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1331760916745101312

During the conference, Senator Mastriano had slammed the election chaos, which he said was completely by scheme. “We move heaven and earth with American dollars to secure elections in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere. We can’t do it in our own state?” Mastriano said. “There’s people in Pennsylvania not interested in safe, secure elections.” Many personalities also asserted that they had beheld what appeared to be firm irregularities with the election. 

The GOP vote calculation observer Justin Kweder introduced a ground-breaking record in which he claimed that hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots were scored without any proper error. He emphasized that it was impossible for onlookers to see what the workers were doing in any position, due to the fact that operators had raised a barrier that they were required to be behind.

Ironically, Big Tech had also been invited out during the recording by Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. Giuliani affirmed that Big Tech firms like Twitter and Facebook have banned conservatives and followers of President Trump because “it’s almost as if they’re afraid” that Americans will discover the realities.

In US anti-racism movement, role of Russia’s hybrid warfare
Geopolitics

In US anti-racism movement, role of Russia’s hybrid warfare

The onset of protests against racism across the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd is a potential example of a hybrid war against the administrative leadership in the country. Amid the growing turmoil across several countries, experts are exploring possibilities of involvement of Russian intelligence in inciting racial unrest in the United States.

According to a report in the International Policy Digest, Russian organization namely Internet Research Agency has been creating large volumes of websites with content related to the Black Lives Matter movement and police violence in America in recent times. Furthermore, it has been stated that Russian secret services are working on setting the stage for social unrest on racial grounds in the US through various ways of hybrid warfare in a bid to control the actions at the time of such a conflict.

Reportedly, representatives of the American far-right are being recruited by Russia to mobilize groups against each other. Moreover, Russian has been reportedly setting up a network of free combat training centers for African-Americans in the US to radicalize American society. At the same time, a POLITICO analysis indicates that Russia and China have been targeting the ongoing racial tensions in the US with swamp of posts on social media platforms. Aiming at inducing conflict, experts have warned that both countries are pushing disinformation and stepping up their online-game targeting the upcoming US presidential election.

Significantly, this cannot be regarded as the first instance of Russia using hybrid war tactics against the US. Western countries have been witnessing aggressive methods used by Russia against NATO for a long period of time. Russia has been using criticism of American racism for its propaganda since the Cold War era.

While experts have a different understanding of Russian hybrid war activities such as influence campaigns which can be hostile in nature, they pose a serious threat to the power dynamics in the global political discourse. Nevertheless, the 21st century is witnessing an evolution of hybrid warfare which has the potential to cause paramount impact on society with the least usage of conventional ways of war. Taking note of changing perspectives across several parts of the world, a geopolitical paradigm shift is in all likelihood evident in the world order.

Coronavirus: 62,200 deaths in Latin America, 20,000 new cases per day in the United States
Americas

Coronavirus: 62,200 deaths in Latin America, 20,000 new cases per day in the United States

The coronavirus pandemic continues to besiege Latin America, and in the last 24 hours, the infection curve is soaring with 1,238,101 cases (+84,163), while the deaths have reached 62,195 (+2,851). This is what emerges from the data of 34 Latin American nations.

Brazil continues to attract the attention of experts both for the number of infected people, 645,771 (+30,830), and for the number of deaths which are 35,047 (+1,005). Peru came in second with 187,400 total cases (+5,162), and Chile third with 122,499 infections (+1,448). Among the nations with more than 5,000 infections, there are Mexico (110,026), Ecuador (41,575), Colombia (36,635), the Dominican Republic (18,708), Argentina (21,037), Panama (15,044), the Bolivia (12,245), Guatemala (6,154) and Honduras (5,880).

According to Worldometer, there are now 2 million coronavirus cases in the US and 111,000 victims. But the most alarming figure – underlines the New York Times based on its database – is that we still travel to an average of over 20 thousand new cases per day: 21,614 on Thursday, especially in the south of the country and in part of the west coast characterized by new outbreaks. Great concern is also linked to the possible surge of the infections due to the protests taking place across the United States. The surge in cases in certain parts of the country, in fact, may be related to the number of states beginning to loosen lockdown restrictions and the number of people protesting police brutality and anti-blackness.

The number is lower than the April peak of new coronavirus cases, but the number of new cases shows passing the peak doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. According to New York Times, more states have seen a rise in new cases than those that have seen a decline. According to its database, 18 have seen a rise over the past two weeks, 15 have seen a decline, and 17 have stayed roughly the same. The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 213 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances.

Libya has registered another 30 new coronavirus infections in the last 24-hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 239. The Libyan National Center for Disease Control announced on its Facebook page, adding that while the dead remain 5 and the cured 52, the currently positive people rise to 182. India overtook Italy as the sixth country most affected by the coronavirus pandemic after another peak of confirmed infections in a single day. The Indian Ministry of Health on Saturday detected 9,887 new cases, bringing the total to 236,657. The dead in the country are 6,649 so far.

The Philippines ‘unsuspends’ military pact with the US
Asia Pacific Focus

The Philippines ‘unsuspends’ military pact with the US

Earlier this year, the Philippines had said it will pull out of the Visiting Forces Agreement signed with the US but has now reversed this before the termination could come into effect.

The Visiting Forces Agreement, which allowed for the US and the Philippines to conduct joint training exercises, has been extended for another six months on the behest of President Rodrigo Duterte. This comes as a blow to China which has been hoping to capitalise on the rift between the two countries to increase its geopolitical power in the region. In benefits the US to maintain the status quo, as the Philippines is the only US treaty ally bordering the heavily contested South China Sea, home to some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Duterte had angrily signalled the end of the pact in February this year, triggered by the US’ refusal to grant a tourist visa to Senator and former police chief Ronald de la Rosa who is the architect of the Philippines’ controversial drug war and the associated extrajudicial killings. The Filipino administration had already been trying to distance itself from the US and warm up to China instead, in order to invite more Chinese investment.

But in light of China’s recent moves in the South China Sea and the economic consequences of the pandemic making it difficult for the Philippines to devote more resources towards defence, the administration probably thought it sensible to retain the deal. The administration announced that the decision was made “in light of political and other developments in the region”. Washington and Manila had 180 days, i.e until August, to reinstate the deal.

Under the pact, Philippines forces have been receiving training from Americans to combat terrorism and drug trafficking through the hundreds of large-scale joint exercises conducted annually. But Duterte had earlier criticised the terms of the 21-year-old deal as unfair, saying the Americans took their modern weapons and technology once the training concluded.

Guerrillas in Manhattan, amid provocations and looting
Americas

Guerrillas in Manhattan, amid provocations and looting

Another night of systematic looting in New York despite the curfew for COVID-19. In the United States, policemen are becoming targets, hit by off-road vehicles in Manhattan, in the Bronx, but also Buffalo, north of the state, while in Las Vegas, a bullet hit an agent in the head. He was trying to disperse a violent demonstration in front of the Circus Circus casino. He is now in critical condition. While thousands of protesters gather outside the police headquarters in the southern part of Manhattan, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to anticipate the curfew in New York from 11 am to 8 pm and to make it last at least for the whole week.

The protests were transformed into urban guerrilla warfare by the infiltration of radical groups of various origins or into raids organized by criminal gangs who take advantage of the chaos. Donald Trump promises to restore law and order, threatens to use the army, but shows little understanding of what is happening when, in inviting governors to use strong manners, he compares the current rebellion to the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011. «It was a real misfortune until someone said enough and wiped them out. Nobody has heard of it for years, until today: I am hearing about Occupy now». In the president’s words, Occupy is synonymous with Antifa, the violent radical groups that Trump would like to ban as terrorist organizations.

According to Trump’s opponents, it makes no sense to compare today’s violence and chaos to the nine-year-old movement, that confined itself to peaceful protests, with demonstrators arrested almost only for resistance to the public force, perhaps for an unauthorized motorcade. Occupy was not violent, and it had an organization, an order service that managed to calm the troublemakers, and avoid infiltrations. Today, the picture is different: massive but unorganized protests, organized in the social networks, within which the extremist Antifa groups move. Former Occupy radicals may have merged, seeking provocation and confrontation, as well as groups of rebels and common criminals who practice looting as a proletarian expropriation or simple theft.

Destructions and looting are carried out by small groups that move from street to street with military technique: they attract the attention of the police in one point and strike elsewhere. Some of the most prominent stores were devastated and looted in central Manhattan the other night before curfew, included Microsoft, Michael Kors, Nike and Nintendo. Everything is well organized: some break the windows by throwing bricks, others arrive with City bike’s stolen bicycles to take away the stolen goods. “It’s the coordinated gang work,” says the police. “They are not provocateurs who come from outside: they are from here, we know them.”

Biden in best position for any U.S. Presidential candidate, Will he be able to leverage it?
Americas

Biden in best position for any U.S. Presidential candidate, Will he be able to leverage it?

United States is gearing up for 2020 Presidential elections amid the mist of coronavirus pandemic and fire of latest civic unrest across the nation following death of George Floyd in police custody sparking anger against the black Americans violence.

Latest polls conducted by ABC News and Washington Post show the clear lead of former Vice President Joe Biden against President Donald Trump. The polls indicate Biden ahead by a 53% to 43% margin keeping the registered voters into account.

The polls are a clear indication of how Joe Biden is in the best position for any Presidential contender, ever since the electronic polling began in 1930s.

In more than 40 polls done in May, each one of them showcased Biden leading ahead of Trump. This makes him the first challenger since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to lead in every poll in May.

Also, Biden has been leading in average in every single poll for any month. His average has never dipped below 4 points. This puts Biden in strongest position for any Presidential challenger.

The most impressive point is the consistency of Biden’s lead, the latest ABC news/ Washington post polls being the latest examples. In May, Joe Biden rose up by 6 points in polls on an average.

The fundamental result of each of these polls is indicative of one thing – unpopularity of President Donald Trump. He is clearly not a favorite. The approval-disapproval rating of Trump in ABC news/ Washington Post polls was -8 points. His average is -10 points. In fact, in the past three years of his Presidentship, Donald Trump has never had a positive approval rating.

The only two other Presidents who had negative approval ratings and they ended up losing the reelection were Jimmy Carter in 1980 and George H.W. Bush in 1992.

This year has been the ultimate test of President of the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic hitting the country and practically sweeping the economy and lives has been troublesome and an ultimate nightmare. And with the latest civil unrest with protesters on streets with slogans of “Black Lives Matter” post a series of violence against Black Americans has been the last bit. When the country is in need of a true leader to dilute the situation and bring calm, the acts of President Trump have only been unsettling. From neglecting the WHO recommendations to fight the pandemic spread and flaunting “non-masked” attire in public, to tweeting controversial statements regarding latest protests, President Trump has failed the litmus test of a true President.

Keeping these scenarios in mind and popularity of former Vice President Joe Biden, it would be no surprise if he emerges as the new President of United States. But next few months are real test as campaigns will pace up. It is to be seen if Biden can continue to dominate the polls and win the electoral elections.

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