- WFTU statement on the 110th ILC
- WFTU Statement: The WFTU Is On The Side Of Tge Workers And The Peoples Of Cuba, Venezuela And Nicaragua
- WFTU statement on the new economic sanctions of EU
- ALU: Israel's assassination of Palestinian journalists a "failed attempt" to silence truth
- MEDIA STATEMENT, 27 May 2022
- African countries to work collectively, fight against terrorism and unconditional change of Governments
- Calls For Eswatini To Become South Afica's Province: Government Spokesperson Takes on Herman Mashaba
- The world's most ignored displacement crises are in Africa, according to an annual ranking. It's the first time all 10 are on the African continent
- East Africa: A Country-By-Country Guide to Worsening Drought in the Horn of Africa
- British Newspaper Admits Russia Is Winning Economic Warfare
- EU Sanctions on Russia Fuel High Inflation, Add Internal Rifts
- IEA: World Facing the Worst Global Energy Crisis Since 1970
- Monroe Doctrine's Shadow Outshines the Summit of the Americas
- Venezuela Strives To Recover Economically Against Blockade
- Cuba’s Cyclonic Season Begins Under Heavy Rainfall Threat -->
WFTU statement on the 110th ILC
27 May 2022
On the occasion of the start of the 110th ILC, the WFTU addresses a cordial greeting to all the worker’s representatives. Since its founding in 1945, the WFTU gives particular attention to its intervention within the ILO, treating the procedures of this organization as a field of struggle, since its decisions, in one way or another, affect the living and working conditions of workers.
The interventions of the WFTU promote over time the positions of the class-oriented trade union movement and at the same time expose the anti-labor policies and the phenomena of submission of this organization in interests contrary to the demands and expectations of the workers.
It is obvious that the ILO is increasingly subordinated to the anti-labor and anti-grassroots environment created by the harsh neoliberal policies imposed in recent decades by the dominant circles of global capitalism.
There is no doubt that its role and effectiveness have declined significantly since the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
It is time for the UN Declarations and the ILO conventions on democratic and trade union freedoms to be fully implemented in their own operation and for discrimination and exclusion against the WFTU and other independent trade unions to be ended once and for all.
While industrial relations are constantly being deregulated and collective bargaining is shrinking and collective agreements are being violated, while stable and permanent work is being replaced by so-called “flexible” forms, while child labor, instead of being eliminated, is becoming more severe, while utility sector and other social enterprises are rapidly privatized, the otherwise ambitious and correct slogan adopted by the ILO for “decent work”, in practice is a well-sounding slogan but of no consequence.
The same goes for the discussion about the future of work. What is the value of this debate, given that the present of work is so overtly characterized by setbacks and massive undermining of rights and achievements.
For the WFTU it is clear that only with the struggles and with the organized militant demands the goals of the labor movement are realized and social progress is achieved.
That is why, in the framework of this year’s ILC, the WFTU calls upon the workers’ representatives, the class-oriented unions participating or attending, to be active and to demand actual decent work and dignified life for the workers, struggling militantly for:
- Improvement of the living standards of workers and pensioners
- Public and free healthcare for all
- Trade union and democratic freedoms
- Gender equality
- Eradication of racism and xenophobia
- Protection of the environment
- Workers’ solidarity
- Stop imperialistic wars and interventions, dissolution of NATO, destruction of nuclear weapons
- Respect for the right of all the peoples to decide on their own about their present and future
WFTU Statement: The WFTU Is On The Side Of The Workers And The People Of Cuba, Venezuela And Nicaragua
30 May 2022
The World Federation of Trade Unions, on behalf of its 110 million members in 135 countries around the world, ratifies its solidarity with the workers and peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua given the fact that they were denied their participation in the People’s Summit, as unilateral actions of exclusion of the US government to these countries, to participate in the IX Summit of the Americas to be held between June 6 and 10 in Los Angeles, California.
For the WFTU, the right of peoples to decide for themselves freely and democratically about their present and their future, without discrimination of any kind, is a fundamental principle, ratified in the recently concluded 18th Congress of our organization.
Once again we support any action of integration and unity of workers for a common good, which opposes the subversion of the economic, political and social system that each nation determines in a sovereign manner.
We continue together, for the satisfaction of our contemporary needs; against imperialist-capitalist barbarity! Reference
WFTU statement on the new economic sanctions of EU
31 May 2022
The decision of the EU leaders for a new package of financial sanctions, which includes the ban on import of oil from Russia into the EU, is far from being considered a move aimed at the shortest possible peace.
It is obvious that this tactic is resulted to quite the opposite. Such economic war decisions simply escalate tensions, reinforce militarism, and nurture nationalists and warmongers.
The consequences of these decisions are burdened in an unbearable way on the backs of the workers and the people who see their income being crushed by the relentless increase of inflation and prices. The big monopoly groups of the Western alliance are hoarding again at the expense of the workers, in a Cold War environment that is systematically consolidated and strengthened, with all the consequent dangers for world peace and security.
The effort to use the crisis and the war to expand and enlarge NATO, with all that entails for world peace and security, is obvious.The WFTU is strongly opposed to the policy of economic war and condemns the attempt to escalate the conflict through huge military aid packages.
The WFTU demands the dissolution of NATO and all military alliances, the destruction of nuclear weapons, and the withdrawal of illegal sanctions and blockades which are systematically imposed on states that do not comply with US-NATO orders. Also, the WFTU demands the international organizations to act for the de-escalation and for the encouraging and strengthening of diplomacy to bring peace and ceasefire as soon as possible.
ALU: Israel's assassination of Palestinian journalists a "failed attempt" to silence truth
3 June 2022
Secretary-General of the Arab Lawyers Union (ALU), Mekkaoui Benaissa, has condemned Israel's policy of assassinating Palestinian journalists as a "failed attempt to silence the voice of the truth that expresses the Palestinian people will to gain their freedom and end the occupation."
Benaissa condemned in a statement released on Thursday, the Israeli army's "cold-blooded" assassination of Palestinian journalist, Ghufran Warasneh, south of the occupied West Bank; the second journalist to be killed by the Israeli army in less than a month, in reference to Palestinian esteemed journalist and Al- Jazeera reporter, Shireen Abu Akleh, who had been killed by the Israeli army in the occupied city of Jenin on 11 May.
Benaissa called on the International Criminal Court to immediately "open an investigation into the assassinations carried out by the Israeli occupation without the slightest accountability."
The Israeli army soldiers killed Warasneh, 31, on her first day of work in the Al-Aroub refugee camp, near Hebron, south of the occupied West Bank.
MEDIA STATEMENT, 27 May 2022
The African National Congress has always considered, and continues to appreciate the value of international solidarity. In particular, the progressive nature of anticolonial movements on the African continent is a part of what and where the ANC locates itself. International solidarity is intrinsic to anti-colonialism and is something that the ANC and the alliance more generally as well as the MDM champions and will continue to champion.
Anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and international solidarity are deep seated values that the ANC cherishes and pursues - both as a movement and as a party in Government.
In 2022, on Africa Day, the ANC re-commits itself to the values of Pan-Africanism and to the potent weapon of international solidarity.
Specifically, this year, the ANC will be mobilising in support of the Palestinian people. We view this as an important focus as it was the Palestinian people who financially resourced various struggles against colonialism on the African continent.
While many of our nations and countries have achieved freedom, the Palestinians live under the yoke of a special form of colonialism - Israeli Apartheid. As a movement we were shocked along with the rest of peace loving peoples across the world, by the murder and assassination of the Palestinian journalist – Shireen Abu Akleh.
The ANC, together with our Alliance would like to communicate the following program:
- The ANC, SACP, COSATU and our partners in civil society will be holding a symbolic human chain picket at the Israeli embassy in Pretoria on 3rd June 2022, condemning the murder of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
- Specifically the ANC is inviting journalists based in South Africa, not necessarily to cover the protest but, to join us on the picket lines in protest of the murder of a member of the media who was simply doing her job. We are calling on all media houses and members of the media to join us.
- The ANC will be supporting the Embassy of Palestine and #Africa4Palestine in hosting several international solidarity events on the 29th of November 2022 that will be held in Pretoria, Windhoek, Lilongwe, Maseru and other Southern African nations.
The purpose of these events will be to highlight the interconnected nature of ourstruggles and the path that still needs to be forged by African states together with progressive peoples like the Palestinians, Cubans, Venezuelans and others.
The ANC has, together with the SACP, COSATU and #Africa4Palestine, have erected several billboards in Gauteng to raise awareness of the Israeli theft of Palestinian land. These billboards are to convey that you can kill the messenger but not the message. The billboards, which have the maps of Palestine over the course of the last 70 years, have been put up at strategic locations including the entrance of Pretoria, the entrance of Johannesburg, the entrance of Sandton and elsewhere.
We are also calling on other organisations to join this initiative and to assist us in putting up similar billboards in other cities.
Finally, the ANC will be holding, together with the SACP (and COSATU as well as #Africa4Palestine and other solidarity groups) a special Ruth First Memorial Lecture dedicated to both Ruth First as well as Shireen Abu Akleh. We have invited the Palestinian icon Leila Khaled to address this lecture and we will confirm details in due course.
While the ANC will continue to champion the struggles of our peoples here locally in South Africa, we will always find the capacity to also lend our solidarity to others struggling peoples on the continent and abroad.
South Africa will not rest until such time that the people of Palestine and Western Sahara are free. South Africa will not rest until colonialism in all its forms have been dismantled. Reference
African countries to work collectively, fight against terrorism and unconditional change of Governments
31 May 2022
Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini says African countries adopted a resolution to work collectively in fighting terrorism and unconstitutional change of Governments.
Addressing the media on Tuesday after his return from Equitorial Guinea where he attended the African Summit on Terrorism and Unconstitutional Change of Governments, the Prime Minister said African countries pledged to address the scourge at infancy.
“African countries united in condemning terrorism and unconstitutional change of Governments and pledged to address the scourge at infancy. It was noted that acts of terrorism and unconstitutional change of Governments affect socio-economic development and sets Africa backwards. These acts are further exacerbated by external funding and the misuse of social media platforms to promote acts of terrorism," said the PM as quoted by Government online platforms.
Calls For Eswatini To Become South Afica's Province: Government Spokesperson Takes on Herman Mashaba
2 June, 2022
Alpheous Nxumalo, the newly appointed Government Spokesperson came hard on Action SA leader Herman Mashaba over sentiments suggesting that Eswatini should be incorporated and be part of South Africa adding that the country cannot survive on its own economically.
Responding to a questionnaire from this Swaziland News,the Government Spokesperson said he was not too sure if Mashaba knew what sustained the Sovereignty of a Nation.
“It is not necessarily economic boom but the will of the people to maintain their respective sovereignty. Every Nation state was established by those who did in order to achieve certain objectives. While he maybe entitled to his opinion, I think it is rather too narrow to receive positive reception from his audience primarily. Eswatini is a sovereign state and Emaswati are very proud for who they are irrespective of any challenges,” said the Government Spokesperson.
As reported by TimesLive, ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba suggested that Lesotho and Swaziland must be incorporated into South Africa(SA), his sentiments sparked a debate on Twitter, drawing a response from former Economic Freedom Fighters(EFF) MP and actor Fana Mokoena.
“It is practically and economically impossible for these countries to survive on their own. The elephant in the room: Will the leaders of these two countries accept a proposal to incorporate?” said Mashaba as quoted by TimesLive.
But the former EFF MP slammed the idea saying the issue of eSwatini, Lesotho and Botswana was historical not economically as perceived by Mashaba
“Ntate Mashaba. The issue of Lesotho, eSwatini and Botswana is historical rather than economic. All our demarcations as colonised Africa are historical. Lesotho and Swaziland were not colonised, but became protectorates. Hence their trajectory was different from ours,” said the former EFF MP.
As the debate intensified on Twitter, Fana Mokoena, the former EFF MP went on to highlight the issue of Lesotho and how it became a Sovereign State.
“Lesotho fought and won its battles against colonialists differently from how we did it. Instead of arrogantly proposing they be incorporated in us, because we think we are better, why don’t we rather propose greater economic participation and sharing of resources between us?” he said
The world's most ignored displacement crises are in Africa, according to an annual ranking. It's the first time all 10 are on the African continent
2 June 2022
10 African nations top a list of countries where people's suffering from displacement and conflict is internationally neglected, according to an annual ranking by the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the most neglected country on the list for the second year running, followed by Burkina Faso, Cameroon and South Sudan.
Chad, Mali, Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi and Ethiopia complete the list.
DRC conflicts shattering communities
"DRC has become a textbook example of neglect," said Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the aid organization, said in a statement marking the report's launch on Wednesday.
"It is one of the worst humanitarian crises of this century, yet those inside and outside of Africa with power to create change are closing their eyes to the waves of brutal and targeted attacks on civilians that shatter communities," Egeland said.
Some 5.5 million people were internally displaced in DRC in 2021 because of intercommunal tension and conflict, the report noted, with a further 1 million fleeing to neighboring countries.
Having to flee their homes leaves people at risk of starvation and children without education and can prolong the conflicts and violence that are often responsible for the displacements in the first place.
One-third of the population, or some 27 million people, went hungry in DRC last year.
"I can't plan for my children's future, there is nothing beyond finding food each day," a 37-year-old mother in DRC's conflict-ridden northeastern Ituri province told the refugee council.
Five of her family members were killed in a massacre and her house was burned to the ground.
"The world doesn't know how we suffer here," she said.
Suffering in the shadows
The annual ranking aims to highlight the plight of people who receive no or only inadequate assistance and whose suffering rarely makes international headlines.
The report criticizes that international media outlets rarely cover the countries on the list "beyond ad-hoc reporting on major new outbreaks of violence or disease."
On top of this, restrictions on press freedom in many of the affected countries make it difficult for local media to cover the conflicts and the resulting displacements.
As well as making it into the top 10 neglected crises list, Sudan and Nigeria, for example, are both towards the bottom of international press freedom rankings.
Although Burkina Faso ranks relatively high in terms of media freedom (ranking 41 in Reporter Without Borders' 2021 list), journalists were virtually banned from accessing displacement sites in the West African country, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council report.
"This ban significantly contributed to insufficient media coverage of humanitarian issues and a lack of reliable and independent information on attacks and security developments," the report found.
Burkina Faso is facing a surge in jihadi-linked violence, which has driven tens of thousands of people out of their homes. Despite this, international funding for the humanitarian response was "less than half of the total needed" for 2021, according to the report.
Ukraine war overshadowing other crises
The refugee council analysis also singles out the war in Ukraine to highlight that it is possible for governments, private firms and international media to react swiftly to a humanitarian crisis.
"The war in Ukraine has demonstrated the immense gap between what is possible when the international community rallies behind a crisis, and the daily reality for millions of people suffering in silence within these crises on the African continent that the world has chosen to ignore," Egeland said.
"This points to a vicious cycle of international political neglect, limited media coverage, donor fatigue, and ever-deepening humanitarian needs," he said.
(AFP, dpa) Reference
East Africa: A Country-By-Country Guide to Worsening Drought in the Horn of Africa
31 May 2022
We must meet the current humanitarian needs now if we are to avert an even bigger crisis in six months' time.'
Hammered by four droughts in a row, as many as 17 million people are going hungry in three countries in the Horn of Africa, with aid agencies warning that the hardest-hit areas are threatened by famine.
In the arid pastoralist regions of southern Ethiopia, northern Kenya, and much of Somalia, the lack of water and pasture has killed millions of animals that herders rely on for their livelihoods. That has left households destitute, with deaths among the most vulnerable, especially young children.
Worse is on the way. The La Niña weather system that has caused an unprecedented four consecutive droughts across the region is still in effect. There is now a "concrete risk" that the October to December rains will fail once again - propelling the disaster to a whole new level.
"We must meet the current humanitarian needs now if we are to avert an even bigger crisis in six months' time," Sean Granville-Ross, Africa regional director for the aid agency Mercy Corps, told The New Humanitarian.
The Ukraine effect
The current response is not enough. The $4.4 billion UN appeal is "woefully" underfunded, according to the aid agency Oxfam. A separate donor pledge of $1.4 million made in April to cover the next six months has raised only $400 million in new money.
"It's an indication of the multiple catastrophes around the world that are vying for the attention of the donors," said Granville-Ross. "Back in February, we thought [the Horn of Africa] was gaining momentum, and then Ukraine came along."
As with the Somalia famine of 2011/2012, when a slow-motion response cost 260,000 lives, there was early warning of this impending crisis, with alarm bells being rung as far back as 2020. But "we're living with it again - even when we thought we'd leant the lesson of how dangerous a delayed response can be," noted Jeremy Taylor, advocacy adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
It's not just drought that's driving needs. Food prices have been rising around the globe since last year - the consequence of higher costs for fuel, fertiliser, and shipping. The war in Ukraine, which has blocked the export of millions of tons of wheat and maize from Black Sea ports, has driven an additional spike in cereal prices.
The cost of a typical food basket has risen by 66 percent in Ethiopia and 36 percent in Somalia. In the worst-affected parts of Kenya, the emergency sale of livestock means prices are at their lowest since 2011. In all three countries, women are bearing the brunt of the crisis - they are the last to eat in each household, and the first to be displaced.
Politics of need
Conflict and political instability are exacerbating the impact of climate shocks in the region. In Somalia, the jihadist group al-Shabab controls much of the countryside and is hostile to Western aid agencies. Fear of falling foul of international anti-terror legislation acts as an additional barrier to foreign aid operations.
But there is "enough to do without getting close to al-Shabab areas", said Taylor. "That's a reflection of both the scale of the needs, and the limitation of the response."
Across the region, pastoralists who have lost their animals are heading to informal settlements on the outskirts of towns and cities. Without livestock to restart their lives, they become part of a precarious class of new urban poor.
More severe droughts are almost certain to continue hitting the region as a consequence of climate change. "Not only do we need to meet immediate needs, but to also strengthen communities' future resilience," said Granville-Ross. "That's where we need to have an urgent conversation with host governments, donors, and international organisations."
The following is a snapshot of the critical needs affecting the Horn of Africa, as well as neighbouring Sudan and South Sudan, which are also facing large-scale food deficits.
SomaliaNumbers in need: 7.7 million
Donor appeal: $1.46 billion
Funded: $260 million - 18 percent
What is happening? Six million people, 40 percent of the population, are "acutely food insecure". That includes 81,000 people already at a "catastrophe" level of hunger, with a real risk of famine in parts of the country this year. Yet the humanitarian response plan is only 18 percent funded.
Areas particularly badly affected include pastoralist regions in the northeast and the centre of the country, as well as the informal displacement camps around the capital, Mogadishu, and the towns of Baidoa in the southwest, and Dhusamareb in the centre.
More than 770,000 people have abandoned their homes in the current drought, looking for water and pasture for their animals, or help for themselves. That's double the number displaced during the 2016/17 drought emergency, and could reach 1.4 million people in the next six months.
There was a smattering of rain in early May, but the celebration was short-lived, and the drought is deepening. Up to 30 percent of the country's livestock has died since mid-2021.
Numbers in need: 25.9 million (including the Tigray crisis)
Donor appeal: $2.75 billion
Funded: Not yet updated
What is happening? Ethiopia is facing two food emergencies: One is the conflict in the north - which has left more than nine million people in Tigray, Afar, and Amhara in need. The other is the drought in the eastern and southern lowlands, affecting 6.8 million people.
A humanitarian ceasefire between the federal government and Tigray rebels agreed in March has not translated into the flood of food aid needed to ease "famine-like" conditions.
Meanwhile, the arid regions of Somali, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' (SNNP) have struggled with two years of back-to-back droughts that have left pasture conditions among the driest on record.
An estimated 2.5 million livestock died between late 2021 and mid-May 2022. It's not only a significant knock to household prosperity, it also removes milk - a key source of nutrition for children - from people's diets.
There has also been a drastic fall in terms of trade for remaining animals. The sale of a goat last year would have covered a family's food needs for 23 days - now it's down to just six days.
Numbers in need: 4.2 million
Donor Appeal: $180.7 million
Funded: $27 million - 19 percent
What is happening? More than four million people - a quarter of the population in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASEL) of north and eastern Kenya - are acutely food insecure. Numbers in need could rise to five million as conditions deteriorate.
In February, maize prices across most of the country were 8 to 28 percent above the five-year average. Mass screening by UNICEF in Marsabit county in February found a child malnutrition rate of 23 percent - well above the 15 percent standard emergency threshold.
As is also the case in Ethiopia, the government's welfare safety net programme has been overwhelmed by the scale of the crisis. But political attention has also wandered, diverted by upcoming elections in August this year. South Sudan
Numbers in need: 8.9 million
Donor Appeal: $1.70 million
Funded: $442.6 million - 26 percent
What is happening? More than 70 percent of South Sudanese are dependent on food aid - the consequence of conflict, under development, and a poorly performing government. Three consecutive years of floods have also eroded people's ability to produce or purchase food.
As a result, three million people are facing a food emergency. In eight counties, households are already at "catastrophe" levels of hunger, with a strong likelihood of famine in some of the most vulnerable areas.
The most dangerous period will be July to August, coinciding with the traditional lean season and the height of the rainy season.
Numbers in need: 14.3 million
Donor Appeal: $1.94 billion
Funded: $290 million - 15 percent
What is happening? Sudan is struggling with the convergence of conflict, economic and political crisis, and a poor harvest, with as many as 18 million people - 40 percent of the population - projected to be short of food by September.
Conflict continues to drive displacement and food insecurity in western Darfur and Kordofan. Across the country in general, crop failures have also hit domestic cereal production.
In April, staple food prices increased on average by 10 to 15 percent compared to March - and up 200 to 250 percent more than in 2021. Devaluation of the local currency, and higher transportation costs, helped fuel inflation. Sudan is also particularly dependent on now-blocked wheat imports from the Black Sea region.
Sudan's economic woes are unlikely to ease soon. Western financial support was frozen when a beleaguered military government, challenged daily by pro-democracy protesters, seized power last year.
The numbers in need, and the appeal and funding information, were taken from figures provided by the UN's emergency aid coordination body, OCHA.
Edited by Andrew Gully.
British Newspaper Admits Russia Is Winning Economic Warfare
3 June 2022A British newspaper analysis admits that the economic war launched by the West against Russia is not going as planned and urges Europeans to sit down at the dialogue table with Moscow.
Despite the fact that more than three months have passed since the West declared an economic war against Russia in retaliation for its military operation in Ukraine, things are not going according to plan, British newspaper The Guardian reported Thursday.
"The perverse effects of the sanctions have led to a rise in the cost of Russian oil and gas exports, boosting its trade balance enormously and financing its war effort," the text reads.
The article confirms that, in the first four months of 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin could boast a current account surplus of $96 billion, more than three times the figure for the same period last year.
The publication also pointed out that the partial ban on Russian oil exports caused the price of crude oil to rise on world markets, providing the Kremlin with another financial windfall.
In this regard, the article added that Moscow will have no difficulty in finding new markets for its energy, as last April, its oil and gas exports to China increased by 50% compared to 2021.
As a result of the energy sanctions against Russia, The Guardian has pointed out, most Western countries have registered slow economic growth and high inflation, as well as an increase in unemployment, since the economy of these countries depends on gas imported from Russia.
According to the newspaper, modern U.S. military technology, energy restrictions and the seizure of Russian assets have failed to force President Putin to withdraw his troops from Ukraine.
EU Sanctions on Russia Fuel High Inflation, Add Internal Rifts
2 June 2022
According to official data from the Commission, consumer prices in the eurozone rose by a record 8.1 percent in May on the heels of a 7.4 percent increase the previous month.
The decision by the European Union (EU) earlier this week to ban 90 percent of oil imports from Russia by the end of the year is aimed at crimping the Russian economy amid the high-profile crisis in Ukraine.
But the move, part of a wider array of sanctions, is also likely to result in still higher energy prices, while exposing political rifts within the 27-nation bloc, experts said.
OPEC+ Agrees to Significant Oil Output Increases in July
The European leaders' move covers only seaborne imports of Russian oil, allowing a temporary exception for pipeline oil. This carve-out from the ban benefits Hungary, a land-locked EU member state that gets almost all of its crude from Russia via pipelines.
Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said that despite the exemption granted to Hungary, the prohibition would still cover the bulk of Russian oil imports to the EU.
But the move comes at a cost. According to official data from the Commission, consumer prices in the eurozone rose by a record 8.1 percent in May on the heels of a 7.4 percent increase the previous month.
The most significant factors contributing to the dramatic increase in prices, according to economists, were directly or indirectly related to energy costs: transport, industry, agriculture and supply chain issues.
Cutting off most Russian oil imports is likely to put more upward pressure on prices, according to many analysts.
The European leaders' decision has already sent oil futures higher, with contracts for July deliveries surging 3.5 percent on Monday, the day when the Commission made its announcement.
But the exemption made for energy-poor Hungary is also evidence of growing rifts between the EU member states, according to media reports. The decision could incentivize other countries to seek out special exemptions on future decisions.
Joining Hungary, Italy and the Czech Republic also broke from most of the pack in the EU in calling for a negotiated settlement to the Ukraine conflict rather than a policy focused mostly on continuing to provide funds and arms for Ukraine.
That stance did not prevent European leaders from agreeing this week to provide an additional 9 billion euros (9.6 billion U.S. dollars) in financing for Ukraine.
The latest round of sanctions will also include a freeze on Russian assets outside the country and will exclude Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, from the international SWIFT transfer system.
Some Russian broadcasters were also blocked from distributing their content commercially in the EU.
The moves were legally endorsed by all 27 EU member states on Wednesday.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, called this week's agreement a "remarkable achievement."
But analysts said that with the growing disagreements between member states, it may be more difficult to gain full agreement for future rounds of sanctions against Russia. Reference
IEA: World Facing the Worst Global Energy Crisis Since 1970
2 June 2022
The current energy crisis began in the fall of 2021, but has worsened after Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as markets fear a disruption of energy supplies from Russia.
The world is currently facing the biggest energy crisis since the 1970s when it was only about oil, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, said.
Now the crisis also covers gas and electricity, and Europe in particular will face a possible summer of gasoline and fuel shortages, Birol told German daily Der Spiegel.
The energy demand will rise when the main holiday season in Europe and the United States begins, Birol explained, along with the fall in supplies worldwide, whose levels are lower than before the pandemic, resulting in low product availability.
The current energy crisis began in the fall of 2021, but has worsened after Moscow’s military action in Ukraine as markets fear a disruption of energy supplies from Russia.
Despite the dramatic effects for Europe, on Tuesday the European Union agreed to ban most of oil imports from Russia, and only the supply of oil by pipeline is exempted from sanctions for now.
A decision that will further tighten the already tight oil and product markets.
Monroe Doctrine's Shadow Outshines the Summit of the Americas
1 June 2022
For months now, Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Bolivia's President Luis Arce, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and other Latin American leaders have expressed dissatisfaction regarding the 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles if the U.S. insists on excluding Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
PM Gonsalves Urges CARICOM States Not To Attend US-Led Summit
Their stance reflects regional opposition to keeping those countries out of the summit, but this is not the first time Washington has tried to impose its will on the entire American continent. In the nearly 200 years since the United States adopted the so-called Monroe Doctrine in 1823, U.S. atrocities in Latin America have overshadowed bilateral relations.
The history of the U.S. development is also a story of Latin American resistance marked with blood and tears. After its founding, which entailed dispossessing North American Indians of their own land, the U.S. embarked on a policy of expansion against Mexico.
Through war, the United States appropriated half of Mexico's territory, including all or part of California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. Mexico lost significant mineral resources, impacting its economic development.
At the end of the 19th century, the U.S. launched another offensive, taking possession of Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Sea through the Spanish-American War, and occupying Cuba.
At the turn of the 20th century, frequent U.S. military aggressions in Latin America gradually brought regional countries into its sphere of influence. In 1903, the U.S. forcibly leased Guantanamo, turning it into the first U.S. military base abroad. To this day, Washington refuses to return this port to Cuba.
In 1915, Washington sent troops to occupy Haiti under the guise of "protecting the diaspora" from local unrest. It did not withdraw until 1934. The United States occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924 to collect debts contracted by Dominican governments. U.S. troops again swarmed the island in 1965, when civil war in the Dominican Republic toppled the pro-American government, and Washington sent some 40,000 soldiers to "restore order."
In 1989, the U.S. sent elite troops to invade Panama under the guise of "protecting the lives and property of American citizens," overthrowing the military government and attempting to attain permanent control of the Panama Canal.
In 1904, American writer O. Henry used his experience in Honduras to write his novel "Cabbages and Kings," in which he exposed the ruthless plunder of U.S. monopolies in Central America and the Caribbean, and coined the term "banana republic," referring to countries under the control of Washington, and whose economies invariably depended on a single crop.
By 1930, the United Fruit Company controlled around 1.4 million hectares of land in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama and over 2,400 kilometers of railways, as well as the countries' customs, telecommunications and other essential services.
In 1947 alone, U.S. business accounted for as much as 38 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Honduras, 22.7 percent in Guatemala, 16.5 percent in Costa Rica, and 12.3 percent in Panama. Exploited and looted by Washington, these countries have become its economic vassals as suppliers of raw materials and dumping grounds for U.S.-made basic goods, with economies that lag far behind.
In addition, Washington imposed and continues to impose indiscriminate sanctions and tariffs on several Latin American countries, further restricting the region's economic development. In 1962, the U.S. launched a trade embargo against Cuba that grew into a full-on blockade of the island nation, leading to over US$150 billion in economic losses as of mid-2021.
"The blockade suffocates our economy, causes shortages, hinders development and constitutes the greatest violation of Cubans' rights," said the island's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.
Venezuela has also suffered from the impact of over 430 sanctions imposed since 2015 by the United States and its allies, with losses to its economy of more than US$130 billion. The sanctions have caused a 99 percent drop in Venezuela's revenues, and negatively impacted all social, and economic spheres.
IN SHADOW OF MONROE DOCTRINE
Entering the 21st century, as Latin American countries recovered from recurring political and economic crises, their relationship with Washington began to be characterized by contradictions and conflicts.
In 2011, the region's 33 countries established the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the first regional organization in the Americas to forgo the participation of the U.S. and Canada. Faced with the continuing decline of its influence, the United States was forced to adjust its policy towards Latin America.
"The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over," then Secretary of State John Kerry declared in 2013 at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), announcing the dawn of a new era of "common interests and values" between the United States and the region.
But that doesn't paint a true picture. Uncle Sam's shadow still lurks behind many Latin American political developments, said Adalberto Santana of the Center for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean at Mexico's National Autonomous University.
Washington's fingerprints are all over the 2009 military coup in Honduras, the ouster of Paraguay's Fernando Lugo in 2012 and Brazil's Dilma Rousseff in 2016, and the forced resignation of Bolivia's Evo Morales in 2019.
"For the last 200 years our country has operated under the Monroe Doctrine, embracing the premise that as the dominant power in the Western hemisphere, the United States has the right to intervene in any country that might threaten our alleged interests. Under this doctrine we have undermined and overthrown at least a dozen governments," said Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders in February.
At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States, then the global epicenter of the pandemic, summarily deported undocumented Central American migrants without the usual safeguards, increasing the risk of spreading disease in countries with fragile healthcare systems.
What's more, in response to Latin American countries' reasonable demands for help to tackle the pandemic, the United States chose to ignore them or even block their cooperation with countries outside the region, falsely alleging "debt traps" or "neocolonialism," politicizing a healthcare issue and forcing them to take sides at the expense of their own development.
The United States fails to see that Latin America and the Caribbean have changed and the Monroe Doctrine can no longer be reinstated, said Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel.Reference
Venezuela Strives To Recover Economically Against Blockade
30 May 2022
The U.S. government has been imposing sanctions on Venezuela since 2017.
The President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, said Monday that his country is promoting mechanisms to overcome the blockade and advance the economy's recovery.
"From the popular organizations, we are building the mechanisms to defeat the criminal blockade, inefficiency and corruption. It is time to continue advancing, with concrete solutions, in economic recovery and social welfare," Maduro said via Twitter.
According to the Venezuelan government, since 2017, when the United States began imposing sanctions against the Bolivarian nation, more than 500 coercive measures have weighed on the country, leading to a 99 percent reduction in its income.
Sanctions against state-owned Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) prevent any transaction in the U.S. financial system, financing and the purchase of spare parts or even maintenance contracts, according to the government.
Today Venezuela comes out in a rhythm of economic, social, political, and moral recovery. No one excludes Venezuela!
On May 17, the U.S. eased some sanctions against Venezuela. The U.S. Treasury Department issued a limited license to allow U.S. and European oil companies to trade and resume operations in Venezuela following more than five years of sanctions.
Last January, Maduro welcomed the country's exit from hyperinflation after four years. The president said that 2021 was the country's first year of recovery and growth, which had been in recession for seven years until 2020.Reference
Cuba’s Cyclonic Season Begins Under Heavy Rainfall Threat
1 June 2022
Heavy rains threaten the Caribbean island at the start of the 2022 cyclonic season.
According to the Institute of Meteorology of Cuba (Insmet), the country is now experiencing the effects of low atmospheric pressures that dominate the northwest Caribbean, with heavy rains likely on the island's western and central regions in the coming days.
An official notice issued by Insmet says that this low-pressure system "presents a high probability of tropical cyclonic development in the next 24 to 48 hours, and of gaining in organization as it moves northeastward over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, very close to or over western Cuba."
The text also says that the rains could be heavy and intense and adds that it is not ruled out that areas in the country's east could also be affected.
According to Dr. Miriam Teresita Llanes, head of Insmet's Forecast Center, "the most important factor for Cuba is rain, but forecast models show the possibility of a tropical or subtropical cyclonic development of the system in the next few hours as it moves northeastward over the western Caribbean Sea, the southeastern Gulf of Mexico or western Cuba."
Cuba hurricane season begins today well moved. There is a possibility of a tropical or subtropical cyclone development in the next 24 to 48 hours. There will be extensive cloudy areas with heavy and intense rains in the West and Center. Alerts
"The broad area of low pressure dominates the northwestern Caribbean and connects with a trough crossing the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and over Cuba and adjacent seas, bringing moisture and instability," meteorological experts said.
June 1 marks the official opening of the cyclonic season in the eastern North Atlantic basin, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea, which lasts until November 30.
For this new season, Insmet's national forecasting center foresees the formation of 17 organisms, i.e., tropical storms and hurricanes, of which nine could reach hurricane category.
Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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