Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trumka does the right thing. What about you?

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has announced his resignation from President Donald Trump's manufacturing council. Trumka said, "President Trump's remarks today repudiate his forced remarks yesterday on the KKK and neo-Nazis. We must resign on behalf of America's working people, who reject all notions of legitimacy of these bigoted groups. It's clear that President Trump's Manufacturing Council was never a means for delivering real policy that lifts working families and his remarks today were the last straw."

Trumka resigned behind the chief executives for the pharmaceutical giant Merck, Under Armour and Intel, as well as the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. His action also follows positive action by the Communication Workers of America.

Now, many of my friends and comrades are going to say that Trumka should never have joined the council to begin with. We felt betrayed when certain union leaders went to the White House, and we were furious when they issued statements either supporting Trump or green-lighting his infrastructure and manufacturing agenda. And people will say that Trumka should have been the first one out, and that this should have happened weeks or months ago and in solidarity with Standing Rock. These are legitimate points.

But if you organize workers and you're active in the labor movement you know that we usually have tremendous patience and restraint, we're analytical, we wait to see who's leading and who's following and what the most advanced and realistic paths forward are. Only some sections of the civil rights movement have the same sense of time and timing that we do. You learn that from the rhythms of production and from being vulnerable and from understanding something of the dynamics of privilege.

The questions for me are not about Trumka and the AFL-CIO leadership. I'm more interested in how Trumka's walking out of the council can be used to move our struggle forward. How does this touch workers, and particularly white workers who are wondering where their dog is in the race?

If people can go to work tomorrow and say, "Look, union leaders are walking out on Trump for some very good and legitimate reasons. We have two sides here: one is all about solidarity and sticking together and getting more on the plate for everyone, and the other is all about using one part of the working-class to fight the other on behalf of the wealthy. So which side are you on, sister/brother?" then Trumka did the right thing and it matters.

But if we're not having those conversations, it doesn't matter what Trumka did. It's totally on us to make this real and push it forward, way past Trumka and the AFL-CIO leadership.

That photo up above was taken in better days, when Black and white workers, and men and women, struck Massey and Pittston. At one point in West Virginia it seemed to me that we were shutting the state down as teachers, miners, phone company workers and hospital workers struck. I'll die proud of having been a part of that. C'mon, sister or brother, what's it going to take to get you on board?


Cross-Border Solidarity Events In Portland

The Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC) invites you to come absorb the Solidarity that Latin Americans have built, learn how they've built it, and join it.


Nicaragua & International Peasant Struggle

Wednesday August 23rd
6pm Potluck, 6:30pm Presentation
Multnomah Friends Meeting, 4312 SE Stark Street Portland, OR 

Transport info: https://www.quakercloud.org/cloud/multnomah-friends-meeting/pages/parking-transportation

Spanish-English interpretation available / Interpretación español-inglés disponible

Please join us for a talk on the Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ATC, or Rural Workers Association) of Nicaragua by Erika Takeo, who grew up in Portland and is the National Coordinator of the Friends of the ATC solidarity network.

Erika will provide the historical context of the ATC as an organization of struggle founded in the 1970s by youth of the Sandinista revolutionary front to organize and defend the rights of rural Nicaraguan workers and peoples. She will also talk about how the ATC was a founding organization of the global peasant movement La Vía Campesina that continues to be well known and respected at the international level. This movement coined the term food sovereignty, or the right of peoples to define, create, and defend their own food system.

We would also like this to be a space for others to share experiences in peasant and worker struggle in the Americas and around the world.

Donations will be accepted for the ATC at this event (more info on making a donation at friendsatc.org/donate).

This talk is hosted by the Portland Central America Solidarity Committee. For more information, please contact coreteam@pcasc.net or (503) 236-7916.

Facebook Event link


La Lucha Campesina Nicaragüense e Internacional

Miércoles 23 agosto

6pm Potluck, 6:30pm Presentación
Multnomah Friends Meeting, 4312 SE Stark Street Portland, OR 

Info de transporte (ingles): https://www.quakercloud.org/cloud/multnomah-friends-meeting/pages/parking-transportation

Interpretación español-inglés disponible/ Spanish-English interpretation available

Únete para una charla sobre la Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo (ATC) de Nicaragua por Erika Takeo, quien creció en Portland y es la Coordinadora Nacional de la red de solidaridad Friends of the ATC (Amigxs de la ATC).

Erika va a dar un contexto histórico de la ATC como organización de lucha, fundado en los años 70 por jóvenes del frente revolucionario Sandinista para organizarse y defender los derechos de trabajadores y pueblos del campo. También va a hablar de cómo la ATC fue una organización fundadora del movimiento campesino internacional La Vía Campesina y que es reconocida y respetada al nivel internacional. El movimiento nombró el concepto soberanía alimentaria, o el derechode los pueblos a definir, construir, y defender su propio sistema alimentario.

Queremos que el espacio sea abierto para otros compartir sus experiencias de lucha campesina obrera en las Américasy alrededor del mundo.

Aceptaremos donaciones durante este evento (más información a friendsatc.org/donate)

Portland Central America Solidarity Committee está coordinando este evento. Para más información, contacta coreteam@pcasc.net o (503) 236-7916.

Facebook Event link

El Porvenir: Nicaraguan Community Organizing Today for Clean Water, Sanitation, Health and HygieneEducation, and Reforestation and the Spirit of Ben Linder LIVE at Milagro Theater, Benefit Performance of El Payaso

El Porvenir means "The Future". El Porvenir partners with the people of Nicaragua so that they can build a future for themselves. Clean drinking water is at the core of El Porvenir; sanitation is necessary to ensure that the water is clean. In addition to sustainable water and sanitation projects, they work with rural Nicaraguan communities on health and hygiene education and reforestation. With offices in six regions, El Porvenir has partnered with over 165,000 Nicaraguans to improve their standard of living since 1990.

On September 14th, you are invited to join El Porvenir at The Milagro Theatre for the performance of El Payaso. El Payaso invites the audience to learn the story of an incredible man, Ben Linder, and the extraordinary people with whom he unexpectedly connected.

Doors will open at 5:30. Come enjoy the silent and live auction, food, beverages, and good company. The play will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Tickets include: show and all pre-show activities. Come early to place your bid on our amazing silent auction items. *All donations given at this event will be matched dollar-for-dollar to support the work of El Porvenir.

Seats are limited so get your ticket today! Find out more about El Porvenir and all the details of this event at www.elporvenir.org/events/.

Pinta y Lucha! Paint and Struggle: Understanding post-dictatorial Chile through muralismand radical political militancy. Let's bring it here!

Coming to us in late September or early October:

Camilo Diaz, militant of the Socialism and Freedom Movement, UMLEM (Luchador Ernesto Miranda Muralist Groups) and other social organizations in Chile.

Learn how they built the mass movement we yearn for!

After the US-supported Pinochet dictatorship in Chile came to an end in 1990 after 17 years of violent state repression, Chile transitioned back to democracy on a superficial political level. The constitution written under Pinochet remained unchanged and continued to deepen the neo-liberal economic policies inspired by Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys.

The first generation born post-dictatorship has grown up during a time of increasing national disillusionment with electoral politics, the state and global capitalism. This generation began to organize as high school students and created the massive student movements in 2006. This movement transformed into the nation-wide demand for free higher education when the same generation of politicized students entered the university system in 2011.

One of the many expressions of the Chilean radical left movement is a group of muralists known as the UMLEM.

Their goal is to create social and political change via collective art projects that reclaim public space and document the local political struggles of the community. Their murals are often painted on union halls, universities, neighborhoods and areas of conflict.

If you want to organize or host a presentation, muralism workshop, or painting a mural with Camilo, please contact Kelly Baur at baur.kelly@gmail.com.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Says: We Reject the Hatred and Bigotry of White Supremacists

It has been a tough but invigorating year for my union, CWA. Coming out of the elections, where our union first endorsed Sanders, CWA took on---is taking on---major players in the telecommunications industry, including AT&T. The union has also been leading public campaigns at The New York Times and National Public Radio. CWA has issued the following statement regarding the fascist-led riot in Charlottesville.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Members of the Communications Workers of America reject the vile actions and rhetoric of the white supremacists who paraded their hatred and bigotry this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. These evil actions, which President Trump couldn’t be bothered to condemn, instead offering a weak “violence on many sides” throwaway line, resulted in the tragic death of a young woman and injuries to many more.

Our government’s failure to condemn these evil people emboldens them, and sets us back in our determination to realize our goal of a nation where all people are respected, all have opportunity and all are full participants in our democracy.

CWA members are determined to bring about that nation, and we will continue to work with our allies to ensure that hatred, racism and bigotry have no place in our nation. We also commend the law enforcement officers who stood together to end this demonstration of hate.

Candice Johnson
(202) 434-1168

A Statement from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Regarding Events in Charlottesville and Organizing

We live in ever more perilous times. Please see the DSA statement below on the Nazi violence in Charlottesville

But first some basic organizing tips.

A number of DSA chapters and organizing committees mobilized for the anti-Nazi counter protest in Charlottesville, and in many communities organized vigils yesterday. The way the far right typically reacts to moments like this, particularly given how Trump handled his press conference yesterday, means we can expect an upsurge of right-wing activity across the country.

Stay tuned for more info on immediate next steps today and in the coming days to push back against hate.

Click here to read DSA’s Safety Tips for Events memo - downloadable from our Organizing Blo

Statement of the DSA National Political Committee Interim Steering Committee, August 13, 2017

Yesterday's events in Charlottesville, Virginia are a stark reminder that we must fight for socialism or succumb to the barbarism of white supremacy.

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the white supremacist, racist, anti-Semitic terrorist attack on our comrades in the DSA, the ISO, IWW, Antifa and all others who joined forces in the streets of Charlottesville, VA yesterday.

The final number remains unknown. However, latest reports suggest that at least one person has lost their life and at least 19 injured. Two DSA members were hospitalized and have since been discharged. There are reports that an ISO comrade was also injured. A comrade reportedly from the Industrial Workers of the World lost their life on the front line of the battle against fascism.

In the face of growing racist, anti-Semitic, white supremacist violence, comrades from across the left came together in an incredible display of left unity. They came from many different organizations but spoke with one voice, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and other pro-solidarity slogans. Undaunted, they held the line and showed the fascists that they shall not pass. The day ended with the streets of Charlottesville free of Nazi scum.

We call on the left to build a strong united front against this emboldened right wing. We need to be clear and recognize that white supremacist terrorism will not simply go away if it's ignored. This violent and dangerous movement should never be allowed to have a platform. It should always be fought against by the strength of our united front.

It is important to acknowledge the differing responses of the police to white supremacist marches and terrorism and their reactions to Black Lives Matter protests and marches. Black Lives Matter protests are always met with the worst police brutality and suppression while white supremacist marches are allowed to freely attack counter-protesters on many occasions.

In this way, we plainly see whose side the police are on. From the days of the creation of the modern day police in the 1800s, they were used as a violent force for the physical suppression of a resistant working class, of Black slaves, and indigenous people. Today, their role of social control and oppression remains largely the same.

Trump delivered a meandering and at times incoherent statement earlier this afternoon. During the statement, where at one point he even talked about totally unrelated "record employment", he predictably blamed "all sides" for the violence, as if the left has a centuries-long history of state, systemic, and societal violence against oppressed groups. This is a tired line that the right wing uses to justify its terror. Trump also spoke of the need for "law and order", but we know that this is a signal for more police and vigilante terrorism against Black and Brown communities and the left.

We believe that the terror unleashed on our comrades can be defeated. We also believe that the wider system of racist oppression can be defeated, but only with the ending of the capitalist system which birthed it.

We encourage you to donate to help with the medical costs of comrades injured in the attack. As we mourn for the dead, we must also fight like hell for the living. DSA members across the country are turning out for solidarity actions in their communities. Get in touch with your local chapter to find ways to participate. (There is one forming in Salem--ed.)

Together, we will fight fascism and build the better world we know is possible. Solidarity forever.

Support OSU Classified Workers for a Fair Contract

Thursday, Aug. 17, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Dibble Dell (Green area next to Valley Library, OSU campus)

Lunch, speakers. (please rsvp to Siobhan at burkes@seiu503.org if you can)

The current contract proposal from the state represents a pay cut for most workers, including freezes in steps, .5 COLAs for two years, and an increase in employee share of healthcare costs.

The union's bargaining team and membership are contemplating possible strike action in September.

Please come out and show your support.

DACA Community Forum to be held in Salem

Tuesday, Aug. 15, 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Chemeketa Community College - Salem Campus 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem

August 15, 2017 will be the 5th anniversary of DACA.
Join us for a community forum as we come together to hear the stories of DACA recipients, discuss threats to the program, and strategize around opportunities to defend DACA.
We will have a panel discussion including DACA leaders and advocates to provide updates, followed by a community conversation.
DACA recipients, families, and allies are invited to attend!
This event is co-sponsored by Causa and the Oregon DACA Coalition. FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/249510015556821

Sunday, August 6, 2017

PFLAG Summer Potluck in Albany on August 14

Monday, August 14, 6 PM-8 PM
Bryant Park, 801 Bryant Way SW, Albany

PFLAG Corvallis/Albany (an organization that unites people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies) would like to invite all of you to our summer potluck picnic at Bryant Park in Albany, 800 Bryant Way SW. We will be in the shelter near the Willamette river. Look for our banner and rainbow flags!

Please bring a potluck dish or two to share with the group.

PFLAG  will provide burgers, garden burgers, hot dogs, water, and table service.

This potluck picnic is open to all LGBTQ+ people and their allies. We hope to see lots of you there! Children are welcome too!
So spread the word and please come for an evening of good food and great company!

Questions: call and leave message at 541-782-8829
FB event:  https://www.facebook.com/events/321335574990390/

DACA Community Forum in Salem on August 15

Chemeketa Community College - Salem Campus 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem
Tuesday, Aug. 15, 5:30pm - 7:30pm:

August 15, 2017 will be the 5th anniversary of DACA. Join us for a community forum as we come together to hear the stories of DACA recipients, discuss threats to the program, and strategize around opportunities to defend DACA. We will have a panel discussion including DACA leaders and advocates to provide updates, followed by a community conversation. DACA recipients, families, and allies are invited to attend!

This event is co-sponsored by Causa and the Oregon DACA Coalition.
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/249510015556821

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gorge ICE Resistance fully supports lawsuit filed by county taxpayers

(Current weeks update coming soon!)

Update from The Dalles, Oregon, July 27th, 2017 -
A group of four Oregon taxpayers who live in the Gorge filed suit Friday against Northern Oregon Corrections (NORCOR regional county jail) and Wasco County seeking to prohibit their local publicly-funded jail from supporting the work of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in detaining non-citizens held for civil violations. Since 1987, Oregon law has prohibited local law enforcement from engaging in federal immigration enforcement. The Northern Oregon Regional Correctional facility (NORCOR) is a public jail located in the city of The Dalles, Wasco County and funded by Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties.

“We live in a state [Oregon] that has for 30 years legally upheld values that prohibit law enforcement and correctional institutions from aiding ICE because we want everyone to feel safe accessing public services and institutions,” said Reverend John Boonstra of Gorge Ecumenical Ministries, a group of local clergy who have been visiting detainees regularly at the jail. “Ending the NORCOR contract with ICE would honor our shared values of community safety and keeping all our families together.”

NORCOR, located in The Dalles, Oregon, is a public facility built specifically to house inmates from the four counties that finance it.  In 2014, NORCOR entered into a contract with the federal government to house immigrant detainees, even though Oregon law has prohibited the use of state or local funds on federal immigration enforcement for the last thirty years. By using Oregon resources for federal immigration in violation of Oregon law, the case contends that NORCOR is misusing taxpayer money.  Stephen W. Manning, a lawyer with Immigrant Law Group PC and a member of the Innovation Law Lab, represents several of the taxpayer plaintiffs.

“As long as NORCOR has a contract with ICE, public trust in our local law enforcement is undermined,” said Sarah Kellems, resident of Hood River County. “The mission of NORCOR is to ‘provide enhanced public safety’, however the contract with ICE decreases public safety because our immigrant neighbors feel unsafe accessing public resources and services, including reporting crime.”

Gorge ICE Resistance, a human dignity coalition of more than a dozen local groups throughout the Columbia Gorge, was formed when ICE detainees at NORCOR began a hunger strike calling attention to inhumane conditions inside the jail several months ago. Gorge ICE Resistance held solidarity actions at the jail every day since May 1st, hosted mass community education events about immigration and ICE detainees, and lobbied the NORCOR Board to drop its contract with ICE.  Rallies continue daily to amplify the messages of immigrants held at NORCOR who have asked for improved conditions including microwaves to heat food, access to jobs and programs as well as in person family visits as opposed to the current system of expensive and impersonal video conferencing.

Daily actions: Monday-Friday 5:00pm-6:00pm & Saturday-Sunday 11:00am-12:00pm

For more information in English call Solea 541-980-9242
Para información en Español llame al Amber 541-380-1733

Email us: GorgeIceResistance@gmail.com
Follow us on Facebook: @GorgeIceResistance
Donate to our cause as well as to detainees: www.rop.org/hunger-strike/

In solidarity,

Gorge ICE Resistance

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Defend Academic And Union Freedoms---Defend Dr. Georgette Fleischer!

Last September, Georgette Fleischer, one of the leaders of a long fight to organize contingent faculty at Barnard College, wrote an article for the Labor And Working-Class History Association's LaborOnline detailing the struggle and explaining why the new union, UAW Local 2210, had voted to strike. After winning an NLRB election with 91% support, the union had spent a year trying to get the administration to bargain. The strike threat did the trick. In April, Barnard's contingent faculty union signed its first contract.

But the story didn't end there. In June, Dr. Fleischer learned that she had been fired. After 17 years of teaching in the College’s First-Year Foundation programs, she was out. This is an outrage and the union is asking for support while it fights what looks like a classic case of retaliation for union activism.

There are several ways we can support Dr. Fleischer, most importantly with letters to:

President Sian Beilock
Barnard College
New York, NY 10027

Also, please visit and leave a comment or like the UAW Local 2110 Facebook page, read a helpful article about Dr. Fleischer's case here, and check out this important Facebook entry from last year on the case.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Machado Ventura: Fidel no ha dejado de estar presente junto a este pueblo

El 26 de Julio, fecha trascendental en la historia de Cuba, provoca en nosotros una mezcla de emociones, sentimientos e ideas de compromiso con Fidel y todos aquellos que ofrendaron su sangre por la independencia de nuestro país; y orgullo de ser hijos de este pueblo.

Así expresó José Ramón Machado Ventura, segundo secretario del Comité Central del Partido y vicepresidente de los Consejos de Estado y de Ministros, durante el acto por el Día de la Rebeldía Nacional, ocurrido esta mañana en Pinar del Río.

Fidel no ha dejado de estar presente junto a este pueblo, dispuesto a ser consecuente, en su andar cotidiano, con el concepto de Revolución que él nos legó, dijo.

Añadió que bastan unas pocas cifras para ilustrar cómo ha cambiado Pinar del Río después del triunfo revolucionario.

Antes de 1959 –señaló–, esta provincia contaba con apenas 248 médicos, 25 estomatólogos y 50 enfermeras. Actualmente, sin embargo, cuenta con 626 consultorios de familia, 19 policlínicos, ocho clínicas estomatológicas y cinco hospitales. Además, el personal de enfermería supera los 5 000, y existen 4 577 médicos, 18 veces más que antes de 1959.

Entre los resultados obtenidos por la provincia pinareña, Machado Ventura destacó la reducción de la mortalidad infantil de más de 60 fallecidos por cada 1 000 nacidos vivos antes de la Revolución, a 1,7 en el primer semestre del año en curso, lo cual calificó de extraordinario.

Destacó también la reducción de la tasa de analfabetismo (de 30 % a 0) y de desempleo (de 30 % a 1,3 %).

Aún queda mucho por hacer para el despegue definitivo de la economía cubana, pero en esa difícil batalla estamos convencidos de que Pinar del Río estará a la vanguardia, destacó.

En ese sentido, resaltó los logros de la provincia en el sector tabacalero, el turismo, la industria, entre otros.

Son incontables los pinareños que ayudaron a construir la Revolución –subrayó–. Y esos, son los mismos que hoy derraman su sudor en la construcción de un futuro mejor para la patria.

Durante su intervención, Machado Ventura denunció las acciones injerencistas contra el gobierno constitucional de Nicolás Maduro en Venezuela. Asimismo, enfatizó que Cuba rechaza las insinuaciones realizadas por un medio estadounidense sobre su supuesta participación en mediaciones de diálogo en Venezuela. En ese sentido, reclamó respeto a la autonomía de esa hermana nación y ratificó la invariable solidaridad cubana con ese pueblo y su gobierno.

Reiteró, igualmente, la denuncia del gobierno revolucionario a las nuevas medidas de recrudecimiento del bloqueo.

No traicionaremos jamás la gloria y orgullo infinito de haber servido a la patria y a la Revolución bajo la conducción de Fidel y Raúl, expresó Machado Ventura. Cualquier estrategia de presión fracasará, añadió el segundo secretario del Partido.

“The history of peoples is not measured by the periods of futile subjugation, but by their moments of rebellion”

Speech by Gladys Martínez Verdecia, member of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and first secretary of the Party Provincial Committee in Pinar del Río, during the main act commemorating the 64th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons. Pinar del Río, July 26, 2017, Year 59 of the Revolution.

Compañero Army General, Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers;

Members of the Political Bureau and other officials with us here today;

Moncada combatants; members of Granma expedition, comrades of the clandestine struggle;

Guests from different regions;

Compatriots from throughout Cuba:

“The history of peoples is not measured by the periods of futile subjugation, but by their moments of rebellion,” stated (José Martí) the intellectual author of the Moncada assault, and that ray of light, who in the year of his centenary, on the morning of St. Anne’s Day, illuminated the terrible darkness in which our wounded but rebellious people fought; went down in history as one of the most important acts of rebellion by the Cuban people, given the exemplary patriotism and great altruism of its participants.

The critical situation in the country at that time was masterfully denounced by the intrepid leader of that group of youths, recorded in the historical document which became the program for the revolutionary struggle: “History will absolve me.”

Under these circumstances, characterized by ineffective demagogues and rotating thieves, Pinar del Río had the sad merit of symbolizing almost total abandonment.

Celebrating the national act commemorating the 64th anniversary of the assaults on the Moncada and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Garrisons in our province constitutes a great recognitionof the participation of our people in carrying out every effort undertaken by the Revolution to change this situation. We, the people of Pinar del Río, are extraordinarily happy and grateful for this opportunity.

The decision is also an irrefutable demonstration of confidence, which we will nobly assume, to continue the work of the Revolution in Vueltabajo, just as the Bronze Titan did in his campaign across western Cuba almost 120 years ago; and to pay well-deserved tribute to those who participated in the heroic feat, especially the youth who offered their lives in the actions and days following July 26, 1953, during which they were persecuted, tortured, and savagely massacred.

After learning of the Political Bureau’s decision, the significant efforts we had been in the province to commemorate the city’s 150th anniversary, were redoubled. We were able to make progress toward fulfilling economic objectives planned for the period and the repair or construction of over 200 works thanks to the joy and enthusiasm of worker collectives in every institution and every neighborhood.


We are celebrating National Rebellion Day for the first time without the physical presence of the Comandante en Jefe of the Cuban Revolution, but Fidel is present in the efforts of every collective, which has made possible progress in implementing the Economic and Social Policy Guidelines of the Party and Revolution, up-dated and approved in the Seventh Party Congress, as demonstrated by the province’s positive economic and financial results.

To name just a few of the most significant:

Positive results were seen across indictors which measure efficiency in the education sector, while universities continue to see encouraging results as confirmed in recent institutional assessments.

The province’s infant mortality rate at the end of 2016 was 2.1 for every 1,000 live births, the lowest in the country for the second year in a row, and currently standing at 1.7 thus far this year. Blood is guaranteed for all individuals needing a surgical procedure, while the blood products industry has sufficient raw material thanks to the contribution of our people, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and healthcare system.

Praiseworthy results have also been achieved in different sporting disciplines, above all boxing and basketball. We secured three medals in the most recent edition of the Olympic Games: one gold, one silver and one bronze, and ours was the province which won the most medals for the country.

Net sales of goods and services have increased over the last five years at an annual rate of 6.5%; meaning more offers for the population, although this is still insufficient, as it has not yet been possible to meet 100% of demand.

Production of rice, lumber, eggs, pork, and honey are gradually increasing. Just like this year, at the end of 2016 targets for milk production have been met.

However, the production and distribution of root vegetables at various levels is still insufficient.

Regarding tobacco production, the19,189 ton target set for this year is expected to be met, with the potential to produce more and better quality leaves.

99.56% of houses have electricity, with only 694 remote dwellings waiting to have power installed, while the province has 56 wifi hotspots and 57 cell phone towers.

Although exports have continued to perform well over recent years, there is potential to continue increasing sales of products such as tobacco, vegetable charcoal and derivatives from pine resin, among others.

The housing program has contributed toward restoring the provincial housing stock, however 12,000 homes affected by hurricanes are still waiting to be repaired.

Joint venture mining investments look set to exceed 270 million dollars, while zinc and lead production for export, is set to commence shortly.

Tourism has also continued to grow over the last five years.

Meanwhile, lumber, the manufacture of solar panels, and the capture and processing of tuna and lobster, are making important contributions to the national economy.

Much remains to be done, but there is optimism, reserves, and opportunities in the province to progress and achieve sustainability. We are well aware of the needs of the national economy; we must stick to objective goals and fulfill plans. We must continue to focus efforts on advancing in the food production program and repairs to homes, because the people will measure us not by our efforts, but by our results.

We must continue working to breathe new life into People's Councils, exploit the economy’s real potential, implement initiatives, mobilize the people’s outstanding strength and above all, pay attention to their proposals in order to strengthen the transparency of People’s Power systems, to which the upcoming elections will also contribute, during which delegates with abounding patriotic merits will be chosen.

We are grateful to Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz for thousands of reasons, and will never fail him.

Encouraged by his words when he stated, and I quote:...“You, the people of Pinar del Rio, are the fundamental factor; this province gave one of the best contingents to the initiation of the revolutionary armed struggle before July 26, after July 26, before January 1, and after January 1, yesterday, today, and tomorrow!” (end of quote) and under the guidance of his example, his revolutionary intransigence and unwavering confidence in victory, we will propose new challenge for the future, as compañero Raúl has called on us to do.

To Raúl and the Party we reaffirm that we are here, strong and combative, defending and developing the West. You told us, “Yes, we can!” And we did!

Onward to victory, always, Comandante!

Eternal glory to the heroes and martyrs of Moncada! (Shouts of Glory!)

¡Viva Raúl! (Shouts of Viva!)

Homeland or death!

We will triumph! (Applause)

Monday, July 24, 2017

When detention is used as a means of financial gain, justice cannot be served. Attention Oregon residents: A lawsuit has been filed against NORCOR by local taxpayers!

The following statement comes to us from our friends at the GorgeReSisters group. The Oregonian report on the lawsuit reminds us that a spokeswoman for Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said that it "didn't appear the jail was breaking state law because it wasn't using resources to detect or arrest people" when people held at the NORCOR facility were on hunger strike in May. That was a rather cold-hearted and bumbling thing to say at the time, and it went largely unmarked by people working on immigrant rights and by our opposition. Intended or not, the lawsuit detailed here goes to the issue of power relations in Oregon. Will the Governor and the Attorney General side with immigrant rights groups or with the detention and corrections industries?

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THE DALLES, Ore.—A lawsuit filed today by several Oregon taxpayers is challenging the use of a publicly funded jail to detain non-citizens on behalf of the federal government. For the past 30 years, Oregon law has prohibited local law enforcement to engage in federal immigration enforcement. The Northern Oregon Regional Correction facility (NORCOR) is a public jail located in The Dalles and funded by Hood River, Wasco, Sherman and Gilliam counties. Since 2014, In addition to housing local inmates, NORCOR has been housing people the federal government wants detained for immigration purposes—even though Oregon law expressly prohibits using state or local public funds for federal immigration enforcement.

“NORCOR officials have been violating Oregon law by using taxpayer money to detain people for federal immigration purposes,” said Jessica Campbell, Co-Director of the Rural Organizing Project, a statewide network of over 60 groups organizing for human dignity across Oregon. “This is not only a violation of the law, it’s a violation of the trust Oregonians have in their locally elected officials and their public institutions.” Campbell and others, none of whom are directly involved in the lawsuit, have been advocating for NORCOR to end its program for immigration detention.

NORCOR, located in The Dalles, Oregon, is a public entity constructed in 1999 specifically to house inmates from the four counties that finance it. The construction of the NORCOR facility was financed by taxpayers under a General Obligation bond and more than half of the facility’s annual operating expenses are paid for by taxpayers, including roughly $2 million provided by Wasco County taxpayers.

In 2014, NORCOR officials contracted with the federal government to house people the federal government wants detained due to immigration issues, even though Oregon law has prohibited the use of state or local funds on federal immigration enforcement for three decades. Oregon Governor Kate Brown recently re-affirmed this principle when she declared Oregon a sanctuary state. By using Oregon resources for federal immigration in violation of Oregon law, the case contends that NORCOR is misusing taxpayer money.

“We applaud the courage of those who are challenging NORCOR’s use of local public funds and hope that NORCOR stops detaining people for federal immigration purposes,” said Andrea Williams, the Executive Director of Causa Oregon, a statewide immigrant rights organization. “We must uphold the integrity of Oregon’s 30 year-old law that limits our local resources from being used to enforce questionable federal immigration policies,” explained Williams, who is not involved in the lawsuit.

Lawyers for NORCOR will have an opportunity to respond to the lawsuit before the judge makes a decision.

Stephen W. Manning, a lawyer with Immigrant Law Group PC and a member of the Innovation Law Lab, represents several of the taxpayer plaintiffs.