Letters - FRFI 280, February/March 2021

Haiti – the people fight back

Over the past five years almost the entire population of Haiti has been protesting against the president, asking him to leave power: Jovenel Moïse is the most contested president in our history, a US marionette with the unconditional support of the US administration – which really makes the decisions and rules Haiti. This has meant our government voted, for the second time, on a resolution that does not recognise Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela. 

We want to see Moïse leave the Haitian palace. On 20 January, hundreds of people marched through Port au Prince, the capital, towards the US embassy, demanding his resignation. The national police brutally stopped the protest – only a few people reached the embassy to deliver their message. Next day, at another protest, Senator Nenel Cassy and other opposition members were arrested and held in custody.

The country is living its worst moments: kidnapping, murdering, women being raped at every time during the day. The future of this country is too painful to imagine. In line with the Haitian constitution Moïse has said his five-year mandate will end on 7 February 2021.  We will make sure to free the Haitian palace from Moïse.

Jean Clebert Eloius

Haiti


Irish councillors request help from Cuban doctors to fight Covid-19

On 22 January, three Derry City and Strabane Councillors, Gary Donnelly, Paul Gallagher and Sean Carr, submitted the following proposal to a special council meeting: ‘That this council immediately contact the Cuban government and seek assistance from the Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade in efforts to combat the crisis caused by Covid-19 in the Derry City & Strabane District Council area.’ On 28 January this motion was passed unanimously. 

This proposal was not only described as necessary to aid community efforts in combating the crisis caused by Covid, but is also seen as an alternative to former DUP leader and current Health Minister Robin Swan’s announcement that the British military will be deployed across the North to assist nursing staff treating coronavirus patients. Sinn Fein’s leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill, has indicated that she will support the use of British military personnel in the battle against the virus.

Irish Republicans have pointed out that the use of the British military in combating Covid-19 is not about improving the state’s response to Covid or about helping a neglected health system on the brink of collapse due to years of British underfunding. Instead, it is a political attempt to rehabilitate the British military’s image and normalise their presence in the occupied North of Ireland. 

The Cuban Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade has made headline news across the globe in recent years, for their selfless medical internationalism across Latin America, Africa, Asia and even Europe where they were sent to help the Italian people at the beginning of the Covid crisis. 

Ruby Morris

Glasgow


Praise for FRFI 279

As usual, I have read all the articles in the latest issue of FRFI (279) … in these years the paper has kept me company, with the news from Britain and all around the world, the interesting analysis about different matters, and, to complete the picture, helping me to improve my knowledge of English (a bit, just a bit…).

In our small high security division, separated from the rest of the prison, coronavirus has not presented itself yet. Generally, in the ‘second wave’ we have been allowed some visits, though there’s been more deaths… For nine months there were no visits at all; now one-hour visits are possible twice a month. We can telephone three times a week – 10 minutes per call, as usual; and a call via WhatsApp for 20 minutes each week. Before Covid we had one call a week for ten minutes, but had one visit a week. I hope that these higher number of calls will remain after the pandemic.

Wishes for a new, better (and necessary) world!

Stefano 

Italy


Covid travel failure

As an island nation, the United Kingdom had a greater opportunity than most to seal the borders and protects its people from coronavirus. The incompetence of the British government can be seen most blatantly in its opposing narratives on travel. While domestic lockdown restrictions on travel are now enforceable by the police for non-essential journeys, culminating in near-empty roads, by contrast, the skies are still full of travellers, arriving from nearly every destination in the world, into London and beyond.

While the government is finally demanding negative Covid-19 tests on all arriving passengers, it has still not developed a workable track and trace system, nor effective monitoring for all those charged with self-quarantine for up to ten days on arrival. While the government delays the full implementation of an effective lockdown and continues to allow a deadly mutated variant Covid strain to ravage through society, the public perception can only be one of abysmal failure, when it comes to this government’s handling of the pandemic.

The vaccine is not a cure. While the skies remain open and the channel tunnel and ports operational for non-essential travel, this pandemic will not come under control in the United Kingdom.

Fra Hughes 

Ireland


Class War

Covid has laid bare the true nature of our society as the working class are called to carry on working while the ruling elite and their middle-class cohorts sit in splendid isolation. Surely every worker who still gets up each morning to trudge to work on public transport realises that their jobs are the real necessary jobs and not those of some high-flyer in the City.

Capitalism is buckling under its own contradictions and will sooner or later throw off its outer shell of democracy. The working class need to come together and organise to take back what they have built over the generations. The ruling elites with the help of their billionaire social media buddies are moving to suppress freedom of speech, while some on the liberal left seem to be cheerleading this repression with the mistaken belief that they are suppressing the right.

Learn from history that this repression will eventually be used against the real enemies of capitalism – the revolutionary working class. History shows there is certainly a working class element that gets caught up in the right, but it’s the collapsing middle class that will embrace fascism to attack a rising revolutionary working class.

The class war is already being fought but unfortunately at the moment it’s waged against us, the workers. Remember we are the workers and we can build a new and better society.

Sean Gay (Carpenter) 

London


In mourning for Diego Maradona

Many thanks for the latest FRFI – superb stuff. Billy Rapley’s tribute to Diego Maradona is the best I have seen so far. The book that my friend Louis and myself are working on has a new introduction and it is a tribute to El Diego. Off-hand I can only think of three sports people who totally transcend sports: Mohammed Ali, Teófilo Stevenson and El Diego; and none anywhere that have inspired such devotion as El Diego. The outpouring of grief for Diego I can only compare to that for Fidel.

Mike Webber

Aylesbury 


Greetings from US prison

Hi and ho-ho-ho and let me send all of you warm, healthy and hopeful Red Season’s Greetings! Here in these Covid times, we in this prison, like all federal US prisons, have been on a lockdown since March. But the struggle clearly goes on. And yes, FRFI analyses are, as always, solid as well as looked at by many men here. So, continue your good work, we have much struggle ahead. Black Lives Matter.

Jaan Laaman, US

Jaan Laaman is a political prisoner serving a 53-year sentence for a series of bombings of US government buildings, carried out by the United Freedom Front, an armed, anti-imperialist group which was active in the 1980s. Please send him solidarity greetings, cards and letters: 

Jaan Laaman #10372-016, USP McCreary, PO Box 3000, Pine Knot, KY 42635