Angola cease-fire

Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has told Portugal’s foreign minister that the Angolan government wants to revive the cease-fire and peace process with the anti-government UNITA forces following the reported death of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.

UNITA, which has waged civil war against the government since Angola’s independence from Portugal in 1975, was backed for many years by apartheid South Africa and the United States.

The government earlier issued a statement urging UNITA’s supporters to “reconsider their options and reintegrate themselves into Angolan society so as to contribute to the consolidation of democracy and national reconciliation.”

President Dos Santos traveled to Portugal and was to visit the U.S. this week to discuss the government’s proposals for ending the civil war, which has cost at least half a million lives.

A UNITA representative said they were “deeply shaken” by Savimbi’s death but declared that they would not abandon their war against the government.

International Women’s Day

On the eve of International Women’s Day 2002, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) issued a statement of solidarity with the struggles of women in all countries, and with the struggle for women’s rights as workers, mothers and citizens.

The WFTU noted that little progress has been made on women’s equality since the UN Conference on women’s rights in Beijing seven years ago. “Real progress … is blocked by the cuts in social budgets and austerity programs imposed by the neo-liberal policies dictated by the IMF, World Bank and the global banking and finance cartels,” the WFTU said.

“As recession and lack of economic growth affect the global economy, women are losing jobs in hundreds of thousands. Cuts in social budgets adversely affect women both directly and indirectly.”

Noting that the new millenium is opening with a new round of the arms race and record military expenditures, the WFTU reiterated that none of humanity’s problems can be solved through war and violence. “Only through peace and international cooperation can the people’s interests be defended and social progress achieved,” it said.

Conspiracy to assassinate Zimbabwe’s president

A 60-minute film shown on Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) TV last week exposed a conspiracy by the leader of Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai to assassinate President Robert Mugabe before the March elections.

Tsvangirai had approached the Canadian political consulting firm, Dickens and Madsen, and arranged to pay them almost a million dollars on completion of the assassination. However, the firm, which had no intention to carry out the proposed assassination, notified President Mugabe instead. It was also offered lucrative contracts with a new government to be formed by Tsvangirai after Mugabe was “eliminated.”

The secretly filmed discussion was part of the SBS “Dateline” program, which also featured an interview with Mugabe, in which he explained the reasons for Zimbabwe’s land reform and for the efforts of the British and other western governments to demonize him.

Russian officers criticize Putin

A group of 20 retired Russian generals and admirals have written a sharply critical open letter to President Vladimir Putin, attacking his reforms and charging him with pursuing the same ruinous policies as his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. The letter, published in the Communist daily Sovietskaya Rossiya, accuses Putin of betraying voters who elected him two years ago following Yeltsin’s sudden resignation.

The letter attacked Putin for allowing U.S. forces to be based in Central Asia as part of the war on terrorism. “These bases are not a strike against bin Laden, but in reality against Russia’s interests,” they said. The letter concluded with a call for a referendum on reinstating socialism and the planned economy.

Colombian Communists fight for peace

Calling it a something “that was coming for some time” the Colombian Communist Party (CCP) criticized the government of Andres Pastrana for breaking off peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and said that it was a “criminal decision.”

President Pastrana’s administration used the capture of an airplane and the detention of a senator as the excuse to end negotiations. The CCP said in a press release Feb. 21 that the detaining of Sen. Gechem Turbay was serious it “doesn’t justify the breaking off of a process vital importance for the future of our country.”

The CCP declared that Pastrana’s actions were “imposed by the pressure of the Bush administration’s so-called ‘war on terrorism.’” They also accused the president of conceding to “the offensive of the ultra right and militarism.”

They said that the return to war hid “a deeper economic, social and moral crisis of the reactionary regime.”

The so-called “anti-terrorist measures” gives way to “repression, the criminalization of social protest and of the democratic opposition,” the CCP leadership stated.

The CCP is demanding an investigation to determine what truly led to the failure of the Colombian peace process.