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Friday, 15 June 2012

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Cuba in the new world order

The customarily warm ties between Cuba and Sri Lanka which have stood the test of time were further consolidated last March when Cuba voted against the anti-Sri Lanka resolution which was moved at the UN Human Rights Council sessions by the West. Through such staunch support, Cuba proved that Sri Lanka could always count on Cuba to stand by her.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s current official visit to Cuba is a restatement of the esteem in which Cuba is held by Sri Lanka. It is also an indication that Sri Lanka is intending to increasingly strengthen her ties with this great ally. The President’s visit comes at a time when Latin America is proving an up-and-coming region of the world, from the economic dynamism viewpoint. There is Brazil, for instance, which President Rajapaksa would be visiting next, which has emerged as one of the largest and strongest economies of the world.

There is Nicaragua, which, besides being oil rich, is proving an effective counter-weight to hegemonic influences in Central and South America.

What is noteworthy about Sri Lanka’s relations with Cuba is that over the years, both countries have made common cause against the iniquities of the prevailing international political and economic orders. This was particularly true of the Cold War years when the Third World considered it opportune to muster its influence and strength on the basis of the principle of Non-alignment.

It needs to be remembered that both Cuba and Sri Lanka have been vibrant members of the Non-aligned Movement. In fact, Latin America has been at the heart of the problem of colonialism and many countries of the region have figured prominently in anti-imperialist struggles and proved pivotal in efforts to bring political, economic and cultural independence to the Third World.

Something quite remarkable about Cuba is that she has remained true to her political convictions over the decades. It is her commitment to the cause of the less powerful of the world, which led her to support Sri Lanka in the latter’s efforts to fight off Western political pressure over what has been termed as accountability issues. While many a state has swum with popular currents, such as, unmanaged economic liberalization and consumerism, Cuba has retained the purity of some of her political beliefs and time is proving that she is right.

One cannot say that the tables have been turned completely against the Western hegemonic powers. True, Europe has gone into a steep decline in particularly economic terms, currently, but for the developing world, not much has changed. The predominant powers of the West continue to shape the political, economic and cultural contours of the world, and it would be in the interests of the developing countries for the latter to remain united in the face of these adverse international currents.

It could be said that in these circumstances, Cuba has acted with deep foresight. While almost all else have made compromises with the ills of our age, she has considered it advisable to stick to her essential convictions. Time has proved that she was right because the attempts at subjugating the less powerful by the oppressive powers of the current international system are continuing. If this were not so, post conflict Sri Lanka would not be facing the challenges she is currently confronting.

Therefore, the developing countries need to come together strongly once again to protect their vital interests. This does not mean that they should be in a confrontational mode with the rest of the world but must be keenly conscious of the need to protect their integrity and sovereignty.

This policy position should go along with a pragmatic economic policy which would enable the developing world to survive in a fiercely competitive international economic environment.

Besides, the developing countries cannot afford to cultivate narrow chauvinistic tendencies. They should continue to relate to the outside world in a spirit of friendliness but must be deeply conscious of the need to uphold and safeguard their sovereign rights. However, this does not rule out relating to the world in a spirit of cooperation and good will.

Tagore and Indo-Lanka cultural links

When we refer to the interaction of India and Sri Lanka in whatever field, we assume that India and Sri Lanka are two separate countries, but there was a time in the distant past when India and Sri Lanka were a single land mass. Even today after the land mass has split, the distance between India and Sri Lanka is only 22 miles. That is the full distance of the Palk Strait.

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The Lotus Heart

The Jubilee Celebration

On a busy London street Ravi wheeled in a rush. He could not wait to get home. He was a bit irritated when the cashier took time to complete the transaction. Come on, credit cards are almost becoming history now. But technical errors do not cease to exist. He was enjoying what he had bought: ribbons, different varieties of Union Jack, balloons and many more decorative things. He was on cloud nine, of course. Things are going smoothly for the celebration. Queen’s Jubilee celebration.

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Global warming and tectonic plate movement - Part II:

Transit of Venus and Earth’s well-being

Every year has its own share of both natural and man-made or anthropogenic disasters and turbulence. Do the recorded Transits of Venus show any outstanding traumatic or catastrophic events, within a short period before or after its occurrence like the 2004 Tsunami?,

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