The Biden-Harris team must be brave enough

The Biden-Harris team must be brave enough

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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The Jamaica Peace Council welcomes the major shift in tone, direction, and posture represented by the new US Administration. The inauguration of the Biden-Harris Administration came at a time when Americans were engulfed in a feeling of hopelessness as the pandemic ravaged the country while leadership seemed to be missing. Symbolising repentance, the Biden-Harris Administration, ahead of the inauguration, held a memorial for the 408,000 citizens who had died from the novel coronavirus pandemic, showing the empathy and respect for human dignity which was previously lacking. This was a fitting backdrop to their immediate initiatives to stem the spread, step up the vaccine campaign, and make negative COVID-19 results mandatory for travel.

Among the other laudable initiatives from a $2-trillion allocation are assistance to qualifying individuals, families, and failing small businesses in order to avert the growing economic depression.

We applaud the shift towards placing a high value on global health and the issue of climate change by rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Paris Climate Accord, while also ending the Keystone XL pipeline project at home.

The new US Administration signalled immediate action to address burning issues for immigrants by overhauling immigration laws to give migrants a sense of hope, inclusivity, and a clear path to citizenship. The lifting of the extreme scrutiny on Muslims is also a positive indication of commitment to diversity and tolerance.

We are heartened by the fact that the Biden-Harris Administration chose “racial justice” as one of its priorities on which to take immediate action. This is a victory for the peaceful Black Lives Matter Movement, which was vilified and distorted by those who wished to suppress truth.

This new Administration seems poised to change the image and role of the USA at home and abroad. In this regard, we urge its officials to act in solidarity with all nations and seize the opportunity to promote regional and world peace by including the following actions among the top priorities:

1) Lift the 61-year-old cruel blockade against Cuba and remove all sanctions against Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua, and other countries, including the ones most recently imposed by he whose name we will not call.

2) Respect the democratic choice of the Venezuelan people by ending the unmentionable president's era of recognition of the discredited and delusional imposter, Juan Guaido and recognise the legitimate and constitutionally elected government of President Nicolas Maduro.

3) Respect the right of all nations to self-determination and control over their natural resources in the interest of their peoples.

4) Promote and model global unity by ending the animosity towards so-called geopolitical rivals, China and Russia, and find common ground in the interest of mankind.

5) Stop supporting genocide in the Middle East and elsewhere.

6) End the bloody wars in Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, and other countries.

7) Dismantle Africom, which is a means of increasing militarisation of the African continent to foment ongoing wars and keep the great African people divided against their own fundamental interests.

8) Cease military support to apartheid Israel, which continues to defy United Nations decisions regarding the Palestinian question; and close the US embassy which was established by the one who we prefer to forget, completely disregarding the global boycott.

9) Recognise the State of Palestine and the right of the Saharoui people (Western Sahara) to a homeland, and support the peaceful settlement of displaced peoples worldwide.

10) Play a positive and harmonious role in the United Nations by showing respect for the contributions and concerns of the community of nations in their deliberations, and end the bullying and threats to withdraw resources when the majority opinions prevail.

11) Stop the flow of illegal weapons to other countries, bearing in mind the impact on rising crime and violence, an issue that is of great concern to all Jamaicans.

12) Cut the military budget and invest the funds in human development programmes.

13) Actively support and advocate reparation to the victims of slave trafficking and enslavement in Africa, the USA, and the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean; and lobby former colonial allies such as the UK, France, Belgium, Portugal, Germany, Spain, and others to pay reparation to African peoples worldwide for the horrific crimes through the slave trade, slavery, and colonialism.

14) Actively support and implement reparation to the native peoples of the Americas and officially replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day.

In addition to the above, we support the demands of US labour unions; student organisations; activists in climate, housing and health matters; and the Black Lives Matter movement for the Biden-Harris Administration to reject “a business as usual” approach to policy and to adopt bold actions to rectify the injustices that are entrenched in American society.

We look forward to the Biden-Harris Administration embodying the true greatness of well-thinking American people of all races and ethnicities through substantial contribution to global partnerships, peaceful cooperation, and solidarity, thereby contributing to creating the world that we know is possible. As the young inauguration poet laureate Amanda Gorman said in The Hill We Climb: “The new dawn balloons as we free it. For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it.”

The Biden-Harris team must be brave enough.

The above was submitted by Jamaica Peace Council. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or jamaicapeacecouncil@gmail.com.


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