Human rights hypocrisy and Cuba

Ted, a friend, had a question about Cuba: "What about that hunger striker who died in prison there."

He didn't know Orlando Zapata was a criminal of the usual type, who had prolonged his jail time by defying rules. He was no political prisoner. His medical care included surgical removal of a brain tumor.

Ted didn't know that Cuba's enemies had mounted a vicious, worldwide media campaign encouraging the hunger strike, one that afterwards painted his death as a human rights violation. Nor did he know about 2,000 murder victims found late last year in a common grave in Colombia, killed and buried by the U.S. supported Colombian Army. In March someone assassinated labor activist Jhonny Hurtado, weeks after he showed the grave to a visiting British delegation. His was the seventh unionist murder since January.

Had the Cuban Army acted likewise, had a Cuban done the fingering, U.S. and European opinion shapers could have called upon massive reserves of venom.

Ted didn't know that many so-called prisoners of conscience in Cuban jails were actually make-believe journalists, working for a handout. At their trials in 2003, video evidence showed almost 75 of them taking money and goods from U.S. officials in Havana.

He didn't know that in 1996 the Helms Burton Law authorized U. S. funding of an internal Cuban opposition. Cuba responded by passing laws identifying foreign mercenaries as criminals. That's what sovereign nations do.

He doesn't know that U.S. government money still flows to Cuba, mostly by way of Miami. The amounts dispensed rose from $3.5 million in 2000 to $20-25 million annually in recent years. A recent State Department "Congressional Notification" suggests the intended purposes of money to be to be dispensed this year: In 2006, investigations showed a lot of the money getting stuck in Miami rather than being sent on to Cuba. CIA money headed for Cuba is not a matter of public record.

Jose Pertierra, Venezuela's lawyer in Washington, recently outlined where the money went this year. The rundown includes: $750,000 "to promote human rights," $250,000 for prisoners' families, $500,000 for prisoner liberation, $900,000 for artists, musicians, and bloggers via Freedom House, $500,000 to change Cuban labor policy, $500,000 towards religions practice by individuals, $2,000,000 for individual economic initiatives, $2,900,000 so the State Department can promote "free expression," $2,500,000 so Creative Associates can widen change-oriented "social networks," $400,000 so the Institute for Sustainable Communities can "identify the new leaders," and $2,600,000 so Development Associates Inc can "widen the support network."

Ted worries about the "Ladies in White." Cuban police, he said, beat up wives and mothers of jailed Cuban prisoners demonstrating on their behalf. In fact, female police officers ushered them into vans and took them home, protecting them from young counter-demonstrators. And the Ladies too are on the take.

He didn't know their benefactor is Santiago Álvarez in Miami, that in 2008 Michael Parmly, head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, served as courier. He didn't know Santiago Álvarez sent arms to Cuba, masterminded bomb attacks, and plotted to kill former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Álvarez is paymaster and protector of Luis Posada, wanted in Venezuela for having a bomb exploded on a Cuban airliner in 1976, killing 73 people

He doesn't know why hyperbolized media accusations on human rights offend Cuba, especially when as in late March they arrived coupled with photos of Posada joining a demonstration in Miami for the Ladies in White. Those accusations flourished earlier as five Cuban men were being railroaded to prison in Florida for defending their country against terrorism. They are the Cuban Five.

Advice to Cuba on the rights of prisoners and their family members has a hollow ring. . For over a decade, U.S. authorities have prevented two Cuban women, Adriana Pérez and Olga Salenueva, from visiting their husbands in U.S. jails, two of the Cuban Five.

U.S. pontification on human rights gains little mileage in Cuba. Repeatedly commentary there returns to U.S. coups and violent repression in Latin America, civilians victimized in U.S. wars with Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, and terrible prisoner abuse recently.

For "a country blockaded, besieged and attacked by the United States," vilification comes naturally, says Jose Pertierra, who explains, "Washington cannot tolerate the island being governed outside the scope of U.S. tutelage. It has been this way for more than fifty years."

For "a country blockaded, besieged and attacked by the United States" vilification comes naturally, says Jose Pertierra, who explains: "Washington cannot tolerate the island being governed outside the scope of U.S. tutelage. It has been this way for more than fifty years".


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  • Thank you for the piece on human rights hypocracy in Cuba. Your work is invaluable for me, especially now. There will be two resolutions calling for lifting travel restrictions to Cuba at the AFT convention. Our union is in Fairfax County Virginia, sponsor the favorable position on Cuba. The other union is one AFT's largest locals; UFT Local 2 in NYC.
    Thank you for the help, represented by a distinguished, people focused collection of your work.

    Posted by Barry Weinstein, 06/27/2010 6:35pm (5 years ago)

  • Yes, the article makes the point of defending Cuba's society from foreign attack. If we get our facts correct it is the U.S.A. and its agents such as Carilles that has made a now hidden, now open war against Cuba since 1959 and onwards. Thousands of Cubans have been killed and injured by the U.S. sponsored terrorism, and Cuba has every right to take defensive actions to stop subversion of its government by Imperialist America.

    Imposing the blockade is a de facto act of aggressive war against the people of Cuba. It is a source of pain and impoverishment of the Cuban society. The Nuremburg Trials (1945) chaired by U.S. Judge Jackson says that the planning and doing of aggressive war is the supreme international crime on earth, as that actuates all other crimes high, low, big and small. He further says that it is the supreme international crime wether Germany does it or the U.S.A. does it.

    The U.S. Constitution is signed on to the Nuremburg Trials, but has long since ceased to obey it as the supreme law of the land as the U.S. Constitution requires.

    This means that the past and present governments of the U.S.A. are in default of their own national and international laws. No blame can be attached to Cuba or the Cuban Five for defending their independence and freedom from foreign aggressors. That is the law from the anti-fascist side.

    The U.S.A. does not have a right to impose puppet governments globally, or to organize to overthrow other peoples governments. 'That also is an anti-fascist covenant called the 'Geneva Conventions of War', signed on to by the U.S.A. and now is defaulted by the past and present governments of the U.S. Imperialists.

    Cuba has a society that favours socialism, that is everyone has work, and everyone has single payer comprehensive medicare, as well as free education.

    Any poverty is a result of the Cuban Peoples collective agreement to send tens of thousands of teachers and doctors to the former colonial countries throughout Latin America, for they know that literacy, and health causes a rising of the living conditions, which only bodes well for the future generations of Cubans. This act is selflessness, and proletarian internationalism for which the peoples of Latin America are happy and joyous of the Cuba Si policy of present day socialism.

    With new knowlege and inspiration the ALBA organization for the independence of Latin America from foreign dictate and unjust rule, shows a path towards liberation. For that the world's people are grateful and appreciative.

    It ends the gunboat diplomacy of the Yanki Imperialist colonlialist sytem.

    Posted by john, 04/22/2010 2:58am (6 years ago)

  • Sorry, but I disagree with this article. The "facts" presented here are the standard propaganda found in Granma.

    American political prisoner George Jackson was also incarcerated for a minor criminal infraction. However, in prison he gained class and race consciousness and became a leader in the struggle for prisoner rights and freedom for political prisoners. Are you saying that Orlando Zapata could not possibly have gained a political consciousness while in prison? And who is it that whips up the frenzy against the Ladies in White? I agree with you on the issue of the Cuban Five, but feel that you cannot be serious about the rest your assertions.

    What you enjoy here as a right to political expression, (while not perfect) would not be tolerated in Cuba, and I think you know that.

    Posted by pinkjohn, 04/21/2010 9:44pm (6 years ago)

  • Is easy for you to come out with this article living in a free country,why don't you move to Cuba,live like a regular citizen for a while and then write another article.

    Posted by humberto, 04/20/2010 12:14pm (6 years ago)

  • But at least you'd agree that Cuba should allow the Red Cross and the United Nations to visit Cuban prisons, no?

    Is there ANYTHING that you would suggest your Cuban brethren do that might improve the human rights of Cubans? Wouldn't ring "hollow" to them.

    Posted by jsb, 04/20/2010 9:04am (6 years ago)

  • Great, great article! Very informative and well written. Good pace too with the constant Ted character.

    Dispite what the readers with a pre-determined opinion of Cuba (whether they're Cubans or not, whether they're to the right or to the left) say or try to weakly point out, this is a good story about the single-sided media coverage that most of the US news agencies report on Cuba.

    We need to see all sides of the picture and not just go, "yea, Castro, the devil of the Caribbean, yea, communism, yea, poverty is there because of communism, etc." and other dumb jumps of intellectual points.

    Posted by Luis Rivas, 04/20/2010 12:42am (6 years ago)

  • This is just PCC propaganda. it is a literal translation of the message from the Cuban Gov. you like Cuba so much? why don't you move there with all your family and live like a normal Cuban does?
    It is very easy to become a propagandist of a totalitarian regime from the freedom this democratic society offers.

    Posted by cuban1959, 04/20/2010 12:21am (6 years ago)

  • I don't really know where to start on this hypocrisy as you paint with a wide brush here my friend. To say that all the political prisiners and everyone that is against the Cuban government is on the US payroll is beyond stupid. I'll have to make sure and let my family know that they are free to speak out against Castro and NOT worry about their rights as you've made it perfectly clear that they are better off than we are in the US. Won't they be happy to hear that as they are under the misguided thought that they can't speak out and try to make changes in Cuba. I will say that the US needs to stop the embargo but as Hillary Clinton pointed out "the Castros don't want that and they will do everything possible to stop the lifting of the embargo". By lifting the embargo we take away their one excuse for the ruins that is Cuba since they spend every day blaming the US and speak of the "threat" of the US invading Cuba as a means to keep their pathetic revolution alive. Tell your friend Ted to give me a call as I think I can give him some real life Cuban experiences and truth.

    Posted by Ana Elena, 04/19/2010 7:58pm (6 years ago)

  • excellent article

    Posted by javier, 04/19/2010 6:32pm (6 years ago)

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