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Home arrow American Politics arrow Cuban Human Rights Organization Outraged over Pact with the U.S.? by Steve Jonas
Cuban Human Rights Organization Outraged over Pact with the U.S.? by Steve Jonas PDF Print E-mail
January 7, 2015

Author’s Note:  The “Human Rights Organization of Cuba,” whose “statement” is presented below, is a fictional body.  Of course, the “statement” is itself fictional (except that it is of course, in its content based upon fact).

Following the joint announcement by the offices of the Presidents of Cuba and the United States of the intention to re-establish diplomatic relations and in the meantime ease joint restrictions on travel, cultural exchanges, certain types of commercial relationships, etc., while jointly releasing/exchanging several high-profile prisoners, a wide variety of anti-Cuban US organizations, politicians, and individuals went nuts over that announcement. 

They cited “human rights violations” on the part of the Cuban government (mainly dealing with civil liberties, and the supposed “rights” of those who would violently overthrow the Cuban Revolution) as THE reason why there never should or could be normal relations established between the two countries. 

Sen. Marco Rubio, the son of “persons who fled dictatorship in Cuba” is a prime example of this sort of thinking.  (Somehow, it happens that Sen. Rubio never happens to mention that the Cuban dictatorship they fled was that of the U.S.-supported Fulgencio Batista, and that they “fled” for purely economic reasons. The family saw greener pastures elsewhere. But that is another story.)

Suppose in Cuba there were something like an “ODHC” (the “Human Rights Organization of Cuba”), concerned with human rights violations — in the United States.  And then who knows, if there were such a one, they might issue the following (totally fictional) blistering attack on President Castro for his move towards normalization.  For this space, this is how such a statement would read in English.

“We, the Human Rights Organization of Cuba, are outraged by the recently announced joint decision by our President and President Obama of the United States to move towards a normalization of relations between our two countries.  Of course, one could point out that until the trade embargo imposed by the United States in 1961, put into law by the U.S. Congress in 1992 and then further expanded by President Clinton in 1999, is lifted, there can be no true “normalization.” 

But even before that were to occur, we must take exception to the whole idea of our nation entering into such a series of agreements with the greatest violator of human rights on the face of the Earth.

Ion Antolin Llorente, La Habana (2012).
“It should be noted that Rightists in both major U.S. political parties (which are actually one party with two faces) have criticized President Obama for engaging in this significant change in the relationship between our two nations, based on what they claim is Cuba’s record on human rights.  However, all they can refer to is our nation’s acting to protect itself against both open and covert allies of the United States who would overthrow our Revolution if they could.  We, on the other hand, can point to a long record of human rights violations by the United States, both domestic and foreign, which is second to none, and which have nothing to do with any planned or hoped for attempts to overthrow the U.S. government.  This list is far from complete.  It should be noted that we are here briefly reporting what we regard only as the principal ones.

“1. Perhaps the greatest one is the manner in which the United States, at both the governmental and non-governmental levels, treats its citizens of color — African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans are the principal groups here, in segregation, especially in housing, in educational disparities, in employment opportunity, in imprisonment, and of course, in a series of incidents, highlighted recently but representing what the Yankees call “business as usual,” illustrating how their young males are routinely treated by the police.  The originally Southern Doctrine of White Supremacy now covers the nation as a whole.

“2. The extent that one of the two leading political parties can manage it, women are routinely discriminated against in terms of abortion and contraceptive rights, employment opportunities, and equal pay for equal work.

“3. Until very recently, one of the two leading political parties has made discrimination against the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community a central plank in their party’s national and state platforms.  Although there have been major changes in the U.S. on these issues in recent years, the Party is still fighting a strong rear-guard action against them.  The Republican Party is still fighting hard to allow discrimination in employment based on “religious beliefs” that tries, without success, to hide the policy’s blatant homophobia.

“4. To the extent that class divisions and concentration of wealth and income can be characterized as human rights issues, among the advanced capitalist countries, the United States has one of the widest gaps on both measures, between the wealthy and everyone else.

“5. The right to vote is, in the United States, presented by the ruling class itself as perhaps the most basic of the civil rights.  Nevertheless, the Right-wing in the United States, sometimes Democratic, sometimes Republican, has always attempted to deprive working people, especially those of color, and women, of their right to vote.  In the aftermath of the U.S. Civil War, the first objective of the then newly formed Ku Klux Klan, was to prevent the newly freed slaves form voting, by the use of violence.  This was the policy of the Democratic Party in the South until the explosion of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.  Then, first under President Nixon, the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy” was implemented.

In its contemporary form, the Republican party is using its control of an increasing number of state governments, in part through changing the borders of the electoral districts to concentrate Democratic voters in a small number of them (quaintly called “Gerrymandering”), and in part by requiring “Voter IDs” which are for the most part made very difficult and relatively expensive to obtain, especially by students, non-whites and the elderly, the Republican  Party is engaged in an increasingly effective campaign to sharply limit voting rights among those groups in society which are less likely to vote for them.

“6. Then there is money in politics.  Increasingly, with the cooperation of the Republican Supreme Court and politicians of both major parties, at both the Federal and State levels, an increasing number of government offices are simply bought and sold.  This practice certainly violates the human right, in what is supposed to be a democracy, to have truly representative government.

“7. One could go into great detail about the fact that the United States does not guarantee the basic right to health care for all of its citizens, as every other developed capitalist country, to say nothing of our own, does.  We will not, here.

“8. Finally, for this list we come to the use of torture as an official policy of the U.S. government.  There can be no worse violation of human rights than engaging in this medieval practice on a regular basis, with the support of the highest levels of government.  It happens that its use violates Article VI of the United States’ own Constitution, which supposedly makes both the Geneva Agreements and the United Nation Convention against torture part of its “supreme law of the land.”  For Cuba, this practice is especially egregious since so much of it occurred on Cuban soil in the so-called ‘Guantanamo Bay Naval Base,’ that was stolen from our nation under an unequal lease originally negotiated in 1903.
“Unfortunately, this list could go on and on.  In the meantime, we are here expressing our outrage that our government, led by the Communist Party of Cuba, would make such a deal with a nation that some call ‘The Great Satan,’ without at least raising with it its abominable record on the matters of human rights, that go back to its founding as a nation in which perhaps the most inhuman practice of all (other than genocide, of which — see its treatment of its native-American population through the 19th century — the U.S. is, of course, not innocent), that is holding certain persons in slavery, was embedded in its original Constitution.”

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