Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hypocrisy and the UN Campaign to End Violence Against Women

The hope of impunity is the greatest inducement to do wrong. - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Julieta Venegas in Havana, Cuba
The Cuban government is one of the most anti-woman regimes on the planet. Women who speak out and exercise their fundamental rights are regularly physically assaulted and sometimes die under
suspicious circumstances.

Laura Pollan (left) and Yris Perez Aguilera (right) both repeatedly badly beaten by State Security
 Cuban human rights defender Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera has been the victim of numerous brutal beatings by the Cuban dictatorship's state security agents and the pictures above demonstrates a consequence of the attacks. On at least four occasions on this blog the attacks have been reported on: November 4, 2011, September 18, 2011, September 28, 2011, June 20, 2011 and May 26, 2011. In addition the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights issued a precautionary measure.

Lump on back Yris Perez Aguilera's head is produce of repeated beatings
 This violence has gone on for decades and those who are sensitive to repression against women should be outraged by what takes place in Cuba. Instead they are silent and the violence continues.  Laura Pollan died following years of physical assaults at the hands of state security that included fractures which led her to wearing a cast.

Photo of Maria Elena around time of attack
 On November 19, 1991 the Cuban poet Mariela Elena Cruz Varela, who peacefully dissented asking for nonviolent change, was assaulted by a mob organized by the dictatorship who tried to force feed the poet her own words. She wrote about the assault in her book, Dios en las cárceles cubanas
(God in the Cuban jails):
They broke my mouth trying to make me swallow the leaflets that members of my group had distributed throughout Havana. Afterwards I spent three days brutally besieged, imprisoned in my own home with my two children, with no water, no electricity, no food, no cigarettes. We heard what the huge speakers never stopped amplifying, allegorical songs to the country, the necessary punishment of traitors, and anyone who wanted to could shout at me, organized, of course, the slogans they pleased: Comrade worm, we are going to execute you by firing squad!.
 The previous outrage came to mind when I read that a Cuban state security official had shoved sheets of petition signature "For Another Cuba" into the mouth of pro-democracy activist, Yuri Martinez. The failure of the United Nations and popular figures such as Julieta Venegas to denounce these outrages only encourages their repetition with impunity.

A culture of impunity involves self-censorship and submitting to intimidation and this is precisely what the dictatorship in Cuba has achieved through a sophisticated apparatus of repression that projects beyond Cuba into the international community.

Nevertheless, when the subject is violence against women, the plight of Cuban women is ignored. The latest to engage in this shameful practice is Julieta Venegas and worse yet it was backed by the United Nations and their campaign to End Violence Against Women, UNiTE. 

The day before the concert in Cuba the following women were beaten and arrested for trying to attend Mass.

1. Maria Cristina Labrada Barona
2. Anisley Pavón Goberna
3. Aimé Moya Montes de Oca
4. Lisandra Farray Rodríguez
5. Sandra Rodríguez Gatorno
6. Marbelis González Reyes
7. Lis Eladia Quiñones González
8. Raquel Rodríguez Morejón
9. Dianelis Rodríguez Morejón
10. Olga Lidia Torres Iglesias
11. Noralis Martín Hernández
12. Romelia Piña González
13. Danay  Mendiola Duquesne
14. Liliana Campo Bruzon
15.Bertha Guerrero Segura
16. Rosa María Naranjo Nieves

Not a word of this act of violence against women was mentioned at a concert that was supposedly aimed to campaign for the end of violence against women. There is a word for this type of behavior and it is hypocrisy.  Unfortunately it is both a word and practice that the United Nations is all too familiar with.  Hopefully Julieta Venegas is not joining the crowd of artists that legitimize despots. That would be a pity because I do like her music. Besides that, she is playing to a regime that systematically censors music.

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