Friday, December 4, 2015

Cuban human rights defender Frank Calzon physically prevented from providing information at Cuba Summit hosted by The Economist

12 months later and Castro-lite thuggish censorship on display in Washington D.C.

Activist roughed up today at Cuba Summit hosted by The Economist
The Economist, the influential British magazine, does not want people to read this report, which was published by the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies. The Economist held a conference at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington on December 3rd. The event’s attendants read like a who’s who of businesses wanting to have the United States lift its trade embargo against the Cuban regime.

Frank Calzon, Executive Director at the Center for a Free Cuba, has distributed similar reports at numerous conferences at universities, think tanks, and hotels. Calzon, a Cuban native is regularly featured in such national newspapers as the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has appeared on such television broadcasts as The News Hour on PBS and on several MSNBC, CNN, and FOX programs. He also has testified before congressional committees and been a guest speaker at more than 30 universities in the United States and abroad. In the last 40 years, Frank has been expelled from three events at the request of Cuban diplomats present. In the United States, as long as there is no disruption and one conducts themselves civilly, the distribution of academic reports are usually welcomed.

At the Four Seasons, Frank was first told he would be allowed to make available the report outside the conference room during one of their breaks. Later, he was told they would call the police to arrest him if he did not leave. The police came and did not arrest him.

An Administration official attending the conference offered to make the report available to the participants. Mr. Calzon went home. But The Economist, perhaps trying to accommodate the Cuban government (as a Professor of the University of Havana spoke at the conference), used heavy-handed methods which are most common in Havana.

Frank Calzon is a human rights defender who has spoken before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva Switzerland on several occasions. He was physically assaulted by a Cuban diplomat in 2004 after the Castro regime lost a key human rights vote, in part, thanks to Calzon's advocacy work. Eleven years later he continues to speak out for human rights in Cuba and on October 29, 2015 Frank gave a presentation on the human rights situation in Cuba that is available below.

Anyone interested in calling attention to these heavy handed tactics and/or engaging in a serious debate can contact The Economist at Challenge them to open its pages to a discussion of the subject beyond the obvious public relations goals of its Cuba Summit Conference. My own response to this outrage is to boycott The Economist and the Four Seasons Hotel.

1 comment:

  1. There might have been a special reason why the Economist chose to prevent Frank Calzon from presenting the report. Maybe one of the staff of the Economist didn't like some of the language of the report that Calzon was intending to present, including the characterization of the military men in Cuba's state-owned companies as forming a sort of oligarchy. Presumably, participants at the meeting would have frankly disagreed with Calzon's belief that Raul Castro's military men constitute an economic oligarchy no different from Russian robber barons who came of age in the 1990s, since they know that all state enterprises in Cuba dominated by FAR officers have never been privatized, unlike the case of Russia where former KGB officers gave up teir positions in the Russian security forces after taking control of Russian enterprises.