Monday, February 27, 2017

Cost of dictatorship and indifference: Cuban political prisoner Hamell Santiago Más Hernández died on February 24, 2017

As we observe martyrs who died 21 years ago on February 24th and 7 years ago on February 23rd the Castro regime is still creating new ones such as Hamell Santiago Mas Hernández.

Hamell Santiago Más Hernández age 45 died in a Cuban prison on February 24, 2017
 Hamell Santiago Más Hernández, a political prisoner and an activist of the Unión Patriótica de Cuba (Unpacu), died on Friday, February 24, 2017 in the Combinado del Este prison located in Havana. Jose Daniel Ferrer over twitter charged that ill treatment and torture had led to Hamell's untimely death.
In the midst of observing the anniversaries of two grave injustices in Cuba last week ( the death of prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo on February 23, 2010 after years of torture, beatings and ill treatment and the February 24, 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shoot down when the Castro brothers ordered the destruction of two civilian planes in international air space killing Carlos Costa, Pablo Morales, Mario De La Peña and Armando Alejandre Jr. Hamell's passing got minimum media coverage.

Meanwhile as Latin American democrats were barred from entering Cuba because of their solidarity with Cuban democrats shamefully American members of Congress remained publicly silent about  these human rights concerns and focused on engaging in commerce with the Castro regime and military that controls the national economy of Cuba. Both The Washington Post and National Review called them on this lack of solidarity with democrats and appeasement with a communist dictatorship.

But what of Hamell Santiago and his family? Another name added to the long list of victims of the Castro dictatorship that too many in the world ignore in order to pursue their business deals with his killers. Sadly this is not unique to Cuba but has also been repeated in China, Vietnam, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere to the detriment of international human rights standards over the past 15 years.

Despite the claims of some apologists for the opening to the Castro regime, Amnesty International in its 2017 country report does not report advances on human rights and notes that Cuba is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that does not allow them to visit.

That should not come as a surprise. If they Castro regime can't even tolerate a human rights award ceremony in a private home then how would they tolerate human rights monitoring in their repressive island prison?

It also means that there will be more Hamell Santiagos, Orlando Zapatas, Pedro Luis Boitels, and Oswaldo Payás that is not only the price of dictatorship but also of the indifference of too many of the world's democracies.

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