Thursday, February 23, 2017

#PayaPrize: Castro regime reveals its totalitarian and repressive nature before region's democrats

Our interest is to bring Cuba closer to Inter-American values and principles and expand its achievements in science, health and education. - Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the OAS

Award ceremony in Havana at 11:00am this morning
At 11:00am with her home surrounded by Cuban State Security and with the names of Mr. Luis Almagro and Ms Mariana Aylwin taped to two empty chairs Rosa Maria Payá and a small group of activists who had managed to evade the security cordon carried out the award ceremony. At the same time in Miami, Ofelia Acevedo and other Cuba Decides activists held a press conference to update what had been going on and she explained to The Miami Herald: “We have seen their level of intolerance, arrogance and contempt for others,” she said. “They feel attacked because other personalities in the world recognize not only the Oswaldo Payá award, but also because in Cuba there are people who think differently and have different alternatives.”

Ofelia Acevedo, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas's widow addresses the press
Earlier this morning Luis Almagro, the Secretary General of the Organization of American States reported over social media that he had been denied entry to Cuba by the Castro regime's immigration authorities.
He was the third high ranking Latin American democrat to be blocked from entering Cuba in the past 72 hours. A day earlier on February 21, 2017 former Mexican president Felipe Calderón was also told he would not be able to enter Cuba and on the evening of  February 20, 2017 former minister and member of parliament Mariana Aylwin, who is also the daughter of the former Chilean president Patricio Aylwin was declared inadmissible by the Castro regime's immigration machinery. The past seventy two hours should have dispelled any notions that the Castro regime has changed.

Cuba under General Raul Castro remains a totalitarian communist state that only legally recognizes the communist party, one educational system that it controls, one centrally planned economy that it also controls, regime monopoly over all media, and a communist moral code. Independent grassroots organizations are illegal and critical thought is punished.

Hannah Arendt, the political scientist who wrote The Origins of Totalitarianism, in a lecture on the profound difference between authoritarianism and totalitarianism delivered at Oberlin College on October 28, 1954: “If we look at it as a form of government, it rests on two pillars: on ideology and on terror. It is no tyranny because tyranny is lawlessness and because it is content with the political sphere in the more narrow sense of the word.” ...“Authoritarianism in many respects [is] the opposite of totalitarianism."

This is why a private award ceremony in Havana is turned into an international crisis because the totalitarian regime in Cuba refuses to tolerate international political figures recognizing dissidents, even if it is only to accept an award. Secretary General Almagro in a letter to Rosa Maria outlined the Castro regime's objections:
Last Thursday, OAS official Chris Hernandez-Roy was called to a meeting by the Consul of Cuba in Washington and the First Secretary of the Consulate during which the following was conveyed to him:
  1. The surprise of the Cuban authorities at the reason for the visit
  2. That they would not grant us the visa
  3. That our entry to Cuba would be denied, (even in the case of traveling with a Uruguayan diplomatic passport)
  4. Their “astonishment” at the involvement of the Secretary General of the OAS in anti-Cuban activities
  5. That the reason for which we requested the visa is considered “an unacceptable provocation”
  6. That the prize is not recognized by the Cuban state
  7. They characterized the activities of “Cuba Decides” as undermining the Cuban electoral system.
Presenting a human rights award named after a nonviolent Cuban activist is according to the Castro dictatorship an "anti-Cuban activity" furthermore that the prize "is not recognized by the Cuban state" and "an unacceptable provocation." Finally the "Cuba Decides" campaign for a plebiscite within existing Cuban law according to the dictatorship is "undermining the Cuban electoral system." Cuban citizens cannot independently create a prize and offer it to someone for their good works without the permission and recognition of the Castro regime. Seeking to give Cuban citizens a voice to exercise their sovereignty is considered subversive by the Castro dictatorship.

Friends of Cuban Decides following the award ceremony in Havana.
 The Castro regime's embassy in Chile issued a statement worth analyzing to better understand the nature of the system being confronted by Cuban democrats that repeated many of the same points raised with Almagro but went further in libeling Cuba Decides: ... “as an illegal anti-Cuban group that acts against the constitutional order and that provokes the repudiation of the population, with the collusion and financing of politicians and foreign institutions, in order to generate internal instability and, at the same time, affect our diplomatic relations with other countries.”

The facts of the matter are that the dictatorship does not respect its own constitutional order if it in any way limits the regime. Furthermore dissidents are systematically disenfranchised from the economy to keep them marginalized. Finally there is no freedom of assembly or association and citizen initiatives such as the Varela Project are never aired over the official media which is the only mass media on the island. This is why some in the opposition have to seek funds outside of Cuba and access to international media with the hope that it will bounce back into the island.  Nevertheless the dangers of dissent far outweigh any benefits as the untimely deaths of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante would demonstrate and still need to be investigated five years later.

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Communist regimes have a century long track record of killing dissidents and Cuba is no different, but it is important to remember that there are two types of executions. Thousands have been placed against the wall and executed by firing squad in Cuba, others have been victims of extrajudicial killings using a variety of methods ranging from poison, car "accidents", drowning or a shot in the back. However there is what Cuban writer Carlos Alberto Montaner called the "other wall"  and subtitled it "the assassination of character in Cuba" and his presentation in Spanish is available online that describes the killing of reputations.

Orlando Zapata Tamayo: May 15, 1967 - February 23, 2010
Even worse Cuban dissidents have been subjected to both types of execution. The case of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, who died on February 23, 2010 is a case in point. He was beaten down repeatedly and tortured over seven years in Cuban prisons for his human rights activism. Orlando Zapata Tamayo had collaborated on the Varela Project with Oswaldo Payá and engaged in human rights education campaign with Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet. His death while on hunger strike drew international attention and led to a posthumous campaign of slander by Castro regime agents to deny Orlando Zapata's history as an activist seeking to portray him instead as a violent criminal.

Today while taking part in a television program I heard first hand this execution by character assassination by a Castro regime apologist. The attack to slander and destroy the reputation of  Rosa Maria Payá using logical fallacies is underway. Under the vast majority of moral and ethical systems the ad hominem attacks, slanders and libels directed against Rosa are profoundly evil.

Communist morality has no problem with any of it because as the communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin observed in a speech to Russian communist youth on October 2, 1920:
"The class struggle is continuing and it is our task to subordinate all interests to that struggle. Our communist morality is also subordinated to that task. We say: morality is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite all the working people around the proletariat, which is building up a new, communist society."
Ronald Reagan understood the full significance of communist morality as defined by Lenin and identified how this was applied by the communist regime in Russia in 1983:
... "I pointed out that, as good Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution. I think I should point out I was only quoting Lenin, their guiding spirit, who said in 1920 that they repudiate all morality that proceeds from supernatural ideas -- that's their name for religion -- or ideas that are outside class conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of class war. And everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old, exploiting social order and for uniting the proletariat."
This is Machiavelli's the ends justify the means on steroids. Communist morality views revolution via class struggle as a moral imperative while at the same time dismissing traditional moral and ethical systems based in metaphysical absolutes as an instrument to control the working class.  

The outcome of this morally flawed system has been over a 100 million killed and counting, generations living in misery and the emergence of totalitarian dictatorships the world over preaching egalitarianism but delivering hardship and slavery to billions.

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