Monday, April 2, 2012

Burma & Cuba going in different directions: possible national reconciliation versus more repression

"Congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi and her people. I wish you success in building up democracy and the rule of law in your homeland." - Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet tweeted on April 4, 2012

At press conference at her house, Aung San Suu Kyi was asked where Burma was as a democracy, on scale of 1-10. "On the way to 1," she said. - Mark MacKinnon tweeted on March 30, 2012

This is what a possible beginning to national reconciliation looks like in Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi's Victory Speech following parliamentary elections in which the opposition was able to field candidates.

In Burma despite continued repression, political prisoners, censorship and election irregularities some progress has been made in opening for the democratic opposition and for the people of Burma to have an option in democratic elections that amount to a small step for democracy.

In Cuba over the past two years, according to Amnesty International, things have gotten worse. What is taking place in Burma is a possible initial beginning of national reconciliation grounded in freedom and the pursuit of justice. Sadly, that is not the case in Cuba. Things under Raul Castro have only gotten worse.

Amnesty International reports on routine repression in Cuba

This is what it does not look like in Cuba

During the Pope's visit the behavior of the Castro regime was best summed up by Oswaldo Paya of the Christian Liberation Movement and a practicing Catholic: "The government is suppressing everything, speaking with arrogance and impunity, treating Mass services like they were a military manoeuvre."

Man beaten up and arrested for screaming "Down with communism" in Santiago de Cuba during Pope's visit whereabouts remain unknown.

The massive crackdown began just prior to the Pope's arrival and is still underway today with homes invaded by political police and government thugs. Opposition activists and their family members beaten up and taken away to prison.

José Daniel Ferrer García who identified the activist beaten during the Pope's visit to Santiago de Cuba by Cuban State Security agents as Andres Carrion Alvarez was beaten up and detained today, along with his wife Belkis Cantillo and other activists, at his home by the political police.

What is taking place in Cuba is not an opening but a crackdown on human rights defenders and the nonviolent democratic opposition.

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