Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Human Rights in Cuba during the Obama Administration: From Bad to Worse

Providing context
Some of the Cuban rights defenders since 2009 who have died suspiciously
The Obama administration and a substantial portion of the U.S. establishment have resurrected the discredited and discarded policy of détente pioneered by the Nixon administration, continued through the Ford and Carter administrations before being rejected by Ronald Reagan in 1981. Today as members of the State Department met with representatives of the Castro regime to discuss the basis of a human rights dialogue the office of the spokesperson at the State Department released the following statement:
United States and Cuban diplomatic delegations met today at the State Department to discuss the methodology, topics, and structure of a future human rights dialogue. The atmosphere of the meeting was professional, and there was broad agreement on the way forward for a future substantive dialogue, the timing and location of which will be determined through diplomatic channels. Each side raised concerns about human rights issues, and both sides expressed willingness to discuss a wide range of topics in future substantive talks.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration along with some members of congress have sought to down play the Castro regime's human rights record in order to pursue the new policy of engagement with the dictatorship. For example, President Obama on December 26, 2014, days after commuting the sentence of Gerardo Hernandez, the Cuban spy serving life for conspiracy to murder four members of Brothers to the Rescue on February 24, 1996 in an act of state terrorism, described this crime as a "tragic circumstance." The unrepentant spy and terrorist was greeted as a national hero by Raul Castro and announced that he was "ready for his next order."

The so-called "substantive dialogue" will most likely regurgitate the sophist arguments of the Castro regime seeking to re-define human rights along a false ideological divide in order to justify its systematic and gross violation of human rights.

Poll released yesterday reveals that when informed of the human rights abuses of the Castro dictatorship, a majority of Americans are against President Obama's new Cuba policy. This would explain the president's effort to downplay the regime's human rights record. At the same time prominent Cuban Americans have opposed the new policy and young Cubans and Americans have also sent a clear message to the Obama Administration proclaiming: Not in Our Name.

The debate over the Castro regime's human rights record often times fails to look at the harm it has done internationally. At the United Nations Human Rights Council the delegation representing the Cuban dictatorship has a long track record of undermining human rights that stretches back decades. Another aspect that the mainstream media ignores is how the Cuban government has crossed the ideological divide to cooperate with right wing military and racist dictatorships in covering up their gross and systematic human rights violations.

At the same time their appears to be blind faith in technology, especially the internet, as the magic solution to opening up Cuba. However, in today's news the Agence France Press reported that "Cuba wants to boost public Internet access while keeping the Communist government's control over it."

Technology is neutral, and repressive regimes have contracted Western companies to place draconian controls on the internet that are used to target activists. Amnesty International identified "Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Websense and Sun Microsystems" as having "provided technology which has been used to censor and control the use of the Internet in China." These repressive applications of new technologies have been transferred to other dictatorships including the Castro regime.

Defenders of the Obama administration's policy claim that it was initiated on December 17, 2014 ignoring that it is the continuation of a policy that was initiated in 2009 and has coincided with a deterioration in human rights that has included the suspicious deaths of human rights defenders such as Orlando Zapata Tamayo, Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia, Laura Inés Pollán Toledo, Wilman Villar Mendoza, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero Escalante.

Now the press is reporting on the conversations between U.S. diplomats and representatives of the Castro regime. Not mentioned is that one of the "Cuban diplomats", Gustavo Machin, has been linked by  Rosa María Payá Acevedo to the events surrounding her dad's death on July 22, 2012.

Finally, while U.S. diplomats sat down with their counterparts in the Castro regime to discuss human rights  inside of Cuba nonviolent dissidents were being beaten down by the dictatorship's state security agents.

Human rights in Cuba were bad before the Obama administration came to office, but unfortunately it has gotten worse since then with increasing levels of violence and the extrajudicial killings of nonviolent opposition leaders.

U.S. diplomats dialogue with Castro regime diplomats

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