Monday, May 18, 2015

Political exiles and the right to return

Defending a fundamental right
Blanca Reyes: Denied entry to Cuba in 2013 to visit her dying dad
The premise made by the Castro regime in its effort to assassinate the character of Rosa María Payá Acevedo recently when she returned to Cuba is both self serving and false. Here is what they said in the Castro regime's website Yoanislandia:
"In the case that a person has the condition of a refugee  or a political exile in any country in the world they are not permitted to enter the country that they fled for mistreatment, threats, persecution, etc ..."
The trouble is that the claim is not true. Chinese pro-democracy activist Yang Jianli in 2004 was sentenced to five years in prison after having been detained in 2002 and this is a more detailed account of what happened:
In 2002, after completing his Doctorate in Political Economy at Harvard, Dr. Yang returned to China to help the labor movement with non-violent struggle strategies. He was arrested and sentenced to five years imprisonment for “spying”.  Following an international outcry for his release, including a UN Resolution and a unanimous vote of both houses of the United States Congress, Dr. Yang was freed in April of 2007.
Jianli was a long time US resident. Another example, former Chinese political prisoner and current political exile Harry Wu has returned a total of five times to continue his struggle for a free China on the mainland. He succeeded in entering and exiting the country while on other occasions he has also been caught and imprisoned by Chinese authorities. Others are trying to get in but have been denied entrance to their country, even if willing to risk prison.

In the case of Burma (Myanmar) the military junta denied Aung San Suu Kyi the right to leave and return to her own country or allowed her dying husband to enter the country to say goodbye to his wife. They had not been able to see each other for the three years prior to his death.Her children were also denied visas to visit their mother. Suu Kyi understood that if she traveled outside of Burma to visit her family that she would not be allowed back in.

What Rosa María Payá, Yang Jianli, Harry Wu and other activists claim is that they have a fundamental right to enter and exit their own homeland. Their claim is backed under Article 13 subsection 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:  "(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

Unfortunately, regimes such as Burma, Cuba, China, Iran, North Korea, and Vietnam ignore this right and determine who can or cannot enter their own country based on arbitrary decisions of the dictatorships in those countries. The claim made by the Castro agent that political refugees and exiles "are not permitted" to enter the country they fled under threat is just not true. Rights are not existent in those countries and are subject to political whims.

Furthermore, if people of good will fell into the trap of believing this argument, they would only be serving the interests of these dictatorships in permanently keeping dissenters, who had to flee for their safety at a particular moment, from exercising their right to return.

In August of 2013, Blanca Reyes made public that she was denied the right to enter her country, Cuba, to visit her 93-year old dying father. On October 15, 2013 over twitter Blanca reported that father and daughter were never again to be reunited in life:
"My father died today in Cuba. I did not see him for nine years, the Cuban government stopped me. HOW MUCH LONGER MY GOD?"

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