Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Exposing the Castro regime's record of not reporting epidemics, and when an attack backfires

Engaging in the conversation over the human rights situation in Cuba leads to ad hominem attacks against ones character, in order to avoid a substantive conversation of the facts presented and the arguments put forward. 

Yesterday, The Washington Post published a letter to the editor on the important topic of the regime in Cuba covering up past epidemics and punishing whistleblowers with prison, and tweeted it out upsetting some folks. The letter is reproduced below.

The Washington Post, April 5, 2021

Letters to the Editor

Opinion: Cuba’s powerhouse status comes through repression

April 5, 2021 at 4:35 p.m. EDT

Patient receives Sputnik V vaccine dose against Covid-19 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. (Pavel Mikheyev/Reuters)

The March 31 news article “Cuba could become a vaccine powerhouse” pointed out that Havana wants to soften its image as a “broadly authoritarian country” that has done “some pretty bad things.” Cuban doctors and journalists who raised the alarm in prior outbreaks on the island were locked up and punished.

Desi Mendoza Rivero was arrested on June 25, 1997, for warning about a dengue epidemic in Cuba. On Nov. 24, 1997, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for “enemy propaganda.” Amnesty International declared him a prisoner of conscience and campaigned for his freedom. Dr. Rivero’s claims were eventually confirmed, and he was forcibly exiled.

On Sept. 2, 2016, the Associated Press reported that Cuba had “remarkable success in containing Zika virus.” On Jan. 8, 2019, New Scientist reported the whole story when the facts became known: “Cuba failed to report thousands of Zika virus cases in 2017.”

Repression patterns during this pandemic in Cuba indicate officials seek to downplay covid-19’s severity on the island. According to Duane Gubler at the Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, “Cuba has a history of not reporting epidemics until they become obvious,” and that is pretty bad.

John Suarez, Falls Church

The writer is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba.


This led to attacks against the author, including for being formerly of Freedom House, raising questions about the organization because it has received public funds. It is a ridiculous argument, because the organization has also been critical of the U.S. government and human rights deficits in the United States.

Anti-Nazi, Anti-Communist, Pro-Freedom org founded 1941

On May 30, 2006, The New York Times announced the death of one of the founders of Freedom House, George Field, and in the obituary revealed the pedigree of this human rights and pro-democracy organization.

"George Field, who fought isolationism, Fascism, Communism, racism, McCarthyism, anti-Semitism and other extremisms for three decades as the guiding spirit behind Freedom House, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to democracy and human rights, died Friday in Kennett Square, Pa. He was 101."

It is ironic that Castro regime apologists question the bonafides of Freedom House, but not surprising because they have done the same to Amnesty International in the past. Meanwhile conservatives are upset with Freedom House because it has also viewed with a critical eye Western Democracies, including the United States.

Civil rights icon Bayard Rustin was called by some "the unknown hero" of the civil rights movement. He was a "tireless crusader for justice, a disciple of [Mohandas] Gandhi, a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., and the architect of the legendary [1963] March on Washington." Rustin debated Malcolm X in 1962 from both a principled and strategic nonviolent position and would go on to play an important role at Freedom House.

It is doubly ironic because of Soviet Communism's and Castroism's alliances with Nazism and embrace of antisemitism and other extremisms to create new levels of misery for those unlikely enough to fall under their rule.

Sorry, but the fight against tyranny, racism, and other bigotries over the past 80 years beginning in 1941, the same year that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union began still allied together to conquer the rest of the world imposing the perpetual darkness of totalitarianism, and Freedom House came into existence to resist both of them, and their ideologies on October 31, 1941.

Being linked to Freedom House is high praise, now defending the Castro regime on the other hand is shameful.





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