Cuba, USA Maintain Divergent Views on Human Rights

Pedro Luis Pedroso represented Cuba at Tuesday's talks in Washington.
Pedro Luis Pedroso represented Cuba at Tuesday’s talks in Washington.

HAVANA TIMES — High level representatives of the United States and Cuba held talks Tuesday in Washington on human rights, without any of the two governments changing their positions on this thorny issue, reported dpa news.

The preparatory meeting on human rights precedes a more formal dialogue on this issue, planned for a date and place to be determined by the two governments.

The US delegation was headed by Undersecretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Tom Malinowski. Across the table sat Pedro Luis Pedroso, Deputy Director General of Multilateral Affairs and International Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.

Both the State Department and the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured in separate statements that the meeting took place “in a professional environment.”

The State Department said both governments “expressed concerns about human rights issues” in the other country, and “showed their willingness to discuss a range of issues in a future more substantive dialogue”.

As expected, the Cuban negotiator expressed at the meeting that “there are profound differences between the two governments on the concepts and the exercise of human rights”.

“However, it was shown that it is possible to interact civilly in the recognition and respect for these differences. These conversations confirm the readiness of Cuba to address with the United States any topic on the basis of equality and reciprocity,” said Pedroso.

Havana “stressed the need to hold a sustained dialogue on sovereign equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of the parties.”

Tom Malinowski led the US delegation.
Tom Malinowski led the US delegation.

During the meeting, the government of Raul Castro expressed its concerned about “the security and protection of human rights in the United States” and underlined “persistent patterns of discrimination and racism and the intensification of police brutality and abuse with discriminatory patterns.”

The Cuban delegation also expressed concern “about the torture and extrajudicial executions in the context of the fight against terrorism, including the legal limbo of prisoners at Guantanamo” and “limitations on the exercise of labor rights and union freedoms,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba in a press release following the meeting.

The US State Department did not specify what issues it put on the table during the meeting with Cuban negotiators.

Discussions on human rights is part of the historic diplomatic rapprochement announced Dec. 17 by US President Barack Obama and President of Cuba, Raul Castro, after half a century of rupture and ideological confrontation.

Havana associates human rights with collective achievements such as universal access to education and health, part of Cuban social policy and disassociates those with individual and political rights such as the freedom of speech, press and assembly.

On numerous occasions, from its different perspective, Washington has shown its concern about the situation of human rights and the freedom of speech and assembly on the island and often makes calls for the release of political prisoners in Cuba.

14 thoughts on “Cuba, USA Maintain Divergent Views on Human Rights

  • You are either lying or delusional. Not a day goes by in Cuba without it being possible to be within earshot of a Cuban complaining about their lack of freedom. Not one day. By the way, you have two beautiful kids in the photo that you have linked to your comment. It’s too bad that they are stuck in Cuba.

  • Hahaha! I’ve been accused of having many flaws because of my comments here at HT. But you are the first to call me a racist. In as much as I am as much at risk of being killed by a poorly – trained and managed racist cop as any other African-American man, I am acutely aware of the failings in American society. If I choose to do so, I could go to my City Hall here in San Francisco and obtain a permit organize a public protest. If I had similar grievances in Cuba, no such avenue to redress those grievances is permitted.

  • You seems to be very racist, dear Moses. How come you say that US got flaws when they shoot down civilians especially black, when they are running away???

  • What moral authority is America garbed in to be an adjudicator on Human Rights when it has supported the worst dictators in the world–the Pinochets of Chile, the Duvaliers of Haiti, The Batistas of Cuba, the Military Juntas of Latin America who were trained in Special scools in Virginia on how to suppress their people so that the multinationals could reap huge profits from their suppression and oppression? Where does America obtain the moral fibre to upbraid others about Human Rights when white police officers are shooting down black people with the excuse that their lives were threathened. What about the homeless sleeping on the streets in the winter? What about the beggars searching the dust bins for food to assuage their hunger? What about a prison population which is larger than the population of Cuba’s 11million citizens in the richest country in the world and where an inmate is more likely to be killed or raped than in any other prison in the world? What about the ordinary man and woman who walk the streets riddled with diseases because they cannot access medical attention; the reason being that they cannot afford to pay for the Medical Insurance which entitles the rich to live and the poor to die? What about the high cost of getting an education making universal education the privilege of a few and not the right of all? In Cuba, nobody goes hungry. In Cuba every citizen is guaranteed free education from kindergarten to univerisity enabling them to realize their dream. How can you open up the floodgates of knowledge to a citizen a and then turn around and oppress and suppress that citizen? Totally impossible. In Cuba, everyone is entitled to proper housing. In Cuba, you do not see homeless people roaming the Streets. In Cuba you will not see people searching the dust bins searching for food. What is freedom of speech when the National Security listen in to all your conversations because you are free to talk but you are spied upon and you have no privacy. Is that real human rights? Is it Human Rights to be creating wars all over the place and sending your young sons and daughters to be killed, maimed both phisicall and mentally so that the share holders in the military industrial complexes reap abundant profits? If this is Human Rights in America, let me live like the human being I was created to be in Cuba..

  • Without American Capitalism the world would be full of despot regimes living large while their people enjoyed a fair and equatable misery. The adoption of state regulated capitalism has done more to bring people out of misery than anything else.

    Having lived in both Cuba and the U.S. I have a good idea of what each offers.

  • Ever see those spare wheel covers on Hummers and Jeeps that say “There’s only one USA” ? I’m always tempted to scrawl “Thank God” underneath.

  • Very well said and completely accurate. The gap between the myth of America and the truth about America is wide enough to fit entire galaxies in between. Sadly, most are only familiar with the myth, a fact that can be attributed to the one thing America has truly mastered: Propaganda.

  • The U.S government has been involved in no less than 70 interventions around the world overthrowing democratic elections, interfering with democratic elections and human rights movements and establishing totalitarian regimes . This just since the end of WWII.
    Under your vaunted capitalism , half the world lives on less than US$2.00 per day and the central theme of U.S. foreign policy for 100 years is to protect and expand this immiserating economic form which benefits only those at the very top.
    The world produces some 119% of the foodstuffs needed to provide adequate nutrition for every person on the planet but the means of distributing that food :capitalism ensures only that millions of people will die from starvation and avoidable disease because they do not have the money required under capitalism to survive.
    You do not have any idea of the poison in your erroneous thinking and how much better off the world would be without capitalism and all other totalitarian forms.
    It’s a pity you haven’t a high regard for democratic forms.
    I invite you to read the introduction to William Blum’s ” KiIling Hope” available on the internet , to see just how totally ignorant -willfully or not- you are of U.S. intentions in the world.
    Read that intro and then come back and tell me that the USG is about doing good in the world….. or ever was.

  • As above,

    “Havana associates human rights with collective achievements such as universal access to education and health, part of Cuban social policy and disassociates those with individual and political rights such as the freedom of speech, press and assembly.”

    Which is essentially what I wrote on the previous thread. The point is the two things are not mutually exclusive. It is possible for a system to recognize individual rights and freedoms while at the same time providing universal access to decent healthcare and education. Canada does it, quite well in fact.

  • OK, I will take the bait. Cuba’s issues with the US are valid and worthy of the hundreds if not thousands of legitimate civil society organizations that exists legally in the US to address them. The NAACP, for one, is world renowned for its fight against racism. The Castros are welcome to join in on the struggle to eradicate US racism. On the other hand, those human rights issues in Cuba are swept under the rug by the Castros and those organizations, if they exist, intended to fight for human rights are outlawed. There is no “Freedom of Speech” lobby allowed in Cuba. No country is perfect. However, the US, flaws and all, is constantly evolving toward “a more perfect union”. The Castros Cuba suppresses change and makes illegal the exercise of basic human rights. The difference is clear.

  • The US is a force for good in the world. It’s particular brand of regulated capitalism having been adopted widely has brought millions of souls out of poverty. The world is richer and safer.

    But at times the mother hen goes to far. It is time for the US to normalize relations. Friends can more easily accept criticism than coercive combatants. Get over the 1960’s all ready.

  • Ok MOSES….thoughts????

  • The USG maintains excellent relations with the Saudis who treat women like dogs , who openly support Sunni terrorist groups .
    There has rarely been a dictatorship that has not maintained an excellent relationship with the GOUSA providing they were anti-socialist and pro-capitalist-pro-imperialist .
    For every dictator with whom the USG has had problems, there are ten whom were installed by the GOUSA and/or supported until they were overthrown by popular revolutions.
    Any talk of the USG holding up normalization of relations with Cuba because of human rights violations on the part of the Cuban government is just hypocrisy writ large.
    IF anyone has the slightest doubt that this is truth, that person is invited to go to the “Killing Hope ” website and do a review of the 54 instances of U.S. support for the worst of the worst human rights violators and the USG training in torture that was given to so many countries.
    And do read the introduction to the book and get a good idea of what U.S. foreign policy is based upon .
    It is not about doing good in the world .

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