Face-off for Cuba in Geneva over Human Rights

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.  Photo: Minrex

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba is fighting a fierce diplomatic battle in Geneva. Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and his “Elite Squad” have been charged with the mission of highlighting the positive side of the Cuban government, maximizing and sugarcoating its social achievements and reducing and distorting those which represent human rights violations.

Our government hasn’t gone to the United Nations to listen to suggestions, to take the sentiments of our civil society into account, nor the complaints made by human rights advocates. It has gone to counteract them as if it were a pitched battle. They don’t have the slightest intention to build a better Cuba “with everyone and for the wellbeing of everyone”, which would be more inclusive and respect all human rights.

It’s a shame that this revolution, which was conceived as a grand progressive idea, has ended up being so conservative and extreme. They want to continue on with this kind of political Apartheid which has the country at a standstill, divided, in a “cold”, sterile civil war and worse yet, people emigrating with no hope left. Everything would be different if government leaders decided to break their static and rigid position to really drive us towards a revolutionary political, economic and social system, which Cuba is in desperate need of.

It’s appalling to see our diplomats, who are very skilled with words, label human rights advocates “mercenaries” or “on Imperialism’s payroll” because they file complaints. They don’t attack the content of the message; they are rather aiming at the messenger: this is an old manipulation technique.

What does being a mercenary mean?

According to RAE (Real Academia Espanolsa): “A person who does any job in exchange of financial compensation, their only goal being to earn money and they lack ideological motivation.

Our government is constantly accusing every Cuban who confronts it, both inside the island or abroad, of being a mercenary. However, it’s clear that nobody fits into this concept. Who could believe that these human rights advocates or advocacy groups who are in Geneva trying to make their work visible are therefore mercenaries? Clearly, they have their own interests and ideological motivations. However, the Cuban ambassador is very skilled at manipulating speeches, in repeating baseless accusations and creating false stigma such as the “mercenary”.

According to our diplomats, “the Cuban government doesn’t forbid any Cuban from traveling; it’s the United States who is doing this by withdrawing their consulate staff.” So, is the United States the ones who prevent me from traveling, for example, not even allowing me to renew my passport.

In the days leading up to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, independent press denounced the fact that around 200 Cubans had been prevented from traveling abroad. The government was afraid that those who were going to the event from civil society would counter the official delegation’s show. Was it the United States that trampled all over this right, to move freely, or was it the Cuban government?

There were even three human rights advocates who needed to take part in an event in Switzerland, held before the high level UN session, but they were not allowed to leave the country, tickets in hand at the airport. We were the only country unable to attend. And that’s just served to show me how badly human rights issues are here.

The right to travel, to move freely, isn’t an unalienable human right here in Cuba; it’s a gift which we citizens obtain with our tolerant attitude towards the ruling political system or at least with our neutral stance. If you decide to exercise your rights of freedom of speech or political thought, then you lose the right to move freely. Relinquishing our rights over their conditioning is the most normal thing to do.

There are many more cases of violations: restrictions on financial rights, fighting wealth more than poverty and freedom of association is not allowed. Workers can’t form or join independent unions instead of pro-government ones, where you find a straitjacket and government interests taking priority, which are the same as any workplace management. There are so many violations.

However, we can’t take our complaints to Geneva. It’s impossible for us to organize ourselves without any support from abroad as the repression we suffer is vicious and very effective. And if you receive support, then you are called a “mercenary.” Just take a look at how innocent Bruno Rodriguez’s team is.

They use many countries’ denouncing US actions considered imperialist or Trump’s questionable policies, to put the just struggle for a better Cuba in the same bag, or to counter real, systematic violations which are endemic to the Cuban system against our people. Many people end up believing this conspiracy theory, the one where Goliath wants to crush good David, and that’s how they end up supporting the crime.

The Cuban revolution, this system which we have established, doesn’t have the ideological capacity to sit down and start a national dialogue. Only a miracle would make them change. The only way forward towards the future is the embarrassing subjugation and servile compliance in everything which doesn’t agree with their doctrines, which are also an economic and social failure.  

Emigrating and being stripped of every right, only receiving the gift of being able to visit your family if you behave well abroad; or continue fighting here for change, being considered an outcast in your own land without any human rights which the government should respect.

I urge the International Community to support the Cuban people more, but this won’t happen while the government’s diplomatic service continues to suppress the ability of citizens to denounce and make visible the reality of human rights in Cuba. We have to keep on working with a great deal of perseverance and intelligence


15 thoughts on “Face-off for Cuba in Geneva over Human Rights

  • Well said Repatriado!

  • Yes jon keller, abject poverty! You have a rave about other countries to avoid addressing the realities of Cuba, which I having my home there, know all too well.
    Your ignorance of the history of the Castro regime is clarified when you write:
    “Does Cuba threaten to start a nuclear war?”
    That Mr, keller is exactly what Fidel Castro endeavored to persuade Nikita Khruschev to do in his personal cable of October 27, 1962 when he urged an immediate nuclear strike upon the US. He concluded his cable by writing:
    “However harsh and terrible such a decision would be, there is no other way out in my opinion.”
    Fortunately Khruschev had the good sense to reject Castro’s advice, pointing out that such action would undoubtedly start a Third World War.
    But, Castro cared naught for the fate of the Cuban people, writing in response:
    “First of all, Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. Without a doubt the Cuban people would have fought courageously but, also without a doubt, the Cuban people would have perished heroically. We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make communism triumph.”
    Following Khruschev removing the Soviet nuclear weapons from Cuba, Castro responded in a fury, saying:
    “We are a people prepared to suffer under immolation so that its ashes may serve as a foundation for new societies. When an agreement was reached by which the atomic missiles were removed, without asking our people, we were not relieved or thankful for the truce, instead we denounced the move with our own voice.”
    Then in an interview with the British communist newspaper “The Daily Worker” in November, 1962, Fidel Castro said:
    “If the nuclear missiles had remained we would have used them against the very heart of America including New York City.”
    In all his ranting, Fidel Castro never sought the opinion of the Cuban people, whether they sought immolation. As a typical dictator, he used the Royal “we” extensively as if he and the people of Cuba were synonymous. None of my Cuban relatives who were alive at that time, concur with Fidel Castro’s
    view of nuclear war, nor did they seek to sacrifice themselves.
    So yes jon keller, Cuba – or rather its non-elected dictator did seek to start a nuclear war.
    To think otherwise is to deny recorded history.
    Remember also the opinion of Dr. Ernesto Guevara de Serna Lynch as expressed in his October 1962
    speech to the Communist Youth.
    “Individualism must disappear.”
    and:
    “The peoples cooperation can often be coaxed by the use of systemic fear.”
    It is all too easy jon keller to trot out the faults and errors of the USA – and they are numerous. But none of that acts as an excuse for the excesses and repression of the Castro communist regime in Cuba!

  • Comrade Jon Keller, all that you say should be true, but I am a
    masochist, and not just me, the majority of Cubans are so, and
    guessing by your name that you live in some anglo-hell I have great
    news for you, find there some very smart people willing to come to
    live in the Cuban paradise, for each one of those you find I will find
    ten here in Cuba willing to go and suffer in any satanic capitalist
    country.

  • You support Cuban experiment because you are nor one of the mice in
    Castro´s scientific hands.

    If you think “Cuban experiment” is an alternative to the faults, big
    faults of capitalism, then you really don´t know what you are talking
    about, you want to change a system with deep problems, but with
    plasticity enough to evolve to something better, for a system based in
    what to change precisely to change nothing.

    Do you also support Dr Mengele experiments? For sure he was convinced
    that he was experimenting for the good of humanity.

  • The US is a dictatorship. A dictatorship of Capital. The presidential elections have been a sham for many decades. The resources of the planet, labor and environmental wealth, have been stolen to accrue to historic wealth to fewer and fewer. Overwhelming billions in awe facilitated by a most sophisticated propaganda machine. The white working class has been key in maintaining this machine by being inducted into a labor aristocracy. But, capitalism is in crisis hence Trump stirring up white supremacy in an effort to keep many brainwashed. Capitalism is historically on the way out and the only historical effort to supplant it is socialism. Human beings have been in existence for the blink of an eye and are undergoing incredible transitions. We have been too successful as regards technology and survival and unless we take climate change very very seriously we will not survive. Sociologically unless the sacrifices necessary to survive cc are seen to be shared by all, too few will be willing to make said sacrifices. In part that’s why I support the Cuban experiment.

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