Why we Cuban leftists are against the Castro’s regime?
Castro’s Cuba subscribed the Viña del Mar Declaration. In that document, signed by Fidel Castro and the presidents of all other Iberoamerican countries during Sixth Ibero-American Summit, which was held in Viña del Mar, Chile, in November 1996, the Cuban dictator promised to respect democracy and civil and political rights.
According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), “on March 18, 2003, Cuban authorities began a week-long crackdown on human rights activists and independent journalists that culminated in the arrest of about 100 activists. They were all taken to the offices of the Department of State Security and subjected to long interrogations and other types of psychological torture… The Prosecutor General of the Republic of Cuba filed motions with the Court requesting sentences that ranged from 15 years in prison to the death penalty in some cases. Summary trials took place starting April 3, 2003, without allowing any time for the defendants’ families to mount a proper defense… None of the accused was acquitted (although during the hasty trial it was not possible to demonstrate the guilt of any of them with the evidence presented by the prosecution). The 75 persons were sentenced to prison terms of between 6 and 28 years… the IACHR learned that in the early hours of April 11, 2003, the Cuban State executed Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla García, and Jorge Luis Martínez Isaac, convicted of hijacking a launch in Havana Bay and taking its passengers hostage.”
Cuba Archive has documented 166 deaths and disappearances from 7/31/2006 to 12/15/2013, that is, since Raúl Castro assumed power inherited from his brother.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo was one of fifty-five (55) Cuban prisoners of conscience who were adopted by Amnesty International. He died on February 23, 2010. Zapata was on hunger strike for more than eighty (80) days, in protest for the inhumane treatment by the prison authorities. Gerardo Ducos, Amnesty International’s Caribbean researcher, said:
“The tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo is a terrible illustration of the despair facing prisoners of conscience who see no hope of being freed from their unfair and prolonged incarceration… the fact that Orlando Zapata Tamayo felt he had no other avenue available to him but to starve himself in protest is a terrible indictment of the continuing repression of political dissidents in Cuba… The death of Orlando Zapata also underlines the urgent need for Cuba to invite international human rights experts to visit the country to verify respect for human rights, in particular obligations in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”
On January 19, 2012, two years after of the request made by the senator Allende to the Cuban governments, Wilman Villar Mendoza, another prisoner of conscience, died, “due to health problems allegedly arising from a hunger strike protesting at his unfair trial and imprisonment. He was serving a four-year prison term on charges related to his participation in a public demonstration against the government”. Javier Zúñiga, Special Adviser at Amnesty International, said:
“The responsibility for Wilman Villar Mendoza’s death in custody lies squarely with the Cuban authorities, who summarily judged and jailed him for exercising his right to freedom of expression… His tragic death highlights the depths of despair faced by the other prisoners of conscience still languishing in Cuban jails, who must be released immediately and unconditionally… The Cuban authorities must stop the harassment, persecution, and imprisonment of peaceful demonstrators as well as political and human rights activists.”
On July 9, 2013, Pedro Campos,retired Cuban diplomat,published The Cuban people’s peaceful resistance augmented, which is a reply to Raul Castro’s of July 7. In his article this well-knownCuban Marxist told to the General Castro:
“Your government-Party-State, by your own admission, is facing a growing wave of social disobedience, a rise in acts of peaceful insurgency by the people, varying forms of non-violent resistance, as a result of a generalized dissatisfaction with the economic, social and civil policies of your corrupt and corrupting State”.
On September 11, 2013, Amnesty International declared: Cuba must immediately release prisoner of conscience. “It is a sad reflection of the state of the rule of law in Cuba, when people are convicted to prison terms not for what they have done but for what they might do”, said Special Adviser at Amnesty International.
In 1950, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day. Regrettably in Castro’s Cuba this is a day of intimidation, acts of harassment, beatings and arbitrary arrests. For example, on December 10, 2013, at the same time as in South Africa the President Obama shakes hands with the General Raúl Castro, in Havana members of the Ladies in White were arrested and the home of Antonio Rodiles –nephew of Major General Samuel Rodiles and leader of the independent group Estado de Sats-, was besieged by the police and plainclothes agents. High school students were taken outside Rodiles’ residence and remained them there throughout the day.
Raul Castro’s on January 1, 2014,confirmed that he will continue increasing repression against Cuban citizens peacefully expressing themselves. On January 10, 2014, the retired Cuban teacher Ariel Hidalgo published In a normal country, that was a reply to Castro’s ofJanuary 1. In his paper this Cuban Marxist says:
“What country has a law that prohibits bringing happiness to children? And if it do not have, what authority was the arrest and seizure of the gifts? In a normal country an ideological deviation would not be considered the right of children to have a decent toy”.
Four years afterof the petition made by the senator Allende to the Cuban authorities, what has changed in Cuba? The leftist Elizardo Sánchez, dean of Cuba’s dissident movement and spokesman of the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCHRNR), revealed in its monthly report that 963 Cubans were arrested for political reasons in June; this number is smaller than record-setting May, when 1,120 Cuban citizens were arrested for political reasons. The total number of arbitrary arrests in the first seven months of this year is 6,556. These only included political arrests that have been thoroughly documented.
Arbitrary detention of critics of the regime has increased in recent years. The CCHRNR documented 6,424 in 2013, 6,602 in 2012, 4,123 in 2011 and 2,074 in 2010.
According to CCHRNR, the number of political prisoners in Cuba has climbed to 114. The CCDHRN includes on its list the twelve (12) dissidents sentenced in the Black Spring of 2003 and who are now out on parole, a condition that prevents them from traveling abroad.
Sonia Garro Alfonso -a member of the Ladies in White- and her husband, Ramón Alejandro Muñoz, have remained in prison for more than two years after their imprisonment and haven’t been tried. They were arrested during a crackdown preceding the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Cuba in March 2012. Dozens of independent journalists and bloggers were detained a week ahead of the visit.
The Castro’s regime violates the right of assembly established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example, the leftist historian Manuel Cuesta Morúa organized an alternative forum to the II Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). On January 26, 2014, two days before the Summit, Cuesta Morúa was arrested. After four days of confinement in a police station, the Social Democratic leader was released with the charge of “spreading false news against international peace”, requiring Cuesta Morúa to report his presence each week at the same police station where he was under arrest.
Cuba Archive has documented 166 deaths and disappearances from 7/31/2006 to 12/15/2013, that is, since Raul Castro assumed power inherited from his brother.
All this amply confirmed that the Castro dictatorship hasn’t interest in making changes that lead to a process of national reconciliation and a free society. I remind you The Leopard, written by Giuseppe Tomasi de Lampedusa: “Everything must change, so that everything can remain the same”.
Besides, the conditions in Cuba’s prisons are inhuman. The political prisoners suffer degrading treatment and torture. I invite to youto read Memory to Red Hot, by a Cuban Marxist teacher.
Cuba is the only Western country without any free elections in 66 years. It is also the only Western country where it has been illegal to be a member of the opposition since 1960, that is, for more than half century!
Moreover, in accordance with the article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
However, the Cuban government prevents me entering my own country, because I denounce the violations of human rights. I am on the blacklist of the regime, but under what law is it issued?
Tens of thousands of Cubans are prevented from entering our own country; mothers who die without ever seeing their children, grandchildren who do not know their grandparents. I have not been able to meet with the eldest of my granddaughters. This is cruel and inhuman!
As well, the need to obtain permission to leave Cuba has not disappeared completely; certain categories of Cubans continue to be subject to the same limitations in place before the migration reform was implemented by the Castro government in January 2013.
With this type of repression, the Castro’s regime has in mind to prevent the Cuban diaspora to denounce its crimes.The Castro government has developed a highly effective machinery of domination never before seen in West.
Despite that the migration is difficult, expensive and dangerous, the migration from Cuba has increased. According to the report of 2010 Census prepared by Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce of the United States, the “Cuban population increased by 44 percent, growing from 1.2 million in 2000 to 1.8 million in 2010”.
The migration from Cuba has expanded to countries other than the United States: 300,000 Cubans were living outside Cuba and the United States. Cubans were born in 138 countries during the last decade.
I hope that American left will recognize that Cubans who fought peacefully for the democratization of our country are victims of political persecution. Why did American leftists not have done a call to the government of Cuba to lift all restrictions against free movement of Cubans?
On March 13, 2009, an interview to Canek Sánchez Guevara -Cuban leftist and Che Guevara’s grandson- was published. He expressed: “the democratization process will be post-Castro… The Cuban political system has behaved like a monarchy and do not know why it is still called socialism.” Five years earlier, on October 17, 2004, in an interview published by the Mexican magazine ‘Proceso’, the eldest grandson of Che Guevara explained the real facts about Fidel Castro and his regime.
Cubans are witnessing that Canek does not lie. We suffer from the physical destruction and the anthropological damage caused to our homeland, and the brutality of the Castro’s regime –-it was declared guilty by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The eldest grandsons of Che Guevara tell inconvenient truths about of the Castro dictatorship, because he is a Cuban leftist and, as such, he speaks.
Being leftist means fighting against injustice and inequality. The left is known for its struggles aimed at achieving a more just society, where basic social rights -food, health, education, housing and employment- are fully met, and all forms of discrimination or exclusion are eradicated. In addition, the left has historically characterized by solidarity with the oppressed.
However, the cruelty of tyrants has been allowed to go on for countless decades with the support of the Western left. For example, the poets Nicolás Guillén, Rafael Alberti and Pablo Neruda wrote odes to Stalin, and they never repented. The Spanish writer Juan Benet said:
“I create firmly that while there are people like Solzhenitsin (Nobel Prize of Literature, survivor of a Soviet concentration camp) there will be concentration camps. They would even have to be better watched so that people liked him can not leave.”
Incidentally, the Castro dictatorship considers Solzhenitsin’s books subversive so, too, ‘Animal Farm’, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are many Cubans authors whose books are prohibited in Cuba; some of the best known are Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Reinaldo Arenas, Heberto Padilla, Carlos Franqui, Norberto Fuentes and Raúl Rivero Castañeda.
In the last half century the majority of the Western left had spent their lives defending or at least ignoring the brutality of the Castro’s regime. The American left has a discourse on Cuba of unlimited solidarity with the regime, appearing deaf and blind to the irrefutable allegations that have been made. For example, Noam Chomsky –who supported to the Pol Pot’s regime-, is an advocate of the Cuban dictatorship. Chomsky is the most prestigious Western apologist for Fidel Castro.
Four years ago, Haroldo Dilla Alfonso, a Cuban Marxist academic, wrote:
“To the left, the crime against Orlando Zapata Tamayo is an ultimatum. Nothing here can be justified and can only be explained as the reaction of criminal and repressive authoritarian and decadent elite that socialism tramples every day talking on their behalf, while preparing his own conversion into a new bourgeoisie”.
Why the American left continues to ignore this ethical call?