Cuba rejects Human Rights resolution

Campaign News | Thursday, 18 March 2004

Speech by Cuban foreign minister at UN Human Rights Commission


Geneva, 17 March 2004

Mr. Chairman:

For 17 years now, Cuba has been waging a battle at the Commission on Human Rights against the cynical attempts by the US Government to condemn it.

In the early 80s, the far right - that was getting ready to assume power with Ronald Reagan at the forefront - criticized President Carter in the famous Santa Fé Document through the following words: “Curiously,” they said, “the current Administration has not seriously attempted to enforce its human rights doctrine against Castro’s Cuba?” Thence was born the idea - strictly enforced until today - of seeking Cuba’s condemnation in Geneva to justify the 45 years of blockade and aggressions that the United States has imposed on the Cuban people.

Thus, in 1987, the United States submitted to this Commission a draft resolution that was defeated.

In 1988 and 1989, it could not impose on the Commission the condemnation of Cuba. We were not yet living in a unipolar world, governed by the interests and whims of a superpower, whose President - not elected, by the way, but appointed by the Republican majority of the Supreme Court - has taken the liberty to put the following dilemma to the rest of the world: you are either with the United States or on the side of terrorism.

It was only in 1990, amid the upheaval of what had been the socialist bloc - when the end of history was proclaimed and the enemies of the Cuban Revolution celebrated in advance what they thought was the inevitable fall of Socialist Cuba - that the United States could, with the assistance of lackey governments, impose for the first time ever a resolution against Cuba at this Commission.

Those were rough years, but the Cuban people, with the leadership of Fidel, did not surrender, did not relinquish its fight for Cuba and for all those who in the world defend both justice and freedom, for all those who believe that a better world is possible. Cuba’s dignified endurance against the disgrace and the lies started to earn recognition and support among the members of the Commission, until the attempt to hold our country in condemnation was unmistakably defeated in 1998.

The United States, chagrined and debased, sought to disguise its anti-Cuban scheme in 1999. Then, it instructed the Government of the Czech Republic - who else but such a despicable lackey? - to officially submit the US text, while the superpower, amid enormous pressures, threats and blackmails, managed to get the minimum margin of votes for a ridiculous condemnation of Cuba. Amid the scorn and the disrepute, the farce lasted until 2001.

But in 2002, the Czech Government already refused to continue playing the disgusting role of Washington’s toady. The peoples in Latin America, in turn, demanded that their governments did not join the condemnation of Cuba and refrain from becoming accessories to the aggression and the blockade against the small country by the powerful and rapacious attacker. To top it off, the Bush Administration, so shamelessly hypocritical and cynical, had been excluded from the Commission on Human Rights. After hectic and desperate actions, that Cuba is fully aware of, it was the turn of the Governments of Uruguay and Peru to then play that infamous role against the will of their peoples.

We all remember how last year the US Ambassador stated: “I agree with anything that means the condemnation of Cuba.” Seldom did this Commission have so much fun with the ridicule and the imposture of the superpower - which, if there were an ounce of justice and credibility in this forum, would stand accused for its crimes and the haughty violation of every one else’s right.

That has been the story. And what will happen this year? Will the US Government refrain from fabricating Cuba’s condemnation? Impossible. It needs it to justify its ruthless blockade and its plans of military aggression.

Will the European Union finally face the US attempt to condemn Cuba? No, I do not think so. And we all know why. Some will say it is because of ancient wisdom. Others know it is because of hypocrisy and double standards. Will it then present a resolution condemning the human rights violations, even of European citizens, at the concentration camp that the United States built in the territory illegally occupied by its naval base in Guantánamo? No, I do not think so either. Will it by any chance denounce the serious human rights violations being committed against the five Cuban political prisoners sentenced to several life imprisonments in US jails and the impossibility of contacts with their relatives? No, it will not do it. Whoever does not have the courage to stand up to the unilateral hegemony of the superpower should at least remain silent and not act as an accessory to the aggression against Cuba. It should defend the right of the small besieged country instead of befriending the irrational hatred of the aggressor.

Who will be the new pawn at the service of the imperial master? Rumor has it that it will be Costa Rica. Out of a commitment to the cause of human rights? No. Let us recall that it does not vote against the appalling human rights violations and the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. Let us recall that Costa Rica transferred its Embassy to Jerusalem. Would Costa Rica present a resolution condemning the death penalty against minors, women and mental patients in the United States? No, it will not do it.

Therefore, by mid-April once again, this Commission will be faced with the dilemma of condemning Cuba or defending the right to independence, self- determination and development of a noble and generous people that has never been absent when it has been necessary to fight for a just cause in the world; a people that fought apartheid; a people that always supported those who fought the bloody military dictatorships sponsored by the United States in Latin America; a people that has graduated from its intermediate- and higher-level schools over 41,000 youths from 123 countries; a people that today has more than 15,000 doctors working in 65 nations of the Third World.

Mr. Chairman:

Cuba rejects the idea that this is only a “procedural resolution.” That is a lie! Everybody knows that the United States will proclaim it as the condemnation of Cuba. We all know that it allows keeping the so-called “Cuba Issue” on the agenda.

I also reject the allegation that Cuba has not cooperated with the Commission. In 1988, Cuba received a delegation from the Commission on Human Rights; in 1994, it received the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has not yet been able to go to the United States; in 1995, it received a delegation of human rights NGOs organized by Danielle Mitterrand; and in 1999, it received two rapporteurs from this Commission.

Why should there be a resolution asking Cuba to accept a Personal Representative of the High Commissioner if no representative is appointed to investigate the crimes and the human rights violations committed by the US occupying forces in Iraq?

Cuba does not accept being accused at this Commission in a high-handed, politicized and discriminatory manner. It does not accept the fact that only Third World countries are always the accused at this Commission.

Cuba does not accept, therefore, the request to receive a representative of the High Commissioner. It is nothing personal against the appointed official. It is against the spurious mandate that brought such request into being.

We also reject the politicized and partial report distributed by the Personal Representative of the High Commissioner. She has ended up acting as an instrument at the service of the US Government.

Cuba vindicates the right to enforce its laws to defend itself from the aggression. Cuba vindicates its right to prosecute the mercenaries that cooperate with the blockade and the aggressive policy of the superpower that wishes to reconquer and subdue its people.

Cuba will not surrender, Excellencies, or accept pressures or fall for naiveté.

Let the attacker be condemned and not the attacked! Let the blockade, the lies and the aggression against Cuba come to an end!

Thank you very much!

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