Analysis: Taste of triumph for Cuba in Geneva

Campaign News | Friday, 16 April 2004

Cuban representative wins applause

Geneva, Apr 15 (Prensa Latina) A vote pitting allies of the United States against Cuba left the Caribbean island with the taste of triumph in one of the most important moments of the UN Human Rights Commission.

The resounding applause given to the speech by Cuba?s delegation chief, Juan Antonio Fernandez, and the firm stance of China, Russia and the majority of the African nations on the commission, anticipated a close vote.

Fernandez detailed the anti-Cuban resolution, submitted by Honduras at Washington?s insistence, to condemn the Island on the issue of human rights.

For the first time in the little over one month of sessions, the hall of the Geneva Palace of Nations was practically overflowing for the controversial Article 9, and in particular, on the question of Cuba.

Ireland, for the European Union, did not surprise the auditorium by reiterating its criticism of Havana, and the US congratulation of its new pawn Honduras, for presenting its text, was even less unexpected.

Neither was the chorus following the US signal (Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica) much of a surprise.

China made an especially solid defense of Cuba when it considered the extraordinary advances in all areas of life achieved by its brave people in the 45 years of revolution, in spite of the United States blockade and pressures.

The Chinese delegate remarked that it was very sad to see the Human Rights Commission manipulated by the White House attempt at world domination, and plainly rejected the idea of making a small island the predetermined target of US presidents.

Russia, Zimbabwe, Togo, Congo and Sudan adhered to their criteria of not condemning Cuba, highlighting the solidarity of the peoples of the world with the Island and its achievements in education, health and culture and its support for human rights.

The vote, 22 in favor, 21 against and 10 abstentions, almost exactly reflected the geopolitical map of the commission: the United States, Great Britain and the European Union, accompanied by Australia and Japan in the bloc of the rich, the above-mentioned Latin American countries, and South Korea, Croatia and Sweden.

Of those abstaining, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay were most outstanding.

Voting "no" with Cuba were: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leona, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

The close result led to more congratulations to the Cuban delegation than commiseration, due to the pressure from the Miami envoys, relentless in their efforts to cause confrontations with the Cuban representatives.

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