'No human suffering is alien to us,' Cuba expresses grief at bombardment of Iraq
Campaign News | Friday, 17 March 2006
Editorial from Granma newspaper, Cuba
ON this side of the world, when all of Cuba was shouting and embracing in delight at our own victory and the moving dignity of the defeated team; when tears were falling only because we would have liked to have had Puerto Rico with us in the upcoming difficult days of the (World Baseball) Classic, at which that country fought for our presence; when it seemed that there was everything to celebrate because brotherhood was more powerful than sports rivalry... during those same hours, on the other side of the world, other human beings, alien to any feelings of coexistence in solidarity and dehumanized by a war that promised to be lighting-quick and has turned out to be infinite, were launching the heaviest bombardment of selected areas of Iraq and Afghanistan since the invasion of the former almost three years ago. Telesur showed the victims: children shot in the head there where the U.S. forces said they were hunting terrorists. CNN also covered the event, but only showed helicopters in the distance, far from the suffering, just as they have so many times, like in the movies.
It all happened hours after a cynical performance by John Bolton and Washington’s ridiculous coryphaeus in the United Nations, in voting against the establishment of a Human Rights Council that was made to measure for the empire’s interests.
As our ambassador, Rodrigo Malmierca, had charged in the UN, the new mechanism had been "conceived of and negotiated behind the scenes in order to accommodate the main demands of the United States, thus sacrificing vital interests of countries in the South." Just as the empire’s hawk had demanded, the membership was cut from 53 to 47 and a suspension clause was imposed so that nobody could limit "the pernicious and useful practice of imposing politically motivated resolutions against countries of the South, without respect for or being subject to any criterion." At the same time, "the right to development, a principal demand of the world’s great majority, was pushed aside and, in a negligent manner, the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance were all obviated." 1
Why then, the high-flown protests and negative - although necessarily isolated - votes from Washington, Israel and the imperialist colonies?
Because, in spite of so many concessions made to their demands, they were unable to guarantee the automatic exclusion from the Council of nations with the moral authority and sovereign independence of a country like Cuba. In other words, they could not impose their costliest demand: to silence those who dare to challenge imperialist censure, and prevent courageous revelations of the outrages, abuse, and flagrant and massive violations of human rights that today distinguish Washington’s foreign policies, something scandalously silenced by European complicity until Cuba’s serene, accusatory voice rang out to demand that it be discussed.
The United States wants a Council that belongs to it completely, on which those from the South are nothing but trainees, apprentices to hypocritical lessons in democracy and the silenced victims of abuse and outrage, for whom only inquisition-like condemnations are reserved if they dare to utter a complaint.
Cuba is not deceived. The fact that the European Union finally declared itself in favor of something that the United States is rejecting is more form than essence. Its representatives clarified it when explaining the vote: they consider Bolton’s arguments to be valid and will support the United States in its plan of excluding from membership of the Council those countries that are not satisfied with the remarkably hypocritical laissez-faire practice of Europe toward Washington.
And everything will be done in the name of the self-titled democracy of the leaders who are the most brutal and hardened violators of human rights of everyone on the planet.
The ferocious bombings of invaded nations, supposedly "saved for democracy" by the government of George W. Bush, are a warning and a renewed threat in relation to the U.S. reasons for wanting a Council that is completely subject to its will. The inconvenient countries are noted on all possible lists and for them, the president stated: "if necessary, under the principle of self-defense, we are not dismissing the use of force before attacks occur."
Under that premise, who would dare to tell the United States that its war is taking the world back to the darkest hours of the Nazi era? Who would dare to remind it that its bombardments of villages, cities, and families; its secret prisons; its torture and humiliations; its disappearing of human beings on illegal flights are crimes that are too similar to those that humanity put on trial in Nuremburg? Definitely, it will not be those who have remained silent in order to hide their complicity in those deeds, forgetting that back then, as well, they began by being accomplices and ended up being the victims.
The only ones who will not be silent are those who are ready to pay the price of halting via their accusations both the crime and the "laissez faire." Not even the joy of these days, during which men and women are embracing each other in a cause as wonderful and civilized as sports, can distract us from the human obligation of warning everybody that the bombs that are now falling on the other side of the world are also designed to kill that embrace that we are emotionally giving each other because of a simple baseball victory. In order to be real human beings, no human suffering can be alien to us.
1. Taken from the explanation of the vote by the Cuban ambassador to the United Nations.
New UN Human Rights body will serve US interests, warns Cuba
United Nations, Mar 15 (Prensa Latina)
Cuba warned that the resolution approving the new UN Human Rights Council, to replace the former Human Rights Commission, will not impede the superpowers" traditional maneuvers against the Third World.
Cuban Ambassador to the UN Rodrigo Malmierca said he hoped for a body that would help strengthen the international system to promote and protect human rights through genuine cooperation.
"Despite my serious reservations, but above all bearing in mind requests from many friendly delegations, Cuba will give its support vote."
Malmierca said the US and its allies are trying to impose on the new Human Rights Council the old punitive and vindictive procedures.
But the situation is worse, because it has the capacity to suspend the rights of those who question, annoy or simply dissent from the empire"s hegemonic projects.
The resolution, passed 170-4-3, does not have the balance between the negotiating parties, as many would like to pretend.
The ambassador explained, "It is the negative reflection of a unipolar world the US President George W. Bush government wants to legitimize, a world submitted to the force of power and where reason and justice would be worthless."
Cuba was not tricked by the vociferous US protests, he assured.
"The US asked for a vote, but the text was conceived and negotiated behind closed doors to adapt to US demands, sacrificing interests vital for the southern countries."
Among objections to the text, Malmierca listed reduced Council membership compared to the Commission, to the detriment of wide representation.
It also contains a clause to suspend its members activated with support of two-thirds of those present and voting, without establishing a minimum number of votes, he denounced.
"Nothing limits the negative and useful practice of imposing politically biased resolutions against the countries in the South, without respect or reliance on sound criteria," he said.
He added that the right to development, a key demand from the vast majority was ignored, as was "the struggle against racism, xenophobia, racial discrimination, and related forms of intolerance."
A council with such features will not only allow the US and its allies to act as a strong Inquisition against the peoples in the South, but will continue to grant themselves the impunity they already enjoyed with the HRC.
The Cuban diplomat denounced that the US Administration is simply trying to impose its spurious interests on the current process of reform and realignment of the UN.
Malmierca warned those "who imagine that a policy of continuous concession and appeasement will buy us time and meet the neo-conservatives" ambitions of those who stole the White House."
"They should study past experiences and evaluate the lessons from cases where the international community tolerantly and neglectfully accepted serious offenses from powers with hegemonic pretensions."
Cuba honors its duty and denounces these facts, Malmierca said, asserting that his country will open space for justice, international law, genuine dialogue and necessary international cooperation to promote and protect human rights for all the peoples and persons.