Human Rights in Cuba

Time To Change

Waiting for help
Waiting for help

The Hallucinatory World / Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Jeovany J. Vega, Translator: Unstated

In its June 22 edition the newspaper Granma published an article from

Prensa Latina (Latin Press) entitled "UN Commends Cuba for of

Assembly" in which it expresses "its satisfaction with having been

mentioned as an example of good practices in the area of freedom of

peaceful assembly and association in the report by the UN Rapporteur for

in this area, Maina Kivi." According to Granma the Cuban

delegate,Juan Antonio Quintanilla, added that "in our country there are

many opportunities for the exercise of this right as exemplified by the

existence of more than 2,200 non-governmental organizations in the

widest variety of fields possible."

That the rapporteur stated this, that she might have written her report

in a comfortable office in Geneva or in a shady spot in Central Park, is

understandable. We are by now accustomed to such slip-ups by the UN.

Such a report or some similar resolution, dictated from one of the

organization's sterile platforms, deserves to be treated no better than

a piece of toilet paper. It is not surprising that a UN rapporteur would

babble on as much as he or she wishes on the subject of Cuba's freedom

of association, but to hear the same thing coming from the mouth of a

Cuban always leaves one quite astonished.

To be fair, it must be pointed out that the life of an official from our

emblematic MINREX (Ministry of Foreign Relations) is full of trips and

diplomatic missions.Señor Quintanillacould be so busy that it is

possible he has not been informed about the misfortune befalling a Cuban

opposition figure when he wishes to take full advantage of his right to

free association. Or perhaps he has not heard about the mobs who attack

women who defend themselves with fragile gladiolas*. Or about the

scandalous repudiation demonstrations organized by the Communist Party

and State Security which take place outside – and even inside – the

homes of many dissidents.

There certainly is no visible movement of indignados (outraged people)

here, as the Cuban delegate mentions when he refers to the protestors on

Wall Street or throughout Europe, who have been the focus of repressive

waves, which, incidentally, we know about thanks to press reports from

those countries themselves. But what the Cuban delegate knows very well

yet fails to mention is that here the matter is resolved in a much

simpler and more pragmatic way: If you try to cause similar troubles,

you will simply be detained in the very doorway of your house. You will

not be allowed to go out into the street and, to top it off, you will

have to put up with them telling you that this is being done to protect

you from the anger of an "enraged people."

As for the thousands of NGOs mentioned in Quintanilla remarks, one need

only take a quick glance to realize that they all have one element in

common. Not one has a political profile. None have the slightest

intention of questioning in any way the current system of government in

Cuba. At this stage only a crazy person would dare to deny that real

civil society exists only in a semi-clandestine form. It is not even

officially recognized by our government, which refuses to establish any

sort of dialog. The profile of each and every one of these "NGOs" has

been knowingly designed and approved under the watchful eye of the

Communist Party to reject any inconvenient proposals. To put it simply,

anyone talking about freedom of association and of an authentic civil

society which enjoys "ample freedoms for the exercise of this right" in

this one-party state is hallucinating.

*Translator's note: The writer is referring to the ,a

Cuban opposition movement consisting of the female relatives of jailed

dissidents who protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday

wearing white clothes and carrying gladiolas.

June 26 2012

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