I feel that this is a very sad day, and I am finding the responses of the US, UK and EU sickening
Eh? Surely this is a good thing and a reason to be optimistic. The response of the US, EU and UK has been entirely correct, as far as I can see. Perhaps now Cuba can move away from being an isolated dictatorship.
Well, if the US stops isolating it. Come on, you can't think that disliking the leader of a country means that you can victimise its people - by that rationale you could invade Iraq because of Saddam Hussein no matter what the cost to the....oh."Perhaps now Cuba can move away from being an isolated dictatorship."
Why? The US embargo is indefensible and a few aspects of communist rule commendable(literacy rates, healthcare, at least commensurate to GDP), but that shouldn't cloud the obvious fact that Fidel is a tyrant.
I guess I have heard little to persuade me of his tyrannical nature.
Prisoners of conscience
At the end of the year, 69 prisoners of conscience continued to be held for their non-violent political views or activities. Twelve others continued to serve their sentences outside prison because of health concerns. No releases of prisoners of conscience were reported during the year.
• Orlando Zapata Tamayo was sentenced to three years in 2003 on charges of showing "contempt to the figure of Fidel Castro", "public disorder" and "resistance". In November 2005 he was reportedly sentenced to an additional 15 years for "contempt" and "resistance" in prison. In May 2006, he was again tried on the same charges and sentenced to an additional seven-year term. He was serving a prison sentence of 25 years and six months.
Detention without charge or trial
Scores of people continued to be held without charge on suspicion of counter-revolutionary activities or on unclear charges. Their legal status remained unclear at the end of the year.
• Prisoner of conscience Oscar Mariano González Pérez, an independent journalist who was arrested in July 2005 as he was about to take part in a demonstration in front of the French embassy, remained in detention without charge or trial.
Freedom of expression and association
Severe restrictions on freedom of expression and association persisted. All print and broadcast media remained under state control. There was a rise in the harassment and intimidation of independent journalists and librarians. People suspected of links with dissident groups or involved in promoting human rights were arrested and detained. There was an increase in arrests on charges of "pre-criminal dangerousness". Access to the Internet remained severely limited outside governmental offices and educational institutions. Journalist Guillermo Fariñas staged a seven-month hunger strike to obtain access to the Internet, without success.
• Armando Betancourt Reina, a freelance journalist, was arrested on 23 May as he took notes and photographs of evictions from a house in the city of Camagüey. He was charged with public disorder. Armando Betancourt was reportedly held incommunicado for a week at the police station before being transferred to Cerámica Roja prison in Camagüey on 6 June. He was awaiting trial at the end of the year.
Harassment and intimidation of dissidents and activists
There was an increase in the public harassment and intimidation of human rights activists and political dissidents by quasi-official groups in so-called acts of repudiation.
• Juan Carlos González Leiva, President of the Cuban Foundation for Human Rights, was reportedly the target of several "acts of repudiation" - involving government supporters reportedly acting with the collusion of the authorities - at his home in the city of Ciego de Avila. He and his family were repeatedly threatened by demonstrators. Juan Carlos González Leiva, who is blind, was arrested in March 2002 for "disrespect", "public disorder", "resistance" and "disobedience" and spent two years in prison without trial. In April 2004 he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment, to be served at his home.
AI country reports/visits
• Cuba: Fundamental freedoms still under attack (AI Index: AMR 25/001/2006)
• Cuba: Fear for safety/Fear of torture/intimidation/harassment - Miguel Valdés Tamayo and Juan Carlos González Leiva (AI Index: AMR 25/002/2006)
AI last visited Cuba in 1988 and has not been allowed into the country since.
Come on, you can't think that disliking the leader of a country means that you can victimise its people - by that rationale you could invade Iraq because of Saddam Hussein no matter what the cost to the....oh.
I find the complete lack of recognition for any of his achievements in any of the Western statements (as quoted in any case) shameful, and I find their arrogance and imperialist tone sickening
regardless, I don't see why that 'fact' should be the only relevant factor in how I feel about this, why any other consideration is 'clouding' the 'real' issue
Well (joking about Iraq aside) I think we're roughly in agreement here, whatever you think of Castro the US embargo is vindictive and has not achieved its aims."Actually, I'm all for the US trading like fuck with all three states in the "Axis of Evil" -- quickest route to regime change known to man is rising expectations."
Yeah, well you and the rest of the SWP can keep believing in the "acheivements" of Castro (though you don't mention any)
Ian Gibson said:The UN recently announced that Cuba is the only country in Latin America that has no malnutrition. The World Health Organisation reports that the Cuban doctor-patient ratio is 1:170, better than the US average of 1:188. In addition, WHO has commended Cuba for outstanding literacy levels and rates of infant mortality and life expectancy that outstrip Washington DC - despite 45 years of an illegal economic blockade imposed by successive US administrations. Cuba's international activities also deserve recognition. It is operating humanitarian missions in 68 countries and, in 2005 alone, 1,800 doctors from 47 developing countries graduated in Cuba under a free scholarship scheme.
pity that they come at the expense of freedom and dignity for Cuba.
Vimothy, you have to admit that Cuba's poverty is due in no small part to the US's embargo. And the US trades with countries with human rights records way worse than Cuba's, doesn't it?
Well, my point is that Castro is wrong, should the US punish the Cubans? However bad Castro's economics may or may not be the US embargo makes the situation worse, that shouldn't be controversial should it?"One has to wonder why Cuba, a socialist republic, would want to trade with the capitalist wolf-at-the-door US, and what possible need Cuba might have for goods produced in the US given the "achievements" of Castro."
Except the US also punishes anyone who deals with Cuba."Cuba can actually purchase food and medicine from the US, and can easily buy what it wants with the product of its well functioning economy from someone else."
Well, my point is that Castro is wrong, should the US punish the Cubans? However bad Castro's economics may or may not be the US embargo makes the situation worse, that shouldn't be controversial should it?
Except the US also punishes anyone who deals with Cuba.
Well, I used to go out with a girl who worked for American Express, when she wanted to buy tickets to Cuba with her Amex card it wasn't allowed, that's the kind of thing I mean. I don't know what the effects of this are in total but I know that pressure is brought to bear on companies that deal in the US not to deal with Cuba."Got details? Be really interested to read a good economics paper on the effect of the embargo on Cuba and current levels of trade."
OK, so that much we agree on. Why are the US so vindictive towards Cuba out of all the dictatorships in the world? I reckon it's because it is (nominally at least) a Communist dictatorship."It definitely doesn't make the situation better"
Maybe, but to turn round what you said before, if the US are so confident that the ideology is flawed they should let it fail on its own terms without giving them the excuse of a trade embargo."but the idea that the US embargo is the cause of Cuban poverty rather than corruption and economic failure is simply wrong"
Well, I used to go out with a girl who worked for American Express, when she wanted to buy tickets to Cuba with her Amex card it wasn't allowed, that's the kind of thing I mean. I don't know what the effects of this are in total but I know that pressure is brought to bear on companies that deal in the US not to deal with Cuba.
OK, so that much we agree on. Why are the US so vindictive towards Cuba out of all the dictatorships in the world? I reckon it's because it is (nominally at least) a Communist dictatorship.
Maybe, but to turn round what you said before, if the US are so confident that the ideology is flawed they should let it fail on its own terms without giving them the excuse of a trade embargo.
US official documents that have been recently been declassified show that, between October 1960 and April 1961, the CIA smuggled in 75 tons of explosives into Cuba during 30 clandestine air operations, and infiltrated 45 tons of weapons and explosives during 31 sea incursions. Also during that short seven-month time span, the CIA carried out 110 attacks with dynamite, planted 200 bombs, derailed six trains and burned 150 factories and 800 plantations.
Between 1959 and 1997, the United States carried out 5,780 terrorist actions against Cuba – 804 of them considered as terrorist attacks of significant magnitude, including 78 bombings against the civil population that caused thousands of victims.
Terrorist attacks against Cuba have cost 3,478 lives and have left 2,099 people permanently disabled. Between 1959 and 2003, there were 61 hijackings of planes or boats. Between 1961 and 1996, there were 58 attacks from the sea against 67 economic targets and the population.
The CIA has directed and supported over 4,000 individuals in 299 paramilitary groups. They are responsible for 549 murders and thousands of people wounded.
In 1971, after a biological attack, half a million pigs had to be killed to prevent the spreading of swine fever. In 1981, the introduction of dengue fever caused 344,203 victims killing 158 of whom 101 were children. On July 6th, 1982, 11,400 cases were registered in one day alone.
Most of these aggressions were prepared in Florida by the CIA-trained and financed extreme right wing of Cuban origin.
Fabian Escalante, who, for a time, had the job of keeping El Commandante alive, has calculated that there have been a total of 638 attempts on Castro's life. That may sound like a staggeringly high figure, but then the CIA were pretty keen on killing him. As Wayne Smith, former head of the US interests section in Havana, pointed out recently, Cuba had the effect on the US that a full moon has on a werewolf. It seems highly likely that if the CIA had had access to a werewolf, it would have tried smuggling it into the Sierra Maestra at some point over the past 40-odd years.
After a year-long investigation, the American Association for World Health has determined that the U.S. embargo of Cuba has dramatically harmed the health and nutrition of large numbers of ordinary Cuban citizens. As documented by the attached report, it is our expert medical opinion that the U.S. embargo has caused a significant rise in suffering-and even deaths-in Cuba. For several decades the U.S. embargo has imposed significant financial burdens on the Cuban health care system. But since 1992 the number of unmet medical needs patients going without essential drugs or doctors performing medical procedures without adequate equipment-has sharply accelerated. This trend is directly linked to the fact that in 1992 the U.S. trade embargo-one of the most stringent embargoes of its kind, prohibiting the sale of food and sharply restricting the sale of medicines and medical equipment-was further tightened by the 1992 Cuban Democracy Act.
A humanitarian catastrophe has been averted only because the Cuban government has maintained a high level of budgetary support for a health care system designed to deliver primary and preventive health care to all of its citizens. Cuba still has an infant mortality rate half that of the city of Washington, D.C.. Even so, the U.S. embargo of food and the de facto embargo on medical supplies has wreaked havoc with the island's model primary health care system. The crisis has been compounded by the country's generally weak economic resources and by the loss of trade with the Soviet bloc.
Agreed, and also proximity, IMO.
An interesting fact about Cuba that is rarely mentioned is that is the worlds number one victim of international terrorism: