Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. -

March 28, 1999.


HAVANA - Human rights matters abound in the world, while NATO missiles rained over Serbia and in London the Chamber of the Lords deliberated on Gen. Agusto Pinochet's lack of inmunity. The center of the human rights questions is found in Geneva, where a Cuban delegation participates in the 55th session on the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

The Cuban theme is particularly cogent this year after the repressive offensive recently declared by the Havana regime. In 1998, Fidel Castro's government came out of the commission with a clean tag of "non-violators" regarding the Human Rights debates. Aside from the manipulations carried out by many on both sides as to the internal situation in Cuba, the fact is that there are many important topics before the 55th session under the presidency of an Irish woman, Anne Anderson: Kosovo, Turkey, the Kurdish minority, Burma, Iran, Tibet, Algeria...the derogation of the death penalty in the United States.

The U.N. High Commisioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, sets up as a priority of concern the policies showing an increase in brutality throughout the world; the threat that wars represent to individual liberties; the impotence of the international community against regional conflicts as well as themes previously marginal such as racism, torture and the denial of women's rights.

In that context of priority violations the Cuban problem becomes a circumscribed concern of Cuba, the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean basin and Spain, for obvious geographical political, cultural and historical reasons. As long as the repression in Cuba is limited to laws, threats, accusations, hostilities, arrests, spying, telephone surveillance, fines, home imprisonment and jailings...we Cubans will have to figure out our problems on our own.

It would be another matter if the government were to start strangling dissidents in the middle of the streets, as they have done to intellectuals in Iran or if paramilitary forces would start kidnapping and causing the disappearance of any opponents, other nationals or foreigners, as is happening in some countries...

As the Geneva meeting began, the attention of some of the world was focused on the Pinochet affair. Should he be extradited for judgement in Spain or returned to Chile. The precedent is already set: Sooner or later, any major violator of Human Rights in this planet may find himself in the seat of the accused.

Also in parallel, on this tropical and surrealistic island, on Sunday March 28, two "mano-a-mano" (face-to-face) meetings take place in different settings and times.

These are controversial sessions of North American and Cuban musicians and the first of two matches between a Major League baseball team (the Orioles) and a selection from the Cuban "National Amateurs" leagues. For the majority of the Cuban people both events send a good signal. After all, Cubans and Americans must come to understand each other, if not in our politics, at least through our culture and sports.

By Tania Quintero, Cuba Free Press.

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