In advance of President Barack Obama's historic visit to Cuba on March 22, there is speculation about whether he can pressure Cuba to improve its human rights. But a comparison of Cuba's human rights record with that of the United States shows that the US should be taking lessons from Cuba.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains two different categories of human rights - civil and political rights on the one hand; and economic, social and cultural rights on the other.
As a person of Cuban heritage, I was grew up being told that Fidel was Hitler with a beard - evil incarnate. However, having grown up as a Latino in the US, learning about the inherent unsustainable and plutocratic nature of capitalism, working on projects in several Latin American countries, and visiting Cuba, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the Cuban revolution and the Cuban revolutionaries.
Today, Democrat leaders, such as Hillary Clinton, and Republican leaders continue to bash the Cuban revolution. Such dissembling denigrate the advances the Cuban people have made following their revolution and whitewashes the human rights violations the US political/economic system inflicts on the poor, people of color, women, etc.
On the other hand, the Cuban implementation of socialism has not been perfect. Cuban dissidents have valid critiques. The Cuban government continues overly repressive practices and decision making continues to be overly centralized and undemocratic. Cuba continues to be a work in progress. Nonetheless, even many of the dissidents are not proposing completely abandoning advances of socialism and the embrace of US style capitalism. The path Cuba will take in the future is for the Cuban people to decide. Despite the unquestioning assumption of establishment political leaders in the US, the US government is not entitled to dictate the changes that will take place in Cuba.
Our Cuban policy is caught up in our historical vision of US domination over the entire Western hemisphere.
Unfortunately, Obama and former secretary Clinton now have fresh blood on their hands in Honduras-- for all the reasons Castro threw out Batista in 1959. Clinton's support of the Honduran coup in 2009 illustrates this domination.
Seems there's little difference between her and Dick Cheney. Except that "democracy" is the name of a lipstick color for pigs.
Follow the stories below. First, review one of Ms Cohn's subpoints;
"But the US refuses to ratify the ICESCR. Since the Reagan administration, it has been US policy to define human rights only as civil and political rights. Economic, social and cultural rights are dismissed as akin to social welfare, or socialism."
The hypocrisy of demonizing Cuba is nothing new. In 1898, the false flag of the Maine and the invasion of Cuba on false pretexts, was just another raid by the oligarchy and its multi-national corporations. These corporations continued to rape Cuban resources, like sugar, for the next 6 decades.
When Castro threw out the American puppet Batista, that put an end to the rape and pillage of the Cuban people. And one can argue that communism is a horrible form of government, but that was a red herring used by the oligarchs, to invade Cuba's Bay of Pigs. Like all propaganda, the oligarchs could care less about the people or what type of government a country has! Castro and communism; whether one argues it is good or bad, one thing for sure: it was bad for the oligarchs and their multi-national corporations!
Whenever I say these things about Cuba, people retort that "it's a dictatorship that imprisons its critics". Thank you for this article, which echoes everything I have gone on believing despite stupid or misinformed one-argument Americans afraid of anything that can be labeled socialism. One other thing, art, music, dance and design have all flourished during the embargo and will now probably be overwhelmed with the trash we call culture in the US.
Human rights is just so 1970s. The US has its own "standards." Think about it. The UDHR states that all people -- even the jobless poor -- have fundamental human rights to food and shelter. Americans disagree. My gosh, we know that not everyone can work (health, etc.) and that there aren't jobs for all, but when was the last time you heard even liberals call for restoring basic poverty relief?
Americans do believe that many people don't qualify for human rights protections.
" The US embargo of Cuba, now a blockade, The United States should lift the blockade."
The prof is either lying or is totally ignorant (probably the former). There hasn't been a blockade of Cuba since the missile crisis in 1962. The Soviet Union was shipping goods and propping up Cuba's economy until it collapsed in 1991. Everyone is free to trade with Cuba except the US who has an embargo on buying stuff from Cuba so as to deny them hard currency. The US is Cuba's 6th largest trading partner.
One thing keeps puzzling me. If Cuba is this island paradise why do people get on rafts made from inner tubes and try to get to the US? Boats should be leaving Miami daily with people trying to flee to Cuba.
BTW prof, taking advantage of American's well known ignorance of foreign affairs won't score you any points with the ones that actually have an idea of what's going on.
Timely to recall the CIA/JCS/DoD approved Lyman Lemnitzer's "Operation Northwoods" a false flag operation to conduct terrorist atrocities, bombs etc. on US soil and to blame it all on Cuban "terrorists" in order to galvanise the US Public for war with Cuba. (Sounds a bit like the transformative effect of the "surprise attack" on Pearl Harbor which immediately had a pacifist Isolationist US public baying for war and revenge thus entry into WWII). War against tiny Cuba would have quickly escalated to war with Russia and nuclear Armageddon. And this is what was desired since the US would "win". When JFK asked about Russian deaths, they said about 100 million. Any US deaths - only 20 million. And this is winning? JFK left the room in disgust saying "And we call ourselves the Human Race?". Apologies if I have conflated 2 different meetings. But the point is, the only voice of sanity who vetoed Northwoods was JFK. All his other military, political and intelligence advisers had signed their approval. JFK had no choice but to use back channels to normalise relations with Cuba, no doubt regarded as yet more treachery on his part. How dare the President advocate for Peace, Justice and Humanity?
What A laugh- Obama to criticize Cuba on Human Rights!!! "The Obama administration has been carrying out an unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers, particularly on those who have divulged information that relates to national security. The Espionage Act, enacted during the first World War to punish Americans who aided the enemy, had only been used three times in its history to try government officials accused of leaking classified information — until the Obama administration. Since 2009, the administration has used the act to prosecute six government officials. Meet the whistleblowers.
Thomas Drake- Thomas Drake is a former senior executive at the NSA who was charged under the Espionage Act for the unauthorized “willful retention” of classified documents. Drake’s problems with the agency started when he found himself on the minority side of a debate about two new tools for collecting intelligence from digital sources. One program, called Trailblazer, was being built by an outside contractor for $1.2 billion; the other, known as ThinThread, was created in-house by a legendary crypto-mathematician named Bill Binney for about $3 million. Then, in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11 2001, the NSA, with the approval of the Bush administration, began the illegal warrantless surveillance of American citizens. This did not sit well with Drake, who says that during his time in the Air Force, where he also did surveillance work, the imperative to protect American’s privacy was drilled into him. “If you accidentally intercepted U.S. persons, there were special procedures to expunge it.” Stephen Jin-Woo Kim
In 2010, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a specialist in nuclear proliferation who worked as a contractor for the State Department, pleaded not guilty to charges of leaking information about North Korea to Fox News. He was indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, but the case has not yet been brought to trial. Fox journalist James Rosen, with whom Kim had been in touch in the past, reported in 2009 that North Korea would likely test another nuclear missile in reaction to a pending United Nations Security Council resolution condemning its nuclear tests. The Justice Department said Kim was Fox’s source.
John Kiriakou- John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for giving journalists the names of two former colleagues who interrogated detainees using harsh practices including waterboarding. Kiriakou became central to the debate surrounding interrogation tactics in 2007 with an interview on ABC News. By then, he had left the CIA and was working at the auditing firm Deloitte. "Like a lot of Americans, I'm involved in this internal, intellectual battle with myself weighing the idea that waterboarding may be torture versus the quality of information that we often get after using the waterboarding technique, and I struggle with it," he said in his ABC interview. He suggested that our country should abandon the technique because "we're Americans and we're better than this.
Shami K. Leibowitz- Shamai K. Leibowitz, a former FBI Hebrew translator and the grandson of Israeli philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, pleaded guilty to leaking classified information before a judge who later said he did not know exactly what Leibowitz had disclosed — just that it was a “very, very serious offense.” Leibowitz was sentenced to 20 months in prison. Leibowitz had leaked 200 pages of transcribed conversations recorded by FBI wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington. They documented discussions embassy officials had with American supporters of Israel and at least one member of Congress — and a discussion among Israeli officials in which they worry that their exchanges might be monitored. The leak was to a blogger, Richard Silverstein, who writes the blog Tikun Olam promoting peace between Israel and Palestine and monitoring U.S. government overreach. Silverstein burned the transcripts when Leibowitz came under investigation. In an interview with The New York Times, Silverstein said that Leibowitz released the transcripts because of Israel’s aggressive attempts to influence public opinion in the U.S., and because Leibowitz worried that Israel would take what he saw as the potentially disastrous step of bombing nuclear facilities Iran. “I should not have done what I did,” Leibowitz said at his sentencing, “and I regret it terribly.”
Pfc. Bradley Manning- Pfc. Bradley Manning admitted to leaking 700,000 government documents to Wikileaks, including videos of air strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq in which civilians were killed. Manning said one of the videos, from 2007, was particularly disturbing to him — it showed American Apache helicopters killing a dozen people in Baghdad, including twoReuters journalists, and then opening fire on a van that arrived to help the victims. Manning noted the “seemingly delightful blood lust” of the airmen. Manning said in February that his goal in releasing the materials was to show the public “what happens and why it happens.” “I believed if the public — in particular the American public — had access to the information” in the reports, “this could spark a debate about foreign policy in relation to Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/6-brave-govt-whistleblowers-charged-under-espionage-act-obamas-administration * And then there are Edward Snowden, Juliene Assange, Michael Hastings (deceased),
Edward Snowden: An Ex-CIA and NSA analyst working subcontract for Booz Allen Hamilton, Snowden blew the lid off the NSA's illegal spying on innocent citizens.
Ladar Levinson: Secure email provider who refused to be bullied by the Obama Administration's NSA Witch-Hunt On Edward Snowden. Rather than hand over everyone's private emails, on August 8, 2013, Lavabit suspended its operations, and the email service log-in page was replaced by a message from the owner and operator Ladar Levison.[ Wayne Madsen: Ex-NSA analyst who turned whistleblower and became an investigative reporter. Broke major stories the MSM wouldn't cover like Obama's CIA family and employment. Also Dick Cheney's suspected involvement in missing nukes mounted and armed on B-52's and flown over the United States before the Iran invasion was called off. Ruined the careers of many USAF officers when the coverup was exposed by him. He has had to leave the US due to harassment by Federal Agencies.
Russell Tice: (NSA Whistleblower who, in 2006, claimed the NSA was wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and that the Bush Administration was engaging in illegal Warrantless Wiretaps on innocent Americans), Thomas Drake, (High-level ranking NSA official who reported government waste and illegal data collection by the "Trailblazer" program. FBI raided his home and retroactively classifed documents in his home that were not classified),
William Binney: NSA whistleblower raided by FBI. During interviews on Democracy Now! in April and May 2012 with elaboration in July 2012 at 2600's hacker conference HOPE and at DEF CON a couple weeks later, Binney repeated estimates that the NSA (particularly its Stellar Wind project) had intercepted 20 trillion communications "transactions" of Americans such as phone calls, emails, and other forms of data (but not including financial data). This includes most of the emails of US citizens. Binney disclosed in a sworn affidavit for Jewel v. NSA that the agency was "purposefully violating the Constitution".
Scott Ritter: United Nations Weapons Inspector (former USMC ballistic missile expert) who blew the whistle on fake WMD intel claims leading the US into war on false pretence. Decried Bush Administration dishonesty in pretending that his investigations were proof of WMDs, when in fact he found none in Iraq. His disclosures to the press about the Administration cooking the intelligence to steal oil in Iraq and Haliburton extracting Natural Gas in Iran (in violation of Sanctions), caused repeated police sex stings against him, where he was repeatedly the target of undercover on-line sex solicitors who later revealed they were underage, according to wiki.
Citizen Alert! Disturbing Russel Tice Report: NSA Whistleblower: NSA Spying On – and Blackmailing – Top Government Officials and Military Officers Posted on June 20, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog Whistleblower Says Spy Agency Targeting Top American Leaders NSA whistleblower Russel Tice – a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping – told Peter B. Collins on Boiling Frogs Post (the website of FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds): Tice: Okay. They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial. But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people. They went after antiwar groups. They went after U.S. international–U.S. companies that that do international business, you know, business around the world. They went after U.S. banking firms and financial firms that do international business. They went after NGOs that–like the Red Cross, people like that that go overseas and do humanitarian work. They went after a few antiwar civil rights groups. So, you know, don’t tell me that there’s no abuse, because I’ve had this stuff in my hand and looked at it. And in some cases, I literally was involved in the technology that was going after this stuff. And you know, when I said to [former MSNBC show host Keith] Olbermann, I said, my particular thing is high tech and you know, what’s going on is the other thing, which is the dragnet. The dragnet is what Mark Klein is talking about, the terrestrial dragnet. Well my specialty is outer space. I deal with satellites, and everything that goes in and out of space. I did my spying via space. So that’s how I found out about this. Collins: Now Russ, the targeting of the people that you just mentioned, top military leaders, members of Congress, intelligence community leaders and the–oh, I’m sorry, it was intelligence committees, let me correct that–not intelligence community, and then executive branch appointees. This creates the basis, and the potential for massive blackmail. Tice: Absolutely! And remember we talked about that before, that I was worried that the intelligence community now has sway over what is going on. Now here’s the big one. I haven’t given you any names. This was is summer of 2004. One of the papers that I held in my hand was to wiretap a bunch of numbers associated with, with a 40-something-year-old wannabe senator from Illinois. You wouldn’t happen to know where that guy lives right now, would you? It’s a big white house in Washington, DC. That’s who they went after. And that’s the president of the United States now.
Other whistleblowers say the same thing. When the former head of the NSA’s digital spying program – William Binney – disclosed the fact that the U.S. was spying on everyone in the U.S. and storing the data forever, and that the U.S. was quickly becoming a totalitarian state, the Feds tried to scare him into shutting up: [Numerous] FBI officers held a gun to Binney’s head as he stepped naked from the shower. He watched with his wife and youngest son as the FBI ransacked their home. Later Binney was separated from the rest of his family, and FBI officials pressured him to implicate one of the other complainants in criminal activity. During the raid, Binney attempted to report to FBI officials the crimes he had witnessed at NSA, in particular the NSA’s violation of the constitutional rights of all Americans. However, the FBI wasn’t interested in these disclosures. Instead, FBI officials seized Binney’s private computer, which to this day has not been returned despite the fact that he has not been charged with a crime. Other NSA whistleblowers have also been subjected to armed raids and criminal prosecution. After high-level CIA officer John Kiriakou blew the whistle on illegal CIA torture, the government prosecuted him for espionage. Even the head of the CIA was targeted with extra-constitutional spying and driven out of office. Indeed, Binney makes it very clear that the government will use information gained from its all-pervasive spying program to frame anyone it doesn’t like. Retired high-level CIA analyst Ray McGovern – the top CIA briefer to numerous presidents – said this a few weeks ago on a radio program: Which leads to the question, why would [Obama] do all these things? Why would he be afraid for example, to take the drones away from the CIA? Well, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s afraid. Number one, he’s afraid of what happened to Martin Luther King Jr. And I know from a good friend who was there when it happened, that at a small dinner with progressive supporters – after these progressive supporters were banging on Obama before the election, “Why don’t you do the things we thought you stood for?” Obama turned sharply and said, “Don’t you remember what happened to Martin Luther King Jr.?” That’s a quote, and that’s a very revealing quote. McGovern also said: In a speech on March 21, second-term Obama gave us a big clue regarding his concept of leadership – one that is marked primarily by political risk-avoidance and a penchant for “leading from behind”: “Speaking as a politician, I can promise you this: political leaders will not take risks if the people do not demand that they do. You must create the change that you want to see.” John Kennedy was willing to take huge risks in reaching out to the USSR and ending the war in Vietnam. That willingness to take risks may have gotten him assassinated, as James Douglass argues in his masterful JFK and the Unspeakable. Martin Luther King, Jr., also took great risks and met the same end. There is more than just surmise that this weighs heavily on Barack Obama’s mind. Last year, pressed by progressive donors at a dinner party to act more like the progressive they thought he was, Obama responded sharply, “Don’t you remember what happened to Dr. King?” ***From Thomas Jefferson, CD Poster extraordinare's site: http://thehalloffame.wikidot.com/ ***Covering up the TRUTH about Naked Emperors banging the living HELL out of Liberty and Lady Justice does get messy!!!!!
Thank you HistoryPilot, l try to always respond in support of the JFK White House, because for me that was the last truly intelligent administration in my experience. I'd like to see Bernie in that role (President) but that doesn't seem likely this morning.