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Cuban dissidents report crackdown on Human Rights Day

All Cubans are equal but some Cubans are more equal than others, they say

 

Reuters’ Daniel Trotta and Nelson Acosta report: International Human Rights Day in Cuba resulted in 100 arrested.

The International Human Rights Day celebrated worldwide on December 10th, this year in Havana, Cuba, brought more detentions than freedom. Cuban police reports that at least six protesters were arrested while declaring “Long live human rights!” and “Freedom.” Although nationwide demonstrations are quite natural at the Human Rights Day, some citizens filed their complaints to the police against the Ladies in White dissident group whose members were shortly after arrested by police officers for disrupting public order.

The situation unraveled in typical way: pro-government counterdemonstrators pushed police to haul the human rights protesters away without even letting them reach their final meeting point: several dissidents said that they were restrained at home or on their way to the demonstration. The dissidents’ leader estimated that the nationwide number of detentions, which so far has reached 100, may  double in the next few days.

The spokespersons of the Cuban government assumed that the demonstration was paid for by the U.S. authorities. “Its critics on human rights overlook Cuba's guaranteed healthcare and education,” say Acosta and Trotta. The Western Human rights group Amnesty International stated that the number of previous detentions based on political reasons increased; in November alone, 1,477 people were arrested during  demonstrations. Human rights leaders believe that police aggression towards dissident groups such as Ladies in White and Patriotic Union of Cuba has significantly risen in recent days. They report that six homes that serve as offices for Patriotic Union have been searched and computers and documents have been expropriated.

Trotta and Acosta provided a quote of Orlando Rivero, a supposedly uninvolved retired teacher who eyewitnessed the conflict: "I don't criticize the Ladies in White, nor the Cuban government either. Differences of ideas should be respected. Cuba is a country that respects human rights, but the ideas of the dissidents should be respected as well."

EXPERT OPINION

Joshua Tartakovsky

It has only been since mid-August when the United States opened its embassy in Havana as part of the negotiation process with the Republic of Cuba.  Four months later and the US-supported “dissidents” try to stage protests, which are by no means popular in Cuba, against the widely supported government of the Revolution. One should be reminded that throughout the existence of the revolutionary government of Cuba, there have never been incidents of Cuban police firing at protesters, of dissidents killed or tortured, and of massive protests against the government.  In the United States, the police frequently cracked down with great brutality on protesters.  The American police also shot to death Black people often. Protesters are beaten. Not in Cuba. It just never happened. That is because the Cuban Revolution is genuinely popular among the vast majority of the people, and because most Cubans know well enough than to trust “dissident” counterrevolutionary groups which are given their monthly salaries by the US State Department , other US governmental organs, or sponsors of Cuban terrorists in Miami. The “Ladies in White” (Damas de Blanco) group cited in the article is also sponsored by the  Legal Aid foundation in Miami,  run by  Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña, who provides it with $1,500 a month. He also sponsored Luis Posada Carriles, an anti-Cuban government convicted terrorist, who brought down the Air Cubana flight, killing 73 people and now resides freely in Miami. Charges were never brought against him in the United States. Santiago Alvarez Fernández-Magriña was also convicted of sending people to place bombs in clubs in Havana. Posada Carriles marched in support of the “Ladies in White” along with Gloria Estefan.  Why would Cubans support an organization that seeks to undermine their popular government and that is supported by terrorists who sought to kill as many Cubans as possible? The Cuban government traditionally allows “Ladies in White” to protest, although they are a deeply despised group in Cuba. When they seek provocations, they usually are arrested. Most people in Cuba know that “Ladies in White” are not an authentic protest movement but are paid on a monthly basis by the US or US-friendly bodies. The group gets a lot of money in a country where the average monthly salary is $20. That is why it is usually citizens themselves who seek to put an end to their protests. The attempts at staging unpopular protests and the reported large number of 100 detainees, indicate that the US is not stopping its sabotage efforts against Cuba even while talks are being held and after it opened an embassy. In fact, it may be intensifying them.

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