Human Rights Watch and

Cuba's Castro Pretext

It is significant that the recent report by HRW proposes the unconditional
lifting of the embargo using as an argument that this serves the tyranny, for
they use it as an excuse to continue suffocating the Cuban population. If
this were to be an excuse as HRW states, then the logical thing to do is to
undertake the task of categorically denouncing it publicly calling upon the
Communist regime in order for them not to use this as a pretext to justify
their crimes

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has just published the document-report "Cuba’s Repressive Machinery." This is an indicting book with 291 pages, 2 chapters, and 3 appendixes that
constitutes one of the most systematic efforts in recent history to denounce
the repressive nature of the Communist dictatorship. HRW's magnifying glass
specially examines the Communist legislation (Constitution, Penal Code,
Foreign Investment Law, National Independence Protection Law); in the "forms"
and "tactics" that on a daily basis the persecution manifest itself against
the defenseless population; in the harsh treatments and tortures perpetrated
against the political captives jailed in Cuban prisons, etc.

But if this report deserves to be praised for denouncing the oppressive
reality of the island-prison, it raises more than one objection for some of
their "recommendations" regarding the "policies" of the international
community towards Cuba.

HRW proposes an unconditional lifting of the USA embargo, arguing that this
has become counterproductive because it gives a 'pretext' to the Cuban regime
to continue their repressive acts. Now then, a "pretext" is an alleged reason
given by someone to cloak the real intention that motivates him. In dictator
Fidel Castro's case, that intention is clear: the perpetuation, at any price,
of the ominous Communist regime. Because of this, we must question HRW's
proposal to lift the embargo when they themselves recognize that in effect
this is a "pretext" used by the tyranny. Therefore, the logical thing to do
would be to openly challenge the Communist regime by asking them to desist in
utilizing this as an excuse to justify its crimes.

It is also significant that the HRW's report points out "the severe impact of
the embargo to the Cuban population," when at the same time it omits any
references to the real reason of the misery in Cuba, which is a collectivist
system that negates private property, and sequesters any semblance of free
initiative by all individuals.

The obvious truth, so many times brushed aside, is that Cuba's maladies are
fundamentally caused by the "internal embargo" of more than 40 years imposed
by the communist regime to the unfortunate inhabitants of the island. The
external embargo is but the result, or a remedy which one can differ about
its therapeutics properties. But in international forums this baseless
argument is usually made, relegating to a secondary level, or even worse,
completely silencing, that which we reiterate is the fundamental origin of
the problem, the actual sickness: the Communist regime. There is no
disagreement from our part that what motivates governments, international
organizations, and even well respected personalities throughout the world, is
their desire for Cuba to be free. However, with those two weights and
measurements, they fall prey to the devious game of the castroite dialectic,
and "pretexts," thus unwittingly benefiting the perpetuation of the tyranny.

Continuing in the "recommendations" front, the HRW's report suffers from a
surprisingly degree of naivete when it suggests that Fidel Castro should be
"held accountable" for not abiding to the letter of the accord signed by him
during the Summit of 1996, in Santiago de Chile, known as the Declaration of
Viña del Mar in the forthcoming meeting of heads of states of Ibero-America,
to be held in Havana, in November next. Theoretically, this could open the
opportunity for a grandiose and lesson teaching scenario, from which the
contemporary history of Cuba would turn 180º degrees: courageous mandataries
that not only behind closed doors, but publicly- in front of the world media-
from Havana severely summon the dictator for the continuous unfulfilment of
signed agreements; they review the numerous crimes of the dictatorship not
only in Cuba, but also in all of Latin America by the guerrillas sponsored by
Cuba; they pay homage to the myriad of victims of communism and put forth a
vigorous plea, without euphemisms, in favor of the liberty of Cuba... But,
what indications does HRW has that those head of states are going to perform
just that, after they have failed to do to so during the subsequent Summits
of Venezuela (1997) and Portugal (1998) and other international meetings held
since that one in Chile?

No less gullible is HRW when it "recommends," to "foreign investors in Cuba"
to use their "influence" in favor of the Cuban workers and the general
population. As the humanitarian organization Pax Christi shown by means of
reports that HRW quizzically ignores, foreign investments in Cuba has helped
to consolidate the Communist dictatorship. In light of that, wouldn't it be
more reasonable to strongly call upon those foreign investors to simply shy
away from bringing their capital to Cuba, until such a time the government
positively respects the human rights of its people?

Finally, the HRW's report, while enumerating the international players
related to the dramatic situation in Cuba, appears to discount the
protagonism of ecclesiastical personalities and institutions of continental
exposure that, because of their actions, or lack of them, have favored the
continuation of the communist regime, despite the systematic violations of
God's and human given rights. To that effect, in January 1999- in an open
letter to the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM)- the
former political prisoner and USA ambassador to the UN Human Rights
Commission, Armando Valladares, stated the following:

"While the Communist regime was in the process of imposing to the faithful
masses the sinister schemes of 'creating apostates and no martyrs', as
uttered by the Dictator himself in a harangue at the University of Havana;
while certain ecclesiastic figures in the island visited the political
prisoners community to offer not words of hope and courage, but of
collaboration and capitulation; while the flock was being disbanded, in the
Americas-not only in Cuba- Shepherds from we would rightly so expected words
denouncing the spiritual and physical genocide taking place. were either
maintaining their silence, or were unbelievably weaving a web of undeserved
praises to the apocryphal Cuban 'paradise'.

"It would have been very difficult for the Communist regime to survive during
so many decades if not for the silence, for the yielding and even the
indulgence, of so many ecclesiastical figures of the Americas; attitudes
that, in general lines, have been a constant since the beginning of the Cuban
revolution until today." (Copied from an article written by Armando F.
Valladares, and published in the Diario Las Américas, in Miami, January 31,

We believe sincerely that the present considerations, presented in a loyal
and respectful fashion, will not diminish the efforts of Human Rights Watch,
in their recently published report, of denouncing the serious abuses of the
communist dictatorship in Cuba. Our goal is to make a call to this
organization and the leaders of the international community, to not allow
themselves to fall prey to Castro's dialectical diatribes and "pretexts."
Denouncing this dialectic, and not playing their game - such as the support
by certain prominent press media of the free world - could facilitate the
best and most healthy efforts in pro of the freedom of Cuba.

(traducción de nuestro editorial "Human Rights Watch ante un ‘pretexto’ castrista", Ag. 3, 1999)