No matter what is said, rights abuses abound in Cuba
Guillermo Martinez: No matter what is said, rights abuses abound in Cuba
For decades, the accusations of Cuban exiles about human rights abuses in Cuba have been questioned.
It was 37 years ago when a local South Florida newspaper questioned Cuban exiles when they said the Castro regime held thousands of political prisoners and had done so for almost 20 years. It made no difference that my wife's uncle was serving a 30 year prison sentence and that we had letters from him written on cigarette paper smuggled out of Cuba's jails.
By 1979, nobody questioned the fact. Cuba agreed to release 3,600 political prisoners and Amnesty International proclaimed Cuba had the highest per capita number of political prisoners in the world.
Things are not as bad today. Still, accusations from Cubans on the island or from their brethren in exile are not given proper credibility. This is different when the information comes from international human rights organizations.
Last week two of them spoke out: Reporters Without Borders and Human Rights Watch. It was a solid one-two punch; one that should have shaken the naiveté of those who believe in the fairy tales parsed out by Cuba's propaganda machine.
It didn't, for the two reports got little coverage in the American media. Human rights abuses in Cuba are old news. What is new is the possibility Cuba is changing under Raúl Castro; that somehow we are close to seeing the day when representatives of the two governments hug each other publicly after more than half a century of animosity.
Reporters Without Borders, a French-based organization, was the first to prick the bubble of those who believe that Communism in Cuba can survive with a free press or that the Castro clan would ever permit it.
In its annual report, the organization said Cuba was one of the top 10 regimes in world for its lack of respect for freedom of expression. It pointed out that repression against its dissidents had grown significantly in 2012.
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