Yris Perez Aguilera and the profound disconnect between Cuba’s reality and the propaganda image
Just five days before the United Nations Human Rights Council subjects the state of Cuba to its quadrennial Universal Periodic Review there is a profound disconnect between the reality suffered by Cubans on the island and the propaganda offensive underway internationally. There has been an effort to portray the Cuban government as engaging in reforms and doing something different that it has done over the past 54 years. Cuban dissident leaders have called it cosmetic and fraudulent. Some observers point to a handful of dissidents finally being able to travel outside of Cuba after having been denied their right to travel on numerous occasions.
Three who are regularly cited are Rosa Maria Payá, Berta Soler, and Yoani Sanchez. All had their right to travel systematically denied in recent years, but in the case of Rosa Maria Paya and Yoani Sanchez both had traveled outside of Cuba and returned home years ago. Opposition leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Rosa Maria’s father – who died under suspicious circumstances on July 22, 2012 – traveled outside of Cuba in December of 2002 to accept the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Union. Other Cuban dissidents in prior years had been allowed to travel at specific moments were it served the dictatorship’s interests. The same holds true now. This is part of an international charm offensive, but the brutal nature of the dictatorship remains intact. Witness the plight of Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.
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