Luis M. Garcia, the Cuban-Australian author of the book Child of Revolution (out now in Australia and due out in the US in April of 2007) and a blog by the same name reports that even though the UN Resolution condemning the US trade embargo on Cuba for the 15th consecutive year passed, that an amendment was introduced by Australia. According to Garcia:
The amendment called on Havana “to release unconditionally all political prisoners, cooperate fully with international human rights bodies and mechanisms, respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and comply fully with its obligations under all human rights treaties to which it is a state party.”
Which makes absolute sense to me.
However, the Australian proposal infuriated the Castro representatives in New York, especially as the amendment was backed by the European Union. Amazing, I know …
Apparently, the Cuban Minister for Foreign Affairs, the ever-loyal Felipe Perez Roque, went troppo, idiotically describing Australia variously as a US puppet (of course), an “accomplice of American imperialism” (naturally), lacking moral courage (really?) … and on and on.
Sadly, the Australian amendment was lost 126 votes to 51, as you can read in this dispatch.
But I tell you what, it makes me proud to be an Aussie.
PS: If you want to contact the Australian Prime Minister, Hon John Howard, MP, to let him know what you think of the amendment, drop him a line here.
The great part about this turnabout is that the propaganda value of the vote is mitigated by the de facto condemnation of Cuba’s human rights abuses by 51 countries.
Aussie Aussie Aussie, oy, oy, oy!