Cuba: Humans with Rights

The smile of children, the joy of the young, the peacefulness of the elders, the participation in the economic and social life of the country of women and men, are a mirror of the citizen peace of a nation that builds its future every day.

Human rights in Cuba - broadly reflected in the new and modern Constitution of the Republic - are a tangible reality, criticized, and harassed by the enemies of the Revolution, who attempt to minimize the achievements of a process that placed human beings at the center of its public policies.

Those who dare to deny it don’t know the true essence of this social project which, since its beginnings, took into account and move forward along blue collars, workers, farmers, and students.

Health for Everyone

Cuba shows health indicators parallel to those of developed countries, displaying encouraging results in this sector. Among them could be mentioned the full coverage of healthcare, through the Family Doctor and Nurse Program; a life expectancy of 78.45 years (80.45 for women), and a population aging of 20.3%, as a result of the work carried out during all these years.

Without forgetting the huge healthcare infrastructure created by the Revolution throughout the island (150 hospitals, 449 polyclinics, 111 stomatological clinics and 12 institutes). It must be highlighted the progress made regarding the training of human resources: 57.4% of health workers are professionals, and there are 8.5 doctors per thousand inhabitants.

Even when the enemies of the Revolution insist on discrediting them, Cuban doctors have the love and admiration of millions of people worldwide. In the picture, a group of them on their return home, after Cuba decided not to continue participating in the More Doctors program in Brazil. We don’t offer what we have to spare, but we share what we have.

At first glance, statistics are overwhelming. However, there are rights - perhaps not fully valued – like for example, that in this small country the children of farmers can be trained as doctors; Hospital care is equally for everyone, regardless of each person's economic situation, and surgical interventions - difficult as they may be – they are performed for free.

On the other hand, the State invests substantial resources for the development and acquisition of technologies for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, in order to find drugs against cancer and other diseases that endanger people's lives.

Another fact is that of 761 products included in the basic table of medicines, 273 are imported, and 488 are produced by the national industry. The blockade against Cuba imposed by the United States for almost 60 years heavily impacts the production of such drugs.

Education without exclusion

Our education is also an achievement and a paradigm for many regions of the planet. Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz, historical leader of the Revolution, envisioned since the beginning that without literacy for the people it would be impossible to carry out the plans that would guarantee the development of the country.

Following this premise, the Literacy Campaign was developed in 1961, and in the 1970’s, the follow-up plans were introduced, with the famous struggles (at that time) to reach sixth and ninth grades.

Since then, Cuba has become a great school, giving high priority to this area. Each September, more than 10,000 educational institutions of general education open their doors to receive more than a million schoolchildren, since early childhood to college as well as technical and professional schools. They have guaranteed the minimal key resources to begin their studies.

A teacher for one, two, three students. They are called multigrade teachers, because they teach several grades lessons. The one in the photo, for example, lives in a remote place from Artemisa, between mountains, by a river, where he has his little school so that no Cuban child is left without learning to read and write. Are we talking about human rights? Here’s a good example!

Besides the successes attained abroad, based on solidarity and educational literacy agreements, the country has been developing for some years now the Third Improvement Process, in order to keep and raise quality, objective of highest priority for this field.

Likewise, at the beginning of each academic year, universities (50), all public, welcome thousands of students, just on the basis of their intellectual skills. This may seem like a dream for many countries in the region.

On top of that, on the path to universalize education, 122 Municipal University Centers are currently operating, which means that in every last corner of the national territory there are Higher Education centers, where professionals are trained, according to the characteristics and needs of each place.

A relevant fact is that today 50% of scientists in Cuba are women, and they are the 67% of their qualified technical force.


Devotion to full dignity

Many other aspects related to human rights in our country must be mentioned. The list would be endless because the Revolution was made to build a dignify man, woman, and achieve - as our Golden Law reads – Jose Marti´s deep desire, finally attained: “I want the First law of our Republic to be the cult of the Cubans to the full dignity of man.”

This December 10th - when commemorating Human Rights Day - I preferred to arrange the words differently to approach it to our context, hence highlighting that in Cuba we have humans rights, the first of them, to life, to education, to health, to work. The essence was bequeathed by Fidel for posterity in his concept of Revolution: "It’s to be treated and treat others as human beings."

  • Published in Specials

Bachelet’s Report on Venezuela: Who Has the Last Word?

Does Bachelet’s report represent the last of many attempts of international "coup d’état" in Venezuela?  

Let’s not make a mistake. The report delivered on July 4 was and it’s thought to give full justification to the strategy of a two-party régime change like in the United States in Venezuela. It must be very convenient for the Democratic Party, the supposedly "progressive" wing of the North American political system that the report uses the speech of "human rights" and comes from an international institution, necessary condition to give its support to the politics of Trump.

Contrary to the previous international reasons, this is the first one to come from an official international organization, and not just any organization, but the UN. On July 6th, only two days after the publication of the report, Iván Duke, President of Colombia, took it as green light to continue the politics of Trump:

"I hope that now with this result of Michelle Bachelet's report, the Court (International Penal Court - IPC) can quickly, not just open the investigation, but acquire overwhelming evidence so that a trial is moved earlier and a dictator receives what he deserves for oppressing the Venezuelan people".

The battle grows up again! Latin America has been the stage of a large variety of strategies for régime change, including the parliamentary coups in Paraguay and Brazil, against Lugo and Dilma, as well as the law suit against Lula and his imprisonment under false accusations. The Cuban Revolution, resilient as always has been the target of régime change since 1959 mostly on the base of accusations of human rights violations, generously financed through "promotion-of-democracy programs."

Venezuela has been recently the target of three open coup d’état attempts, several sabotages to the electric network - a continuous economic and political war aimed at facilitating the coup d’états, accompanied by a propagandistic bombing on behalf of the international media corporations against President Maduro. Like sharks sensing blood in the water, Duke jumped immediately on this personal objective.

Does Bachelet’s report represent the last of many attempts of international "coup d’état" in Venezuela? Was this the first salvo of a new attempt, with the pretext of defending "human rights"? I believe so.

However, and luckily for Venezuela and the international left-wing, it’s possible we never know with certainty. The Bolivarian Revolution also saw the threat the same day that Bachelet made public her report. The reaction was swift and radical, a characteristic of Maduro’s government since the first of the recent coup d’état attempts, on January 23rd, 2019. Once again, the answer is an international politics of peace and negotiation combined with a vigorous defense of the Venezuelan sovereignty. Venezuela speaks clear, not feeling for a second intimidated by the aura of the “United Nations”.

The Bolivarian Revolution didn't see any green light, but the characteristic red color of Chavismo. On July 4th, the same day the infamous report was published, Maduro’s government refuted it in 70 points. On July 11th, the president also wrote a formal letter to Bachelet detailing the false accusations and deliberate omissions, asking her respectfully to rectify the report based on the facts.

This letter was accompanied by other declarations and reactions of Venezuelan personalities, and simultaneously the government summoned the people to express their opinions on July 13th.

People didn't need summoning. Ironically, the most important secondary effect in the current war directed by the United States against Venezuela has been, and still is, the peak of political awareness that Chavismo represents. It’s in fact this ideology, this political movement that the United States is trying to destroy. With this goal in mind, the U.S. is bent on getting the domestic oil, but also the elimination of the beacon that represents the Bolivarian Revolution Bolivarian, together with Cuba, in the international sphere, as examples of an alternative social system and type of government that withstands the United States.

On July 13, Venezuelans went out on the streets, not only in Caracas but in many domestic states. There aren’t official figures regarding the participation, but videos and pictures reveal that dozens of thousands of people attended, despite the heavy rains.

Judging by the improvised signs, and contrary to what most academics from the dominant trend think, many UN "human rights" officials, and practically all the media, the Venezuelan people has a very clear vision of the controversial matter of the human rights.

How can that be? Because popular classes, formerly "invisible", are at present impregnated of their own experience and collective memory, passed from generation to generation; they are deeply aware of the true meaning of human rights and they make it visible for the world to see - or ignore it deliberately.

In their declaration during the rally of July 13th in Caracas, Diosdado Cabello declared that Bachelet:

“She governed eight years in Chile with the Constitution of a genocide, of a true dictator", in reference to the inherited Magna Carta of the civic-military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. What did she do in those eight years? She did absolutely nothing to change the Constitution. She used that Constitution to repress the Mapuche people, to persecute students in that country. Yes, that same lady who came here to speak about human rights in Venezuela."

And what finally happened with this "coup d’état" attempt based on "human rights"? Was it interrupted even before it begun? It seems likely, for the time being.

Popular classes and their dedicated leaders are not in no way constrained by the concept of human rights based on the North American unique king of thinking. The perspective and ideology are decisive. In fact, it’s a matter of life or death. Once corrupted by the dominant conception of human rights, in a crucial moment, either deliberately or by the force of circumstances and the career objectives, it explodes.

See the Bachelet: In the moment the United States need the most to resuscitate its failed politics, she jumps to the throat. The other lesson that needs to be learnt of this "Third Way" of academic and politicians is that, sooner or later, we see that the "alternative" is not an alternative to the status quo, but a cruel and cynic alternative to the left-wing.

But the Venezuelan people has the last word.

Lula's Lawyers: Unthinkable to Disrespect UN Decision

Defense lawyers of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva challenged the possibility that the Brazilian state evades the decision of the UN's Human Rights Committee about his right to be presidential candidate.

It is 'unthinkable and incompatible with good faith' to breach such resolution after Brazil confirmed i 2009 its commitment to respect the decisions of that international organ, valued lawyers Cristiano Zanin Martins and Valeska Teixeira Zanin Martins.

In an article published the eve in the daily Brasil do Fato, the jurists said they didn't believe that Brazil 'let to be contaminated by the old temptation of countries that deny protection to fundamental guarantees through the invocation of regulations of domestic Law'.

We hope Brazilian authorities and also the non-state agents involved in any way in the issuwe comply with the decisions of such Committee, because an eventual international responsibility will survive governments, mandates, nominations or concessions, they warned.

According to the lawyers, in the Lula case 'we look to overcome the distance between theory and the real validity of human rights'.

Last Friday, that UN organ established through a measure that Lula, political prisoner for 139 days, be guaranteed his political rights, including those pertaining to his presidential candidacy 'until all pending resources of revisión against his sentence be completed in a just procedure'.

However, both the minister of Justice Torquato Jardim, as the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the minister of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Alexandre de Moraes, publicly assumed opposed positions to the mandate of the international organization.

In that sense, the lawyers alerted that 'other voices', generally those interested in preventing for some motive Lula's presidential nomination, attempt to turn the decision and the obligation to be complied by the country in simple 'recommendation' or in a situation of less juridical relevance.

Nothing more ridiculous, they stressed before repeating that in 2009, in a sovereign and juridically valid way, Brazil recognized the jurisdiction of the UN Committee of Human Rights when it approved the Facultative Protocol to the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights through the Legislative Decree 311/2009.

'It is right to say that it was not compulsory -the approval of the protocol and the jurisdiction of the committee -turned obligatory and linking from the edition of that normative act', they stressed.

Besides the existence of that decree, they added, Brazil was notified about Lula's case and, since then, presented three demands before that organ, in none of which, the country recused the jurisdiction of the Committee to analyze the violations committed against Lula or the linking nature of the decisions made by that instance.

  • Published in World

The Trump Effect: ICE Immigrant Arrests Rose by 30% in 2017

ICE carried out more than 140,000 arrests that year after Trump authorized federal agents to target all immigrants regardless of criminal record.

Arrests of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. rose by 30 percent in 2017 compared to a year earlier under the administration of Donald Trump who has expanded the authority of immigration agents and ramped up anti-immigration policies in the United States, an analysis by the Pew Research Center showed Thursday.

RELATED: ICE Continues Targeting Prominent Immigration Activists

Data from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, shows that it made 143,470 arrests over the course of 2017 and that the biggest percentage increases of arrests were in Florida, northern Texas and Oklahoma.

Meanwhile from Jan. 20, when Trump was inaugurated, to the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 ICE made 110,568 arrests, 42 percent more than over the same time period in 2016, according to the research center.

“Recent immigration arrest patterns demonstrate a growing emphasis by federal authorities on interior enforcement efforts,” the center said meaning that ICE federal agents are targeting undocumented immigrants who live in cities around the U.S. rather than those around border areas with Mexico or Canada.

The rise in arrests stems from a Trump executive order signed shortly after he came to office expanding ICE enforcement to include all undocumented immigrants instead of the limits that had been placed on the agency by his predecessor Barack Obama to focus on those who committed serious crimes.

RELATED: Trump Goes For Anti-immigration Traction Through New Rules

However, the research center points out that the number of arrests made in 2017 is far less than those made in Obama’s first year in office. ICE arrested almost 300,000 undocumented immigrants in 2009, which had prompted pro-immigration activists to call Obama “deporter-in-chief”.

Also the 2017 record of arrests is only the highest over the past three years, meaning that arrests during Obama’s presidency were still higher the first few years of his eight-year tenure before declining towards the end of his presidency.

Official data shows that between 2009 and 2015 his administration deported more than 2.5 million people through immigration orders.

However, Trump might manage to beat Obama’s record as he has signed several orders in recent months that could see the the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and other countries.

RELATED: Immigration Activist Ravi Ragbir Facing Deportation After ICE Arrest

Some of the ICE arrests in recent months generated large backlash in the U.S. as they targeted immigration activists and immigrants who have been living in the country for decades with families and jobs and had not committed any crimes.

Jorge Garcia made international headlines last month when pictures of him hugging his family at the airport as he was being deported by ICE agents despite having lived in the U.S. for 30 years, paying taxes and having children in the country with no criminal record. The 39-year-old came to the U.S. when he was 10-years-old from Mexico and had sought legal status for years without luck.

Also last month, Jean Montrevil, Haitian immigrant rights activist and co-founder of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, was deported back to his country less than two weeks after he was arrested by ICE, agents, despite having lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years and having no criminal record.

  • Published in World
Subscribe to this RSS feed