Changing the Subject / Fernando Damaso

Fernando Damaso, 12 May 2015 — When it comes to talking about human rights, our authorities ignore the 30 items in the Universal Declaration about them, and they go on to extol the medical, educational and other types of assistance they lend to dozens of countries–as well as to foreigners in our country–without clarifying the fact that in the majority of these cases, this help is paid-for by those countries, and by the individuals who receive it in Cuba. In reality, more than help, it consists of services that are commercialized for very good political and economic returns for the government. Everything should be called by its proper name.

Such assistance, albeit respectable, does not form part of human rights and, therefore, should not be used to evade responsibility for their disrespect where Cuban citizens are concerned, nor accepted in international forums.

From the moment when exclusions exist within the country with regard to the exercise of civic and political rights, repression, and beatings, there are violations of those rights. Freedom of opinion and of expression, to not be harassed because of opinions, and to freely research information and opinions and disseminate them with no limits, remain unfinished business. So, too, freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Many others could be mentioned.

Regarding these rights and all the others, there should be conversation and, by means of respectful and serious dialogue, their establishment in the country–as well as their inclusion in the Constitution, without “tags” to render them meaningless, as occurs with some in the current version. In addition, the judiciary should guard them and demand that they be respected.

It is time to start dotting the i’s, and not continue allowing the authorities to change the subject at their convenience, if we truly want to solve our problems.

 Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

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