Saturday, September 16, 2006

Opposing Agression Equals Repression?

I feel a bit like a broken record (see my previous posts of Aug. 3 or Aug. 6) by announcing again that I refuse to justify Cuba's human right's abuses ( see Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch for more on this). However, tonight on ATC, Tom Gjelten offered some twisted reporting from Cuba, this time on the occasion of the Non-aligned Movement Summit being held in Havana.

Describing the speeches at the summit, Gjelten stated,
  • "...whoever governs Cuba next, I think, will have to deliver improvements in the quality of life, but in the short term there could very well be a hardening of the situation here and more repression – one of the things I noticed among all the Cuban leaders who spoke this week was that they consistently took a pretty hard line."
I listened to this thinking that Gjelten was going to describe speeches specifically indicating crackdowns on dissidents or increased prison terms for political prisoners or perhaps expansion of the death penalty--in other words evidence to back up his conclusion of "more repression." What Gjelten said immediately afterward telling:

  • "Raul Castro, Fidel's brother, and the man who's the designated successor, was the one who presided over this meeting. He's someone, for example, who has had the reputation in recent years of being in favor of reform and even possibly in favor of better relations with the United States but the speech he delivered at this summit meeting was as hardline as any speech I’ve ever heard Fidel give."

I wondered what the repression and hardline were in the speeches, so I did a little searching and all I could find in various news sources was that the speeches were highly critical of the US -- especially current US policy. Given that the current US policy entails military agression in Iraq and Lebanon, threats of agression against N. Korea and Iran and a severe economic embargo of Cuba, one might expect the tone of Cuban leaders not to be particularly conciliatory toward the US. But there was nothing to indicate moves toward greater repression.

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