Friday, August 19, 2011

Crushing dissent in Cuba

Globe Editorial - The Boston Globe

Crushing dissent in Cuba
August 19, 2011

WHILE THE Syrian government's savage attacks on anti-government
protesters have rightly drawn the world's attention, it isn't only on
the other side of the world that dictatorial rulers have been bloodying
their critics.

In Cuba in recent weeks, pro-government goons have been attacking
members of Ladies in White, a nonviolent protest group made up of women
whose husbands, brothers, and fathers are dissidents imprisoned by the
Castro regime. In one attack, the Miami Herald reported last week, the
women were assaulted with "steel bars, rocks, and fists'' as they left
Mass in the cathedral of Santiago, the island's second-largest city. At
least eight of the women ended up in the hospital, where they required
stitches and other treatment for their wounds. According to Elizardo
Sanchez, one of Cuba's leading human-rights activists, the attacks have
left dissidents deeply alarmed; they know that no one "would dare order
such beatings and so much violence without the approval of the central

Unlike Syria, Cuba has not seen massive street demonstrations, nor have
there been public demands for the overthrow of the government. The
Ladies in White, who received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought
from the European Parliament in 2005, are few and vulnerable; Cuban
ruler Raul Castro has nothing to fear from them but their integrity and
moral authority. That, however, they have in abundance, while the
ruthless regime over which Castro and his brother Fidel have presided
for more than half a century has long since lost any claim to the
respect or admiration of the free world.

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