Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Speck in Our Own Eye

The Speck in Our Own Eye / Oscar Espinosa Chepe
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Translator: Unstated

For years it has been the practice of totalitarianism to try to divert
attention from the complicated situation that exists in Cuba by showing
the problems that exist in other countries, often exaggerating them to
make people believe our own are not that serious. This is done by taking
advantage of the disinformation possible through a strict monopoly on
the media.

Recently, with increasing economic, social, environmental and
demographic hardships, and the loss of human values, this misleading
conduct has increased. It's an unusual day when the newspapers, TV and
radio don't emphasize the problems elsewhere such as high levels of
unemployment in Europe and other places and the size of the prison
population in the United States, when the misery and marginality in Cuba
are much higher and this island is one of the six places in the world
with the highest number of prisoners per capita, consisting mainly of
young people — the famous New Man! — those of mixed race and blacks, who
face the greatest socio-economic problems and so are forced into crime.

With the greatest desire for misrepresentation, on July 2 the newspaper
Granma had a front page article highlighting the increase of 350 cases
of hate crimes in Sweden in 2011 over 2010. Most of these crimes were
verbal threats and physical violence against homosexuals, the newspaper
said. Swedish law is very severe with regards to these acts of racial
and gender discrimination, which are classified as hate crimes.

In this country there are many abuses committed against people of
certain social groups, races, gender, gender identity or sexual
orientation, religion, ethnicity, nationality or political affiliation.

In Cuba no information is provided about such crimes, although just for
having different political preferences from the Government makes a
person a third-class citizen, and they are discriminated against
socially, monitored and constantly harassed by the political police, the
Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, and informers, and can
even become victims of "acts of repudiation" with insults and even
physical aggression, with no consequences for those who commit these
despicable actions.

It is really alarming, therefore, that the Cuban press, instead of
reporting on these outrages, lends itself to defaming Sweden, the
country with the highest level of equality on the planet, with a Gini
index of 25.0 for 2000-2011, according to the 2011 Human Development
Report prepared by the United Nations Development Program.

Similarly, the other Northern European nations — Norway, Holland,
Denmark, Finland — enjoy the world's highest living standards, combining
a broad political democracy with measures of social protection — the
social safety net — recognized as the highest and most humane, providing
a reference point for all governments and people in the world.

Of course the government does not publish Cuba's Gini index, as several
Latin American nations do. But it's obvious that income differences are
considerable and do not respond to the labor output of the citizens, but
the luck of having family and friends abroad, political ties that lead
to work abroad, and to the results of semi-legal or illegal activities.

Moreover, the policy of concealing the terrible conditions of life
exists in Cuba's allies, such as North Korea and Iran, where all the
rights of the population are violated, particularly those of women; in
Iran for example women can be sentenced to be stoned to death for
marital infidelity.

The government also hides issues like the terrible personal safety
situation in Venezuela, which with Hugo Chavez's policies has become one
of the most dangerous countries on the planet. In 1998, just before
Chavez came to power, that South American nation had 19 homicides for
every 100,000 people, an index that rose to 75 in 2009, according to the
report on Observed Violence in Venezuela, and consistent with the
2007-2008 Human Development Report, a situation that hasn't changed.

Instead of looking for the speck in its neighbors' eyes, the Cuban media
should recommend solutions to serious national problems, which deepen
and diversify along with the growing multifaceted crisis prevailing in
the country.

From Diario de Cuba.

11 July 2012

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