Cuban People and Human Rights / Juan Juan Almeida
Posted on December 14, 2013
Once again, the subject of human rights is polarizing Cuban society.
Many would agree that keeping the topic center stage is an especially
meaningful and noteworthy endeavour.
To be fair, we must acknowledge that the Cuban government deploys more
than 40,000 doctors, nurses and teachers who volunteer time and
expertise in more than 100 countries around the world. Faraway patients
who have lost both the will and the physical ability to smile get
beaming Cubans to offer comfort and relief. But in Cuba, the opposite is
true: Basic sanitation is lacking to the extent that some people
actually die from otherwise totally preventable illnesses.
Like any other, Cuban society longs for open rights to healthful rather
than unhealthful care and wants to experience life in a seamless
universe where societal freedoms coalesce with justice.
Good or bad, I am comforted by Article 8 of Cuba's current Constitution.
I quote: "The State recognizes, respects and guarantees freedom of
religion. The Cuban Republic will enforce the separation between church
and state. Any creed or religion shall be granted the same rights."
A dismal affair to realize how the Department of Religious Affairs
(instituted and overseen by the Communist Party's Central Committee
since 1985) which acts to regulate, control and authorize the existence
and/or activities of any current or future religious organization in
Cuba, is able to violate the freedom of religion decree and many other
legal edicts with total and complete impunity.
But to prove lack of religious freedom in Cuba clearly exists,
underground and timeworn arguments and typically heated debates siding
one way or the other seem pointless. Suffice it to say that what is
everywhere missing are basic freedoms that guarantee citizens will not
be abused or discriminated against by their own government.
It seems shameful to me discuss how island family rights are said to
endure in Cuba when many who are allowed to leave — under the auspices
of expatriate charity — unfortunately end up barred from ever returning.
And what pitiful freedom can we speak of when blacks who once rose from
their barracks to stake their claim on liberty are today forced to
endure marginalized lives in filthy ghettos?
In Cuba, another nearly worn out topic is how apparently irresponsible —
or at least misguided — government practices are the root cause of our
bottomless and spiraling deficit. For starters, emigration from Cuba
increased while the nation's birth rate decreased. Next, our aging
population has been systematically depleting whatever small pension
system existed so that zero funds are available to cover the tab of
average retirement. That said, just what rights to gaining social
security are we talking about?
Cuban television shows are mostly about how average Cuban people face
everyday joys and sorrows and the unexpected good or bad twists of fate
life throws our way. What is never unveiled, however, are the intense
days of suffering borne by those who are jailed helter-skelter for the
sole crime of remembering that in 1950, the UN General Assembly
proclaimed December 10 as a day when all member nations and special
organizations would reflect on human rights as the standard for all
people and all nations to achieve.
Translated by: JCD
12 December 2013
Source: "Cuban People and Human Rights / Juan Juan Almeida | Translating