Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Is Another Cuba Necessary?

Why Is Another Cuba Necessary? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Posted on July 10, 2014
By Jeovany Jimenez Vega

Among the series of international instruments related to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights are the International Convention on Civil
and Political Rights and the Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights. Implementing them requires two basic steps. First, they must be
signed. By doing this the state in question agrees to analyze their
meaning and by implication to accept their stipulated terms.

The second and more significant step requires them to be ratified, an
action which requires the state to modify those aspects of its
constitution and statutes that are not in accordance with the spirit of
the covenants. Once ratified, the government's position goes from one of
tacit compliance to mandatory compliance. Since these amendments become
binding, they ensure, at least theoretically, respect for the rights
outlined therein.

The campaign "Por Otra Cuba" (For Another Cuba), launched by members of
Cuba's civil society, seeks to secure the rights outlined under the
above agreements, which were signed by the Cuban government back in
February 2008. Though more than six years have passed since their
signing, they have yet to be ratified. In fact Cuba is among an "elite"
group of eight governments that have not yet taken this second and
definitive step.

What is keeping the Cuban government from ratifying these conventions?
What does our ruling elite fear? It would be worthwhile to briefly
analyze the implications of what this action might have, at least in
theory, on Cuba's socio-economic dynamic. I say "in theory" because the
Cuban revolution was born, consolidated and has withered, all within
half a century. Cuba was a signatory to the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, though this never disrupted the long saga of abuse
suffered by its people over this entire period of time.

Ratification of these agreements would "require" the Cuban government,
the Communist Party and the state security apparatus — in essence they
are one and the same — to officially recognize the existence of
civically organized opposition political parties with the right to
nominate candidates for elections as pluralistic as the people they
would represent.

It would require the government to suspend and subsequently prohibit all
repressive actions against individuals and organizations engaged in
peaceful opposition, including acts of repudiation and brazen assaults
in the street. Those carrying out such assaults would face the risk of
trial by impartial courts issuing fair rulings based on due process and
without regard to political considerations. It would also require
authorities to amend the Penal Code to recognize these actions for what
they in fact are: crude acts of vandalism.

It would require them to recognize our right of assembly and association
as well as our right to peaceful public protest, and thus to suspend all
hostilities against opposition marches organized by the opposition and
to halt the waves of arbitrary arrests intended to prevent them, as is
routine practice today.

It would require them to respect our right to free expression and the
ability to exercise it through all possible means of mass communication,
and thus to allow unrestricted access to the media, including the press
in all its forms, and immediate, full and uncensored access to the internet.

Ratification would require them to respect the fundamental right of
parents to choose the kind of education that their children receive
rather than leave them with no choice but stale political
indoctrination. It would also guarantee our right to receive a fair
salary, one that would allow us to live without having to trade our
dignity for paltry handouts.

Today these and other universal rights, which lie beneath the
totalitarian aegis, are the focus of these covenants. Their broad scope,
representing the vindication of human dignity, explains the strong
aversion that dictatorships have always shown towards them.

These conventions are neither "abominable propaganda tools" nor a form
of "bourgeois domination" by "global capitalism," as they are often
characterized in government propaganda. They are in fact among the most
advanced instruments conceived by humankind to prevent a return to the
barbarism from which the UN arose in mid-20th century. This in why only
the most retrograde governments openly oppose them.

No one here is talking about "returning to a shameful past — a stale and
decrepit slogan — or sighing nostalgically for bygone eras. This is
simply no longer possible. The world has changed too much and, along
with it, Cuba and its people. The only thing anyone here talks about is
bringing the country up to date, of no longer being the breeding ground
for laziness, and of the ambition of some to begin turning it into a
source equality and prosperity for everyone.

This is why last Monday I "physically" signed this citizen petition
along with my wife, Dr. Aliette Padron Antigua (I had already given my
"virtual" support a few weeks ago) and submitted it to the headquarters
of the Council of State. We endorse this campaign because we firmly
believe that another Cuba — one without abuse, where all Cubans live
together in dignity and peace, the Cuba for which our forebears gave
their lives — is still a valid and possible dream.

30 June 2014

Source: Why Is Another Cuba Necessary? / Jeovany Jimenez Vega |
Translating Cuba -

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