[Marxism] Felipe Perez Roque: Cuban statement to UNHRC

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 16 08:55:35 MST 2005


Cuban FM Felipe Perez Roque: Cuban statement to UNHRC

(This statement highlights the crisis in which the UNHRC finds
itself after applying double standards toward Cuba and refusing
to investigate US human rights abuses at Guantanamo, etc. This
is the main Cuban statement about the UNHRC and should be read
with great care. Thanks to Cuba's UN Mission for this document.)


Geneva, 16 March 2005

(Original in Spanish.  Check against delivery)


The Commission on Human Rights – despite the efforts by those who 
honestly believe in its importance and wage a battle to return it to 
the spirit of respect and cooperation of its founders – has lost 
legitimacy. It is not credible. It allows the impunity of the 
powerful. It is handcuffed. In it, there are plenty of lies, double 
standards and empty speeches by those who, while enjoying their 
wealth, squander and pollute, look the other way and pretend not to 
see how millions of human beings endure the violation of the right 
to life, the right to peace, the right to development, the right to 
eat, to learn, to work; in brief, the right to live in dignity. 

We all knew that the Commission on Human Rights was victim to the 
political manipulation of its work because the Government of the 
United States and its allies have used the Commission as if it were 
their private property – and have turned it into some sort of 
inquisition tribunal to condemn the countries of the South and, 
particularly, those who actively oppose their strategy of 
neocolonial domination.

But in the course of the last year, two events took place that 
change the nature of the debate that we will hold these days.

The first was the European Union's refusal to co-sponsor and vote in 
favor of the draft resolution that proposed to investigate the 
massive, flagrant and systematic human rights violations still 
committed today against over 500 prisoners at the naval base that 
the United States keeps, against the will of the Cuban people, in 
the Harbor of Guantánamo. The European Union, that always objected 
to no-motion actions, was willing this time to present it in order 
to even prevent any investigations whatsoever against its ally. In 
terms of hypocrisy and double standards, it was the straw that broke 
the camel's back. What will it do this year, after the dissemination 
of the heinous pictures of tortures at the prison of Abu Ghraib?

The second event was the release of the report presented by the High-
Level Group on Threats, Challenges and Change, set up at the 
initiative of the UN Secretary-General. It categorically states 
that "the Commission cannot be credible if it is seen to be 
maintaining double standards in addressing human rights concerns." 
Should we then wait for the representatives of the United States and 
its allies to come up with self-criticisms at this plenary session 
and undertake to work with us, Third World countries, to rescue the 
Commission on Human Rights from disrepute and confrontation? 

Mr. Chairman:

The guarantee of the enjoyment of human rights today depends on 
whether you live in a developed country or not – and it also depends 
on the social class that you belong to. Therefore, there will be no 
real enjoyment of human rights for all as long as we fail to achieve 
social justice in the relations among countries and within countries 

For a small group of nations represented here – the United States 
and other developed allies – the right to peace has already been 
achieved. They will always be the attackers and never the ones under 
attack. Their peace rests on their military power. They have also 
achieved economic development, based on the pillage of the wealth of 
the other poor countries that were former colonies, which suffer and 
bleed to death for those to squander. However, in those developed 
countries, incredible as it may seem, the unemployed, the immigrants 
and the impoverished do not enjoy the rights that are most certainly 
guaranteed for the rich.

Can a poor person in the United States be elected Senator? No, they 
cannot. The campaign costs, on average, some US$ 8 million. Do the 
children of the rich go to the unjust and illegal war in Iraq? No, 
they do not go. None of the 1,500 American youths killed in that war 
was the son of a millionaire or a Secretary. The poor die there 
defending the vested interests of a minority.

If you live in an underdeveloped country the situation is worse, 
because the overwhelming majority, poor and hopeless as it is, 
cannot exercise their rights. As a country, there is no entitlement 
to peace. It can be attacked under the accusation of being 
terrorist, of being an "outpost of tyranny" or under the pretext 
that it is going to be "liberated." It is bombed and invaded 
to "liberate it."

Nor can the over 130 countries in the Third World exercise the right 
to development. Beyond their efforts, the economic system imposed on 
the world prevents so. They have no access to markets, to new 
technologies; they are handcuffed by a burdensome debt that has 
already been paid off more than once. They just have the right to be 
dependent countries. They are led to believe that their poverty is 
the result of their mistakes. In those countries, the poor and the 
indigent, who account for the majority, do not even have the right 
to life. For that reason, every year we see the death of 11 million 
children under five years of age, a portion of which could be spared 
with barely a vaccine or oral rehydration solutions – and also the 
death of 600,000 poor women at childbirth. They have no right to 
learn to read and write. It would be dangerous for the owners. They 
are kept in ignorance to keep them docile. That is why this 
Commission should be ashamed of the nearly 1 billion illiterate 
people in the world. That is why in Latin America 20 million 
children endure ruthless exploitation as they work on the streets 
instead of going to school.

The Cuban people strongly believe in freedom, democracy and human 
rights. It took them a lot to achieve them and are aware of its 
price. It is a people in power. That is the difference. 

There cannot be democracy without social justice. There is no 
possible freedom if not based on the enjoyment of education and 
culture. Ignorance is the cumbersome shackle squeezing the poor. 
Being cultivated is the only way to be free! – that is the sacred 
tenet that we Cubans learned from the Apostle of our independence.

There is no real enjoyment of human rights if there is no equality 
and equity. The poor and the rich will never have the same rights in 
real life, proclaimed and recognized as these may be on paper. 

That is what we Cubans learned long ago and for that reason we built 
a different country. And we are just beginning. We have done so 
despite the aggressions, the blockade, the terrorist attacks, the 
lies and the plots to assassinate Fidel. We know that the Empire is 
chagrined by this. We are a dangerous example: we are a symbol that 
only in a just and friendly society; that is, socialist, can there 
be enjoyment of all rights for all citizens.

Therefore, the Government of the United States attempts to condemn 
us here at the Commission on Human Rights. It is afraid of our 
example. It is strong at the military level but weak on the moral 
front. And morality, not weapons, is the shield of the peoples.

Perhaps this year President Bush will find some Latin American 
country – of the few docile ones that are left – to present the 
notorious resolution against Cuba. Or perhaps it will return to an 
Eastern European government like the Czech, which enjoys as nobody 
else its condition of satellite of Washington and Trojan Horse 
within the European Union. Or perhaps it will be presented by the 
very Government of the United States, which is now blackmailing, 
threatening and counting endorsements to know if Cuba's condemnation 
can be achieved. 

Everybody in this hall knows that there is no reason to present a 
resolution against Cuba at this Commission. In Cuba, there is not a 
single – and there has not been ever in 46 years of Revolution – an 
extrajudicial execution or a missing person, not even one! Let 
anyone come up with the name of a Cuban mother who is still looking 
for the remains of her murdered son or daughter! Or a grandmother 
searching for her grandchild handed over to another family following 
the parents' murder! Let anyone here come up with the name of a 
reporter killed in Cuba – and 20 of them were murdered in Latin 
America only in 2004! Let anyone come up with the name of a prisoner 
vexed by his keepers, a prisoner ordered down on his knees, prey to 
terror, in front of a dog trained to kill!


President Bush has a plan for Cuba, but we Cubans have a plan of a 
different sort. We Cubans have a clear idea about our course. And 
nobody will move us away from it. We will build an even more just, 
more democratic, more free and more cultivated society. In brief,  
more socialist. 

And we will do so although President Bush threatens us with 
aggressions, to return to colonized Cuba, to oust Cubans from their 
homes, their land and their schools to turn them over to the former 
Batista-style owners who would come back from the United States. We 
will do so despite his plan to privatize health and turn our doctors 
into unemployed beings; we will do so despite the plan to privatize 
education and make it accessible only to the elite, as it was in the 
past; we will do so despite the plan to auction off our wealth and 
the heritage of all the people to US transnational corporations. 
Despite the plan to remove the rewards from our retirees and 
pensioners to force them back on a job, according to the so-called 
Plan of Assistance to a Free Cuba.

The Cuban people are entitled to defend themselves from aggression 
and they will. And I must say it clearly: in Cuba, we will not allow 
the establishment of organizations and mercenary parties financed by 
and at the service of the US Government. We will not allow 
newspapers and TV networks funded by the US Government to uphold its 
policies of blockade and its lies among ourselves. In Cuba, the 
press, the radio and the TV are owned by the people and serve and 
will serve their interests.

We will not cooperate with the Representative of the High 
Commissioner or with the spurious resolution behind her. Why is it 
not such a prestigious lawyer appointed Special Representative of 
the High Commissioner to the Guantánamo Naval Base? Why is she not 
asked to investigate the flagrant violations of the rights of five 
courageous and pure Cuban youths imprisoned in the United States and 
their families? Because it cannot be done. Because it is about the 
human rights violations committed by the United States and they are 
untouchable. It can be done against small Cuba but not against the 
United States.

But Cuba will not give up on its fight, Excellencies. Nor will it 
surrender. Nor will it make concessions or betray its ideals.

And we will see if a free, cultivated and united people can be 
defeated! We will see if they can overthrow a government of the 
people, whose leaders walk among them with the moral authority 
derived from the total absence of corruption and the full dedication 
to their duties!

We will see if they can deceive everybody all the time!


The Commission on Human Rights before us today is illustrative of 
the unjust and unequal world in which we live. There is no longer 
nothing left in it from the friendly and respectful spirit that 
brought its founders together after the victory over fascism. 

Therefore, the Cuban delegation will cease to insist that we must 
transform the Commission. What we have to change is the world, go to 
the roots. A Commission on Human Rights without selectivity, 
politicization, double standards, blackmail and hypocrisy will only 
be possible in a different world. 

Cuba does not consider that to be a dream, but a cause well worth 
fighting for. That is why it fights and it will continue to do so.


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