Monday, May 10, 2010

"The Heroes of Cuba" - NYRB (Part III)

In two previous post from late last week, I shared my thoughts on and a few long quotes from the article, "The Heroes of Cuba," by Nik Steinberg and Daniel Wilkinson published in the May 27, 2010 issue of The New York Review of Books.  (Now available in its entirety at the links below).

Jose Goitia/The New York Times/Redux

Interestingly, the article seems to have two different titles, each one reflecting a different half of its content.  The first half of the article, "The Heroes of Cuba," deals with Cuba's systematic violation of the human rights of its citizens - especially those who dare speak out and challenge the system. 

The second half of the article, however, critiques U.S. policy toward Cuba arguing essentially that the embargo has only served to deflect real criticism of the Cuban government by giving its international supporters (like Gabriel Garcia Marquez - who is named in the opening of the article) another target, "Tio Sam," to attack and condemn.  "Yet when outsiders hear of Cuba’s political prisoners," write Steinberg and Wilkinson, "many think first of what the U.S. embargo has done to Cuba, not what Cuba has done to its own people. The effect is to seal Cuba’s prisoners off from international sympathy and reinforce their prolonged solitude." 

This half of the article, "Cuba - A Way Forward," offers suggestions toward changing U.S. policy away from unilateral regime change toward a multilateral defense of human rights and the release of all political prisoners - placing the onus of Cuba's internal problems where it belongs, squarely on the Cuban government.

I wholeheartedly agree with both sentiments.

Here's the lead in to the article:

"Some have hoped that Raul Castro would begin a process of political reform in Cuba. In fact, more than one hundred political prisoners locked up under Fidel remain behind bars, and Raúl’s government has used sham trials to lock away scores more. These include more than 40 dissidents imprisoned for “dangerousness,” a charge that allows authorities to imprison individuals before they have committed a crime, on the suspicion that they might commit one in the future. Yet when outsiders hear of Cuba’s political prisoners, many think first of what the US embargo has done to Cuba, not what Cuba has done to its own people. The effect is to seal Cuba’s prisoners off from international sympathy and reinforce their prolonged solitude."
Go here to read the article on line at The New York Review of Books website.

And here for a PDF of the entire article.

No comments:

Post a Comment

There was an error in this gadget