U.N. panel has reason
to condemn Cuba.
Editorial, Washington Post
It has been a long time since the annual meeting of the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights in Geneva produced anything but farce, and
this year has been no exception. As usual, the commission’s large group
of undemocratic members managed to derail resolutions that would have
condemned human rights violations in China, as well as Chechnya and
The commission did manage to pass (by a single vote) a mild and
watered-down resolution on Cuba, which last year arrested 75 dissidents
on the eve of the commission’s meeting.
But this year’s vote was followed by something more unusual. A Cuban
diplomat, encountering an American human rights activist in the hallway,
punched him and knocked him out, apparently from behind. The U.S.
ambassador to the commission, who witnessed the incident, declared his
intention to press charges. “If you act that way in the U.N., what do
you do in your own country, where there is no accountability?” he asked.
Cuban authorities have a long record of harassing foreigners whose views
they dislike. Human rights activists report that although actual
violence is new, they have grown accustomed to harassment and
intimidation from Cuban diplomats in Geneva.
All of this pales, of course, in comparison to what Cuban officials are
capable of inflicting on their own people. The U.N. incident should
provide the Human Rights Commission with a motivation to break – for
once – with its traditional equivocation and condemn Cuba using the
language it deserves.
Source: José F. Sánchez
La Nueva Cuba
April 21, 2004