http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/cuba-refuses-multi-national-requests-to-free-political-prisoners/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

Cuba refuses multi-national requests to free political prisoners

Posted February 10, 2009 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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Reuters

Cuba rejected calls from Western countries on Monday to release jailed critics of its communist system and told the UN Human Rights Council such demands violated its sovereign rights.

The Cuban position was set out in a report on discussions last week in the Council’s Universal Periodic Review mechanism on the island’s human rights record, which was widely praised by developing countries.

During the review, the call for the release of those Western countries regard as political prisoners—and which Cuba denies it has—came from Austria, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands and Slovakia.

These recommendations, a Cuban statement said, were not acceptable “because they are incompatible with the Cuban people’s right to self-determination (and) because they are not based on reality.”

It said the Western calls, which included recommendations on ensuring media freedom and freedom of expression, reflected support “for the policy of regime change applied to Cuba by successive US. administrations.”

In a separate comment included in the Council report, it also made the same charge.

“No country can accept any recommendation that contributes to the implementation of a policy designed by a foreign superpower with the objective of destroying the legitimate constitutional order freely chosen by its people,” it said.

Member Comments

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On February 10, 2009, publisher wrote:

What is Raul and Fidel afraid of?

Are these prisoners going to march to Raul’s house and kill him? I don’t think so.

Shame on Raul.

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On February 10, 2009, abh wrote:

Listen the Cuban justice system is really bad, but I dont know if the dissident/anti-Cuba crowd will garner much sympathy around the world for this cause.  Why?  Look at the numbers.  The number given by dissidents of political prisoners is about 200 I believe, and that includes foreign terrorists such as the Central American mercenaries who blew up the hotels in Havana in the 90s.
The people I’m more concerned about are the average guy on the street who was picked up for some small crime of a social nature who hasnt been let out for years.  As long as there are enemies who are trying to destabilize Cuba from within and without, there will be political prisoners straight up.  The biggest joke is that the US has more political prisoners in Cuba (Guantanamo) than Cuba does.

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On February 10, 2009, Lee wrote:

abh,
although i as an american stand against Guantanamo, the prisoners being held there can hardly be called political. your true points are lost when you make silly comments like that. Certainly you know there is no comparison between a person locked away in cuba for speaking out and a prisoner in Guantanamo being held for fighting with the taliban, expressing a desire to kill both you and I and all our loved ones.

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On February 10, 2009, abh wrote:

Lee,
The Cuban regime historically locked away its dissidents.  I am not arguing with that.  I will also not waste time arguing that any country of 11 million that is under siege from the biggest superpower in the world would take all possible steps to contain any dissident movements.  These arguments are old to me and I assume to you.
However, I’m talking about numbers here.  I feel very secure in saying that probably just about every country, including the US, has over 200 prisoners that someone considers political.  I just dont think its something that draws a whole lot of sympathy outside of the exile crowd.
Now, I have friends who have been in Cuban jails.  They are pretty horrible and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  People are detained for questionable offenses and sentanced in trials that are not up to US standards.  This is why I made it perfectly clear in my previous post that I sympathize with these average people for sure.  The 200 political prisoners, including some convicted of waging terrorists acts against the Patria?  Not going to get too far in waging the counter-revolution, I’m afraid.  The more the dissident movement brings them up, the more you will hear the Cubans offering prisoner swaps for the Cuban 5.

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On February 10, 2009, Lee wrote:

well put…
BTW i have also been in prison in Cuba, not pleasant (long sentence, short stay). I have friends still there for reasons without merit.
I wish i knew more about the Cuban 5, the real facts. My friends in Cuba of course have an opinion based on Castro’s propaganda. there must be guilt on some level, yes?

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On February 11, 2009, abh wrote:

Wow.
Well, they spied on the cuban american right wing terrorist groups, told the fbi about them, the fbi did nothing, so they took care of it.
thats’s my understanding at least.
But hey, most of my cuban friends are so tired of hearing about the cuban 5 that they dont even believe it, or just dont care.
So, there you go.
Me personally?
I think Castro is too smart to release untrue propoganda.  Most of the people who try to combat his propoganda underestimate him or just dont get it, and he manipulates them.  Sound familiar?

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On February 11, 2009, paul wrote:

If the International Red Cross can’t even enter Cuban prisons, nobody should expect that they would free political prisoners.

I understand that some of those folks got/get USAID money, but when you have a closed and intolerant society that blocks dissent, folks are going to look for ways to get support from whoever is offering it.

Dissent is normal, and I think it’s rather sad that peacenik leftists who protest western governments all the time (and face “relatively” small repression), are defending a communist government for blocking any sort of dissent towards it.

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On February 11, 2009, bluemarlinon wrote:

let’s start here in the U.S. Free all political prisoners who don’t have their rights to travel. Show the world how democracy works “for the people by the people”. Lead by example and let’s show those cuban politicals how to rock.

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On February 11, 2009, paul wrote:

And of course someone will pop up and say that they have freed some, but that has been mainly because of ill health, and having served most of their long and nasty jail terms.

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On February 11, 2009, abh wrote:

Well, I was in a band once called “Peacenik Leftists” but maybe you weren’t referring to me wink

Listen Im sure Cuban jails are terrible.  I have no doubt.  If Im not mistaken, they HAVE finally agreed to have the UN come and inspect the jails this year.  I know, I know, they’ll clean them up for the UN, etc etc.

Is that the point of the dissidents always talking about the 200 political prisoners?  That the jails are in bad condition?  Dont think so.

All Im saying is when you’re talking about 200 political prisoners in an entire country and some of them are foreign terrorists, it doesnt sounds like that big of a deal to many in the international community.

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On February 11, 2009, paul wrote:

The UN will go and get a party approved superficial scan of Cuba’s best gulag, where inmates will grin for this international organization which gladly accepts whatever information the Cuban government provides. The UN and the UNHCHR basically use the minimum standard with Cuba, in order to say that it follows humane guidelines.

The International community IS complaining about the political prisoners issue, and that Cubans can get arrested for suspicion of subversion, or whatever else they want to concoct. Protesting against the government is not some bourgeois right, it’s something healthy and productive.

The Cuban government scares the society into not dissenting, and provides controlled international media access so that only certain issues can be reported.

This issue reminds me that so called peaceful leftists aren’t peaceful leftists when they are at the helm. It’s ok to dissent against the government, until you become the government.

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On February 12, 2009, abh wrote:

sure, sure, ok, i basically predicted exactly what you were going to say.
I’ve heard all these arguments before.  Cuba is a police state, that’s the reality, but things are slowly opening up, and once the US starts making moves, the Cuban power structure will be forced to adapt.
PS I dont recall Fidel being accused of being a ‘peaceful leftist’.

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On February 12, 2009, paul wrote:

I was actually referring to those on the left who don a fa├žade of being peaceful, and always stick up for and defend the actions of Cuba’s government and other police states. I thought you were one of those, but at least you can admit it’s a police state indeed.

Let’s see what ends up happening, certainly not Glasnost in Cuba, as we all know that’s too much to ask.

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On February 12, 2009, abh wrote:

Well, I’ve been there, which was definitely a reality check.  On the other hand, I had studied up on it quite a bit, and if you read enough from the right sources and talk to enough people with balanced views, you can get a pretty good idea that contemporary Cuba is neither paradise nor hell.
Listening closely to Cuban intellectuals abroad can give you pretty good insights into the future of the country.  I remember hearing over 5 years ago from certain people that you can expect Cuba to more follow the model of the European Social-Democracies than anything else.  I think The Castros will never permit a Soviet-type breakdown, and one thing that is commonly not acknowledged by Americans is that Cubans do not want to give up their free health care, they want it improved.  The main barrier is that the country is broke and the youth are disenchanted.  These are the topics that must be addressed.

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On February 12, 2009, paul wrote:

I hope that they do follow European models, particularly those drafted by Christian Democrats. Sadly, I have seen Castro mocking European democracies, calling the rights in Europe as bourgeois.

I come from the Christian Democrat school of thought, and like the ideas of Oswaldo Paya.

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On August 11, 2009, Arroyoribera wrote:

Let’s be straight.  A lot of so called “Cuban political prisoners” are only political prisoners in the sense that it is politically expedient for the U.S. to recognize them as such.  The real test can be seen when they “attain freedom” in the U.S.  Take this case. 

Google “Fidel Soria Torres” or his complete name “Fidel Antonio Soria Torres”.  You will find his name everywhere, from US INS and State Department reports to every sort of “dissident” Cuban website to right-wing U.S. think tanks.  Now this guy was a supposed “dissent” who was arrested for “peligrosidad” (dangerousness) in Cuba.  So he gets to the United States and what happens to this “persecuted” Cuban “political refugee” who was issued a visa by the U.S. Interest Seccion in Havana and brought to the U.S. by the State Department under a contract with religious NGO? 

Fidel A. Soria Torres, 53; 15 days in jail with credit given for 15 days served, first-degree trespass building amended to second-degree trespass premises.
http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2007/sep/28/official-records/

And for charges including escape, theft of an official vehicle, etc. (in other words, “dangerousness”) we have this:
http://www.co.missoula.mt.us/publicjailroster/ SORIA-TORRES, FIDEL ANTONIO County BookingID: 20071019012 Age: 53 Booked: 10/19/2007 2:23:01 PM Charge-Crime Type-Arresting Agency-Prosecuting Bond-Next Court Date-CourtRoom-Arresting Officer Theft - Felony Felony Out of County LaCroix, Kirsten $20,000.00 Thu 10/2/2008 10:30 AM D3 Larson Sohlberg, Cathleen Fugitive Felony Out of County $0.00 Mon 10/22/2007 2:30 PM J3 OOC

The “politicized” nature of the U.S. relationship with Cuba (look at Haiti where we allow them to drown at sea and if they don’t manage to drown we pick them up at sea and return them to the hell hole we created in Haiti).  At the same time, these Cuban “political refugees” are coming to the U.S. and either committing crimes such as Soria Torres or anxiously awaiting the arrival of their Permanent Residence (green card) status so that they can make their first of many return trips to the Cuban hell hole they just escaped.  Not exactly what you see from many truly persecuted peoples around the world who spend years of near starvation in true refugee camps and who, if they do manage to get out, never return because if they did they would be killed, imprisoned or disappeared. 

The U.S. posture towards Cuba is a long-standing scam and crime.