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Posted December 10, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Human Rights

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Cuba said on Monday it will accept regular U.N. monitoring of its human rights record from 2009, even as its plainclothes police broke up a small demonstration marking International Human Rights Day.

Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque announced Cuba will sign the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and a similar pact on economic and social rights by March next year. Havana has long refused to sign the pacts adopted in 1976 at the height of the Cold War.

He said Cuba would open its doors in early 2009 to regular international scrutiny by the newly created U.N. Human Rights Council. Cuba refused visits by a special rapporteur appointed by the previous body, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which Havana said was manipulated by the United States.

“This decision reflects our desire for full cooperation with the United Nations on the basis of respect for our national sovereignty and the right of the Cuban people to their self-determination,” Perez Roque said at a news conference.

Minutes after he spoke, plainclothes policemen broke up a small demonstration by dissidents marking International Human Rights Day in a nearby square. Two were detained and driven away in a car, a witness said.

Government supporters, apparently coordinated by state security agents, booed dissidents and shouted “Viva Fidel” for ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who has not appeared in public in 16 months.

Ten Spanish women who joined a dissident march on Sunday to demand the release of political prisoners said they were being detained in their hotels after police seized their passports before deportation to Spain.

Cuba insists there are no political prisoners in the one-party state, and it labels all dissidents as “mercenaries” on the payroll of its arch-enemy, the U.S. government.

“Neither the manipulations that the U.S. government has staged, sometimes with a handful of mercenaries it pays and directs in our country ... nor its pressures on other countries will alter our course,” Perez Roque said.

He said a majority of Cubans supported Cuba’s socialist system which, he said, gives equal opportunities to everyone.

Last month, a U.N. special rapporteur visited Cuba for the first time in a decade. U.N. envoy on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, praised the communist-run nation for ensuring no one went hungry, despite U.S. trade sanctions and economic crisis endured since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A Western diplomat said the signing of the U.N. rights covenants was a long-awaited “gesture” on Cuba’s part.

“The real problem is still the political prisoners. Plenty of countries have signed both pacts and still violate human rights on a massive scale,” a European diplomat said.

Veteran rights activist Elizardo Sanchez said it was a “positive” step, but wondered whether Cuba would comply and set free some 240 Cubans in prison for political reasons.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

  1. Follow up post #1 added on December 10, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    This is a disgusting piece of propaganda and here’s why:

    1. Perez Roque said the Cuban government will sign this treaty by March of 2008? I’ll believe that when I see it and, as the story says, there are still many countries that violate the agreement anyway. After all, this is the UN that is all talk and NO ACTION.

    2. This was done to deflect the press from covering the peaceful gathering. Thankfully it appears that the Cuban government was not as successful as they had hoped since it was mentioned in the first paragraph. So, congrats to Reuters for having the courage to report the facts.

    3. How can Perez Roque even say the words “and the right of the Cuban people to their self-determination” with a straight face? Self determination yet you break up a peaceful rally on Human Rights Day? Hello. Do you listen to yourself or do you just say what Fidel tells you to say?

    Hey Perez Roque… you can leave now. You do not have a future in Cuba.

    Cuba consulting services

  2. Follow up post #2 added on December 10, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    By Ray Sanchez |  Sun-Sentinel.com

    Government supporters roughed up a dozen peaceful demonstrators marking International Human Rights Day with a silent march Monday.

    The melee broke out shortly after Cuba announced its intention to sign two U.N. pacts on political and civil rights, part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said at a news conference Monday morning that Cuba had agreed to sign the agreements in the coming months after years of what he called anti-Cuban manipulation of the U.N.‘s human rights body by the United States.

    “Cuba is not acting, nor will it ever act, under pressure,” he said.

    Moments after Perez Roque’s news conference, anti-government demonstrators led by dissident Darsi Ferrer locked arms and embarked on a silent march around a Havana park, located near the U.N. offices.

    As the demonstrators marched and a handful of other people joined them, government supporters shouted “traitors” and “Viva Fidel.”

    After circling the park, the marchers were quickly surrounded by dozens of government supporters and plainclothes security agents who pushed and shoved the protestors.

    “Fidel! Fidel!” the government supporters shouted.

    One demonstrator, an elderly man with a cane, was dragged away by security agents. The crowd pushed and shoved the other marchers for several blocks.

    Another demonstrator, a young woman in her late teens or early 20s, was assaulted by a female government supporter who had to be pulled away by security agents. The demonstrators dispersed after about a half-hour as the angry crowd became more hostile.

    Police have picked up dozens of dissidents in recent days for temporary detention, according to the island’s main rights group, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

    It was unclear how many of Monday’s demonstrators were detained.


    This is the “march” that is so threatening to the Cuban government.

    havana-march.jpg width=500 height=308 by AP/Javier Galeano / December 10, 2007

    Looks like an angry mob on the verge for overthrowing the Castro regime.

    I am losing any faith I have in Raul. Why is he so afraid of letting a few people march on Human Rights Day?

    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on December 10, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Here is the article from the AP


    It is an interesting read. One might even be able to read with the angle that the dissidents were being protected from the mob by plain clothes agents.

    It also notes that the maximum amount of marchers appeared to be 14.

    Cuba consulting services

  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 10, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    and then there’s the other view from the left via Prensa Latina. Sometimes Cuba just makes my head spin but I won’t buy it. The Cuban government is NOT on the side of it’s people no matter how they like to spin it.

    Cuba Holds Head High for Defending World Human Rights

    Havana, Dec 10 (Prensa Latina) Cuba expressed satisfaction on Monday for its struggles for human rights for other peoples, a gesture recognized by numerous countries that have received this type of aid from the Island.

    In a press conference to mark Human Rights Day today, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque said Cubans are fighting in other countries so that people can have true human rights.

    As examples he noted the 37,000 health collaborators, including 18,000 doctors, working in 79 countries worldwide, and the 30,000 youngsters from 121 nations, mostly from poor families, studying in Cuban universities.

    In the next few days we will have performed one million free surgeries on patients from 32 countries, part of Operation Vision Now promoted by Cuba and Venezuela to restore sight to these people, he said.

    Perez Roque added that Cuba has graduated over 45,000 youngsters from Third World countries, including 35,000 from Africa, and at least 2.7 million people from 22 countries have learned to read and write through the Cuban “Yes, I Can” method.

    “Cuba is marking World Human Rights Day with its head held high and with the conviction that its people have maintained and will forever maintain a victorious Revolution that truly opened the window to real enjoyment of all human rights,” the top Cuban diplomat asserted.

    rma ccs rma ale dsa PL-46

    Cuba consulting services

  5. Follow up post #5 added on December 11, 2007 by manfredz with 464 total posts

    such a contradiction, on the same day even ...
    it could be, as mentioned above, nothing but eye-candy and deflection.
    Or it may spell out that the governement is somewhat in disagreement on how to proceed and we may see one step forward, two steps back and visa versa as a direction is set.
    I personally think we will see progress in human rights and freedoms BUT NOT in big steps, but in small steps with setbacks here and there.
    Won’t believe it for sure though until I hear of people demonstating for more freedoms etc and they’re able to do it without angry spontaneous onlookers and plainclothes police to “protect” them….  time will tell ...

  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 11, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    EVERYTHING that happens in Cuba is ALLOWED by the Cuban government. Castro and the government are masters at controlling everything.

    They will do everything in small steps but I’m guessing that one of these days their small step will be in the wrong direction.

    Someday there will be a catalyst and it may even be an accident or maybe some prominent dissident having a heart attack at a rally thus creating a headline like “Prominent Cuban dissident dies in rally”.

    The freedom of information traveling around the world today will not allow governments to repress their people for much longer. All eyes were on Venezuela a couple weeks back and Chavez lost.

    The world sees everything these days and the citizens of repressed countries know that.

    Cuba consulting services

  7. Follow up post #7 added on December 11, 2007 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    The Cuban government just can’t deal with this human rights thing. Now the 14 protesters were encouraged by the US government according to Anita Snow’s latest puff piece. Maybe she can work for Granma when she’s done at the AP.

    Hello Anita. You write this story as though you believe that the US government got just 14 people to march in Havana. Funny stuff.

    This is not a news story. You are just telling people to read Granma.

    Cuban state media accuses US of provoking march, justifies breaking it up


    Associated Press Writer

    HAVANA (AP)—Cuban state media on Tuesday justified the breakup of a protest march it said was the product of “frenetic subversive activity’’ by U.S. officials trying to undermine the island’s communist system.

    Scores of government supporters directed by men with walkie-talkies shoved and shouted down a dozen dissidents on Monday during a march at a park on International Human Rights Day. No injuries were reported.

    About half of the marchers were seen being taken away by plainclothes officials, though most were quickly released and it was unknown if any had been officially arrested.

    “The government of the United States incited and sponsored new provocations against the dignity of the Cuban people,’’ the Communist Party daily Granma said, referring to the Monday march and another on Sunday. A separate but similar story ran in the Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

    The articles charged that the participants in both demonstrations received instructions ahead of time from an official at the U.S. Interests Section, whom it did not name. A photo carried in both newspapers purported to show the official’s Havana home, with about a dozen Cubans milling outside.

    The press office of the U.S. Interests Section, the American mission here, had no immediate response to the articles. U.S. authorities in the past have denied Cuban accusations of bankrolling dissidents or directing their activities.

    On Sunday, the weekly silent march held by the Ladies In White, comprised of female relatives of political prisoners, was joined by eight foreign women, most of them Spaniards. They were expelled from the island on Monday for violating their tourist visas by engaging in political activities.

    Shortly before Monday’s clash, Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque announced that Cuba would sign two key international human rights accords, including one on civil and political rights.

    Cuba consulting services

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