Defend Castro

Peace Magazine's Spring 2000 issue features an article on Cuba by Barbara E. Joe, which ignores the U.S. blockade of the island and distracts attention from other human rights abuses.

The article mentions four illegal Cuban parties and a document distributed by them proposing a peaceful transition from a revolutionary process to a so-called "democratic" process. The most energetic proponents of these kind of initiatives have been U.S. governments- the country that supported the Batista dictatorship. If there is an olive branch to offer it must be offered by the U.S. government to the people of Cuba for sabotaging the advances of the revolution, planning attempts on the life of Castro and imposing a criminal blockade.

The document does not demand the end of the blockade, which shows that its signatories have no concern for the deterioration of the Cuban economy.

Just compare U.S. policies toward Peru and Cuba. Your article expresses sorrow for the fate of the poor "unfortunate writers of the shorter paper" who, according to the article, are in prison. But the magazine says not one word about the disappearance of 900 persons, one crime of the Fujimori regime. Hundreds of political prisoners in Peruvian jails live in subhuman conditions. In Chile there are also political prisoners. The U.S. had no moral right to destroy democracy there, using the CIA to install a military dictatorship.

The document's authors want to end the revolution in Cuba and prefer "the benefits of the market economy" in that country. If you glance at the situation in the United States, Peru, Chile, and Latin America with the exception of Cuba you see that the market economy is deepening social inequalities.

According to the 1999 report on the human development program of the United Nations, in Canada, the United States, Australia and the U.K. a single parent family with children receives income below the poverty level. Twenty percent of U.S. children live in poverty, the highest percentage among industrialized countries; among Afro-American children, poverty is 36.7%.

These marvels are what you call the "benefits" of a market economy and globalization. Other "benefits" of the market economy in Canada: workers' wages have been rising by 3% a year. The salaries of CEO's have increased 40 times and in some cases 400 times more.

Canada and the U.S.A, two champions of neo-liberalism, are, according to the WHO, in the 30th and 37th place respectively in the quality of health care they provide - below France and Italy. Cuba is in 39th place, close to the U.S.A. Despite the difficulties Cuba faces, when it comes to health care, it is competing well and offering free medical attention for everybody.

According to UNICEF ranking of the percentages for these countries of children living below the poverty level, Canada has 15.5% of its children living in poverty. Ireland has 18.8%, Britain 19.8%, Italy 20.5%, USA 22.4% and Mexico 26.2%. If the author of the article wants to teach lessons on human rights, she can concentrate on the cases of the genuinely unfortunate Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier and the addiction of U.S. governments to the death penalty. More than 350 people have been executed since 1990 in the United States, which has the highest known death-row population on earth.

"Texas, far and away America's most execution-happy state, does not have a statewide public defender system. Instead, the responsibility of assigning legal counsel to poor defendants falls to the counties, who must bear the full financial burden."

"By 1992, Mr. Clinton was a staunch death-penalty advocate. He even flew back to Arkansas during the campaign to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a prisoner with severe brain damage." (The Economist) In 1994 he supported a plank in the Republicans' "Contract with America" that called for a reduction in death-row appeals. Of the states, 38 now provide for the death penalty in law. The death penalty is also provided under U.S. federal military and civilian law (A.I.). The United States carried out the greatest number of known executions of child offenders - 13 since 1990. (A.I.).

According to propaganda machinery Americans enjoy freedom of expression. But in 1983, 50 companies controlled more than half of all media outlets. In 1999, the number of controlling companies was reduced to six.

You should cover such human rights issues as Indonesia where 500,000 died immediately following the coup which brought Suharto to power and 200,000 when Indonesia invaded East Timor. It remains uncriticized by the U.S. and your magazine for complicity in these crimes.

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2001

Peace Magazine Jan-Mar 2001, page 5. Some rights reserved.

Search for other articles by various here

Peace Magazine homepage