Dr. Elias Carranza, Director of the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, shocked us when he said that Cuba is the safest country in the region, during his Keynote Address at the Sixth International Meeting on Justice and Law held at the end of May in Havana. To imagine how he arrived at that conclusion, when the official information on this subject has been treated as confidential during the last fifty years, is a para-psychological exercise.
Cuba is a singularity in America, making it difficult to compare it with any other country in the hemisphere. About twenty percent of its current population has been forced to emigrate to other lands, forced by an authoritarian regime that lasted over half a century. The fear, instilled by the powers-that-be, has been and is such that it has become innate in society. The determination to leave the country at any cost remains an important priority among some social groups, mainly young people.
Despair, indolence and corruption have been enthroned in the society facing an exhausted bankrupt system with no sign of real political and social changes. At best, Cuba is a safe country for foreigners who visit us, but dangerous for Cubans who reject the undemocratic regime that holds real power.
This event overlapped with the presentation of a report on the issue of torture, before the United Nations committee on that subject meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from a delegation of the Cuban government. Cuba, as a party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment, presented its report on the government system of prisons, the delivery and administration of justice, and the rights of the detained and ethics of the public system of order, among other things.
The head of the Island’s delegation, the Deputy Attorney General, asserted that, “In Cuba there is not nor will there be space for impunity.” He gave figures of complaints from the population from 2007 to 2011, in which there were 263 charges of bad treatment received in penitentiaries, which led to proceedings against 46 corrections agents.
He also spoke of the blockade, of those who seek to destroy the country’s internal order, and of those in service to a foreign power. Moreover, the newspaper Granma, surprisingly, published at that time, that there are 57,337 prisoners in the Cuban archipelago.
It’s always good news to know that, on issues as sensitive and criminal justice, the authorities are taking action and realizing concrete results. In the same way it’s striking to see the publication of data that, up to know, has been a State secret.
But from there to argue that, “In Cuba the authentic defenders of human rights are protected,” and that “No one in our country has been persecuted or sanctioned for exercising their rights, including those of free expression and association,” is a joke in very bad taste.
We have to wonder why there are hundreds of arbitrary detentions for short periods, which in the present year alone have totaled more than 2,400. Or why there is the Law 88 — called “the Gag Law” — that serves to suppress any activity considered controversial to the power of the Cuban dictatorial authorities. Or the crime of “dangerous criminality,” occasionally applied by the repressive entities. Or the death penalty, which continues to hang over society because it has been suspended but not abolished. All this without digging into the most recent past or going back to the origins of the so-called “Marxist-Leninist Revolutionary Cuban Process.”
Ignacio Agramonte taught us that justification prostitute ideas and the Holy Father John Paul II said:
“This does not mean forgetting past events; it means re-examining them with a new attitude and learning precisely from the experience of suffering that only love can build up, whereas hatred produces devastation and ruin.”
So, why doesn’t the Cuban government take the positive step, transcendent, out of respect and consideration of the people and ratify and implement the United Nations’ International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? This would undoubtedly be a perfect opportunity to start the real re-foundation of the new society and the rule of law in the Nation and would prevent the ancient governmental practice of justifying that which has no justification: oppression.
June 30 2012