14ymedio, Havana, 11 December 2017 – Until a few years ago the concept “human rights” was frowned upon by Cuba’s ruling party. The mere mention of these two words together automatically labeled a citizen as on the opposing side and there was no lack of acts of repudiation against dissidents in which slogans were shouted in the style of “Down with human rights!”
Over time, the island’s government understood that it was better — and less scandalous — to adopt not only the language alluding to this concept but also the commemorations around December 10, the day that celebrates the United Nation’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In the last decade, the authorities have filled the official media and the squares of the country with slogans alluding to all the rights allegedly enjoyed by Cubans. In those avalanches of benefits the collective rights are always mentioned, while the individual ones are ignored.
On this day, the Plaza of the Revolution extols the right to education and public health, while avoiding reference to the rest of the conditions that must surround human existence such as freedom of expression or conscience, the possibility of choosing a religion without restrictions, or freedom of association.
While controlling activists and opponents so that they do not demonstrate on this day, the government of Raul Castro monopolizes the headlines of the national media with orchestrated demonstrations to show a strong adherence to its policy. Thus, they hijack the date.
However, the apparent dichotomy that places citizens in the dilemma of having to renounce a good part of their individual rights to enjoy the collective ones is a result of the blackmail to which the rulers subject the ruled for the purpose of perpetuating themselves in the power.
Nothing guarantees that the human being can enjoy adequate public health services, a quality education or a satisfactory and sustainable social security, if the authorities can not be questioned about the fulfillment of their obligations, and if each individual does not have the right to protest.
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