Because of such scandalous contradictions, the 2006 announcement that a new body would be created to replace the ineffective and too politicized Commission seemed encouraging.
Seven years later it is extremely frustrating to see that nothing has changed, or it’s gotten worse. China, Russia, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam have just been elected in a vote that was direct, secret and by regional blocs, to membership on the Human Rights Council.
Can we expect something positive from a Council with such illustrious members?
With the history of the governments of these countries in terms of human rights, their election seems like a bad joke. It’s like designating a gang of constitutional perverts and rapists to ensure the virginity of the pupils of a girls’ school.
With no disrespect to the present miscreants, too bad they don’t also have the Iranian ayatollahs and the regimes of Syria and North Korea!
Cuba will take a seat on the UN Human Rights Council despite its intensifying repression against the Ladies in White, the beatings and arrests of opponents (there were 909 in October alone), the harassment of independent journalists, and the repudiation rallies and other outrages of the paramilitary Rapid Response Brigades in pure fascist-style.
The vote in Geneva, which will be interpreted by the Cuban regime as another triumph of its thug diplomacy, will encourage its arrogance and pride. We Cubans will confirm the worsening repression firsthand. They are prepared to let opposition prisoners on hunger strike die!
For those who look for all the saints to help them, now that the dictatorship is taking a nose-dive, the honest and decent thing would be for the world to exert even a little power in favor of those who are fighting for democratic change in Cuba. Just that. But instead of saying no to suffocate the regime, or even a pinch to force them to cede spaces, they give them a complicit wink and inflate the scarecrow, to prolong the agony of its victims.
It happens that in the world today decency does not exactly reign.
Today the Council, like the Human Rights Commission before it, remains a patronage club of cronies and accomplices who cheerfully and shamelessly reciprocate favors. The Cuban people can expect little from such a circus.
Luis Cino Alvarez, email@example.com
Cubanet, 14 November 2013