Going Begging / Claudia Cadelo

Claudio Fuentes Madan

One full page in the newspaper Granma of December 9: a transcript of the speech of Bruno Rodriguez on climate change and, on the front page, Raul Castro with the president of South Africa and Machado Ventura in Pinar del Río. Obviously, not a single word on the eve of Human Rights Day.

A law student friend sent me this text message this morning: “I am on the steps with some students who are waiting for the Ladies in White. Do you know something? What can we do? The first lift a hand to them is going to feel my fist.” Too cynical, I would say, to choose law students from the University of Havana to participate in a repudiation rally on December 10. Are these the lawyers who are going to defend us tomorrow? Those who today spend the afternoon vilifying women whose families were and are imprisoned for crimes of opinion?

Cuba is a signatory to the the U.N. covenants on Human Rights. How far does the hypocrisy of the Cuban government go that not even today can they stop themselves from repressing those who think differently? Meanwhile, in Geneva, the foreign minister is performing semantic cartwheels to justify the totalitarian system he represents, and in the streets of Cuba the political police are demonstrating that our human rights — with or without U.N. Covenants — continue to go begging.

December 10, 2010