The Specter of the Covenants / Cuban Law Association, Wilfredo Vallin Almeida

“A specter is haunting Europe: it is the specter of communism,” said Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist Manifesto.

Over a century later, when he was the Foreign Minister and the best interpreter of the thinking of the Comandante en Jefe, Felipe Perez Roque appeared in photo in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) on February 28, 2008, shaking hands with Mr. Ban Ki Mon, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN).

The snapshot was taken on the occasion of the signing by the Cuban foreign minister two Covenants on Human Rights UN documents that had been created by this international organization in 1966 and enacted in 1976, that is ten years later.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights UN 1948, notwithstanding the overwhelming moral burden it entails, is only a recommendation that governments can adopt or not, without it being binding on them.

Precisely because of its non-compulsory status (or non-binding, as is customary to say in the language of international law), the UN implemented a posteriori those Covenants that do have that character, detailing the Declaration in two documents, one on Civil Rights and Political (or first generation) and one on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (or second generation).

There are several questions that immediately come to mind when analyzing this event of more than four years ago, namely:

– Why the Cuban government, which was already in power in 1976, would take 32 years to sign documents so important for any country on earth?

– Why Cuban citizens have not received any explanation of the reasons for this signing?

– Why have the content of these covenants never been communicated to Cubans?

– What would be the implications for all of us if these legal instruments were ratified?

– Why are these agreements, signed and dated in “secrecy,” now being criticized by the current authorities in the country?

The problem is that, right now, we are continuing to face the generalized crisis that we again see in Cuba — and that appears to have no end — without any deep and serious solutions from the government.

The outraged are not only in Europe, confronting Wall Street, or in Arab countries. A group of citizens from Cuban civil society who have called for the ratification the UN Covenants, signed by the former foreign minister in the name of the people of Cuba, are exactly that… Outraged.

Specters have always existed throughout history. Yesterday in Europe it was communism. Today in Cuba a new specter is beginning to move, too terrifying for some: the Human Rights Covenants of the United Nations.

From Diario de Cuba

15 June 2012