December 3, 2009
The real abuse taking place in Cuba is the crippling and inhumane American blockade
The Guardian, Thursday 26 November 2009
Your article on the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Cuba gives little context of the complexity of US-Cuba relations (Hopes of new dawn dashed as Fidel Castro's brother cracks down on dissent, 19 November).
You report that president Raúl Castro "has kept up repression and kept scores of political prisoners locked up", but ignore that these include individuals accused of receiving US government money who were jailed for being paid agents of a foreign power - a crime punishable in every country in the world.
And you make scant reference to the inhumane US blockade, recently voted against by 187 countries at the UN. The blockade should surely inform any debate, since it permeates every aspect of Cuban life. You only repeat HRW's accusation that it is a "pretext for Havana to crack down on dissenters".
HRW appears to care little for the human rights abuses the blockade inflicts on Cubans. Its 123-page report is more concerned with how the blockade "alienates" US policy internationally. Maybe this politicised view is not surprising since HRW's Latin America director, José Miguel Vivanco, recently accused Cuba of having the "worst human rights record in the region". In a region where trade unionists are assassinated, homosexuals murdered and children live in poverty with lives blighted by drugs, violence and abuse, Cuba does not deserve such an unjust title.
The Guardian failed to report, let alone devote an entire page to, Amnesty International's more even-handed July 2009 report, The US Embargo against Cuba, which stated that the "impact of the embargo on the human rights of Cubans has received insufficient attention from the US government". Rarely do we read about the multimillion-dollar lobbying by groups intent on demonising Cuba to justify the blockade, nor US funding - $45m (£27m) in 2008 - for Cuban individuals and organisations. Such hostility has intentionally kept the island in a state of siege.
Six words out of 1,400 in your article recognise "acknowledged advances in education and healthcare". But where are the reports on the 40,000 doctors providing healthcare in 80 developing countries, the 1.5 million who received free sight-saving operations, the thousands of students from poor countries receiving free medical scholarships?
The former UN general secretary Kofi Annan said: "Cuba demonstrates how much nations can do with the resources they have if they focus on the right priorities - health, education and literacy."
However, you quote Brian Latell, senior research associate from the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies, who claims that "no organised or potentially threatening opposition of any kind is tolerated". We are not told that his organisation is based at Miami University, the academic heart of the rightwing Cuban exile community, nor of its funding by both the US government and the Bacardi family, infamous financial backers of the blockade. Also not mentioned is Latell's background as a former CIA officer for Latin America.
Nobody claims that Cuba is perfect, but the country does not deserve such pariah status. Anyone who genuinely wants to improve human rights should start by demanding an end to the blockade.
December 2, 2009
December 1, 2009
Readers of Rebel Youth may be interested to know that a new publication has been launched by a number of Communist Parties around the world. It's called International Communist Review and the first issue can be read for free online at http://www.iccr.gr/ Check it out!
November 29, 2009
"this is the most hypocritical (but at least they tried haha) explanation i have ever heard for a moronic governmental action!
no, of course they weren't nazi extermination camps; no one has said that. but they were a disgrace to human dignity and you MUST read between the lines. for example, read about the japanese unit during WWII. or that it might be BETTER to volunteer for the army than stay in a camp?
how about all these japanese who came from lovely parts of california (i know, because i live there), being fruit farmers or owning their own businesses or being doctors? and then they end up in the mid-west which is freezing doing menial jobs and are never asked their opinions.
yeah, i am sure all the nisei and isei have really forvigen the united states government. i haven't!"
here is another:
This stark film explains and attempts to justify the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It's a tall order, and the filmmakers seemed to have known it, for despite their newspeak terminology of "relocation" and "evacuation", they end up not really trying very hard to make this seem any better than what it really was:the forced imprisonment of a group of American citizens based on race.
Most of the reassurances the film tries to give that this is not what it appears to be are contradicted at later points in the film. It's not imprisonment or even internment, the film says, but then it shows us the barbed wire fences and guards around the perimeter. The fact that these people are being "relocated" should not imply that they are disloyal, but then they turn around and say that their presence on the west coast was a "military hazard."
These people, despite their Japanese ancestry, are loyal Americans just like the rest of us, the film keeps saying, then it tells us that the Japanese-American medical personnel in the camps are supervised by Caucasians, and even the doctors earn the princely sum of $19 a month.
Finally, the film breaks down and admits that it's hard to teach the "values of Americanism" in a concentration-camp setting. Still, that doesnÂt stop them from ending the film by saying that we are fighting the war to preserve the American values of freedom and equal opportunity regardless of race, creed, or color, an ending for this movie that makes you want to throw up.
Of course, there are many positive scenes of camp life, but you get the impression that these good things were entirely due to the efforts of the internees themselves, with no real help from the government that imprisoned them. The film as a whole, as appalling as it is, is a fascinating historical record of one of the darker moments in the history of our government. It's definitely required viewing for those who may romanticize our participation in World War II.
don't be a sucker-(1947)
Another review/comment as quoted: "The tone of this film puzzled me until the end. It preached tolerance, stressed that America was a nation of minorities, disavowed any differences in ability based on race, and in short would be considered liberal today and quite radical in 1947.
I was very suprised to see the final screen, where the movie said it was produced by the War Office and not to be shown to the general public. Based on this, I take this film not to be a relic of New Deal liberalism, but to be part of Harry Truman's efforts to desegregate the armed forces, which was as ahead of its time as this film. This makes sense, because a film like this would not have been tolerated in the segregated south..."
This article is part of an seven-part series of short quotes Rebel Youth is issuing about class struggle, revolution, civil-war, and pa...
Letter of Condolences to the Victims of Natural Disaster in Japan World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) would like to express its...
Rebel Youth is looking for hitchhiking stories, and also experiences with the challenges faced by women, trans people, hitchhickers facing ...