“Cuba’s Contempt for Human Rights” By Logan M. Williams
Center for Free Cuba Cuba’s Contempt for Human Rights By Logan M. Williams

Cuba’s Contempt for Human Rights

By Logan M. Williams

Rana Siu Inboden, Ph.D., with the National Endowment for Democracy released a report titled “Defending the Global Human Rights System from Authoritarian Assault: How Democracies Can Re-take the Initiative” on 5 July 2023. In both the published report and the conference which NED held to discuss it, Inboden made it clear that Cuba exists at the forefront of the authoritarian assault on the human rights-centric world order This report states that Cuba has been the core and a principal organizer of the coalition of nations dedicated to the devaluing, and eventual destruction, of multilateral human rights institutions. This coalition also includes such habitual offenders of human rights as: China, Russia, Pakistan, Belarus, North Korea, and Iran.

This report is prescient, as a variety of interested parties in the United States push for greater cooperation with Cuba, turning a blind eye to the plight of the Cuban people. Those who live on the island would not be surprised by the report’s revelations, that Cuba and this coalition are willing to permit “gross human rights violations,” and that the Cuban regime actively “chips away at the universality of human rights” while resisting any attempts to impose “genuine accountability.”

The Cuban people, both those who live on the island presently and the members of Cuba’s large diaspora, have been fighting for decades to achieve a measure of human dignity and respect for their natural rights. Protests for a free Cuba have continued to arise across the island in recent years, including, the most recent anti-government protest by human rights activists in Caimanera. The Cuban government responded to these protests with brutal repression and violence, the jailing and torture of activists, and the enaction of laws which severely restrict (and virtually prohibit) many forms of free expression. This is par for the course for the Cuban regime, which in the past has subjected Cuban dissenters to electro-shock therapy (which is tantamount to torture), in an attempt to “cure” these dissidents of free thought.

The number of Cubans who are illegally and wrongfully confined, in positively medieval political prisons, is ever-increasing. The dictatorship continues to impose draconian prison sentences on political and human rights activists, in an attempt to crush the liberal spirit of the Cuban people, including those who are just children.

Additionally, on 9 June 23 the Organization of American States (OAS) released a report which implicated the Cuban government in the death of Oswaldo Payá, in 2010, who was Cuba’s foremost human rights activist and regime critic. That day, the Cuban government also killed Harold Cepero, another activist that was in the same vehicle as Oswaldo Payá. The Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human-Rights stated, “In view of the foregoing, the Commission considers that there is serious and sufficient evidence to conclude that State agents participated in the death of Mr. Payá and Mr. Cepero.” Additionally, as detailed in the OAS report, the Cuban regime’s behavior towards Oswaldo Payá during his life as an activist, and towards his family following his death, could only be characterized as harrassment — an attempt by a hostile government to terrorize the liberal opposition movement calling for reform. The world now knows the truth, the Cuban despots murdered Oswaldo Payá, and tried to cover it up.

It is disrespectful to the memories of the political prisoners who languish in prisons with conditions that are tantamount to torture, and to those who have died at the hands of the Cuban despots, to fawn over this barbarous regime. Those elements in the United States who are encouraging re-engagement with totalitarian Cuba, soak their hands in the blood of the innocent Cuban people, and must be held to account. Rather than reneging upon America’s promise, of representing the cause of liberalism and freedom around the world, we should stand firm with the Cuban people in the fight for their national liberation from tyranny.