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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Si Pipo - There Are Human Rights Violations in Cuba

[Editor’s Note – This post is a response]

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And there are human rights violations in China, Saudi Arabia, many other countries and even here in the United States. And yet we have normal diplomatic relations with those countries and our citizens may freely visit those countries. In fact, human rights are the ultimate existential question we live in. What are the rights of our fellow human beings? Here in America there are 40 million of our fellow citizens who have no health insurance, more than one million home foreclosures, and millions of our fellow citizens living in poverty. We have a political system where money speaks louder than the people do. We are fighting two wars where atrocities have been committed. What nation has truly followed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the letter? http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

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*Pipo, we cannot lead by hypocrisy. We must lead by example and by the power of influence, not interference.

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We have a Cuba policy that does not reflect the majority of America nor even Cuban Americans. This is not the politics of what our founding fathers intended when they formed this great country. Oh yes, we thank the founding fathers for giving us the freedom to speak our minds and the bill of rights. But there is still poverty and injustice in our imperfect America, just as there is innovation and creativity and the triumph of hard work that also has bestowed greatness to our nation. But when it comes to Cuba, well we know that our embargo and violating our fellow citizens rights to freely travel do not help improve human rights in Cuba. Yes, Cuba has human rights problems – we would like Cuba to embrace ideas like pluralism, free speech, and the concept that the open existence of a political opposition actually gives credibility and legitimacy to the party in power. Power that cannot be questioned is not authentic power. Our Cuban brothers and sisters understand they have serious problems. However, we have failed to help our Cuban family through sanctions; the self imposed travel restrictions; and wasting one billion taxpayer dollars on U.S. Cuba projects like Radio TV Marti – “TV que no se ve “[TV that no one watches]. We cannot even have a conversation with Cuba on these subjects under such a hostile environment now. These actions by us have only help hurt the Cuban people. They do not want an embargo nor do they want their friends, the American people, being blocked from visiting them in Cuba. They must be the captains of their destiny, just as we must be captains of our own here in America. We must be willing to help them as our neighbors, respectfully, and through the power of influence of ideas, commerce, and social exchange.

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Unfortunately, our government listens to a minority who only seeks to control this issue with political money. When will our government listen to the people, to the majority?

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*Pipo – a masculine term of Cuban endearment for a male.

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