Liberal Solidarity Week

Introduction by Muhd Khalis

cuba-flagThe Republic of Cuba has been under the control of the Communist Party of Cuba and it’s leader, Fidel Castro, since the Revolution of 1959.

The Communist Party has consistently violated International Human Rights norms since their taking of power, including banning of newspapers critical of the party, murder of political dissidents and imprisonment of others in labour or re-education camps, as well as forcing the nationalisation of private property.

It is because of these oppressive measures that many Cubans have since fled the country and most of them have re-settled in the nearby U.S. state of Florida.

The situation in Cuba has not changed much since the fall of the Soviet Union which used to be Cuba’s main economic backer.

Today, Cuba is consistently criticized by Human Rights Watch for “repression of nearly all forms of political dissent” and that “Cubans are systematically denied basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, privacy, movement, and due process of law.”(HRW, 2006).

In recent years, outright torture and executions have decreased and there has been an increase in socio-political blogging in Cuba, with a handful of these online bloggers critical of the government.

Yet, repression and intimidation remains swift for opponents of the regime.

Yoani Sanchez, a prominent blogger, had been reportedly detained and beaten last November by Cuban security agents; her husband, also a blogger, was subject to “an act of repudiation” by an angry mob.

Other, such as Claudio Cadelo, have also been denied permission by the Cuban Government to leave the country to attend international conferences.

Acquisition of a computer and access to the internet is heavily regulated by the Cuban state, despite Raul Castro’s recent reforms.

This makes it harder for more bloggers to get online, and for readers to access alternative sources of media, in a country already ranked as amongst the 10 most unfree countries in the world with regards to online free expression.

With new backers in the form of the equally repressive regime in the People’s Republic of China,Cuba’s authoritarian path and it’s contempt of the international human rights regime looks set to continue.

The Young Democrats stand in Solidarity with our fellow human rights activist and Cubans that are continuing the fight against the authoritarian regime.

Bart Woord, IFLRY President: (18th March 2010)

“After 51 years of relentless dictatorship, the people of Cuba are desperate for change. The recent death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata while on a hunger strike and the subsequent decision by other dissidents to turn to this extreme form of pressure illustrates the depth of hopelessness in Cuba. It is high time for the Cuban people to exercise their inherent human rights and attain self-determination and democratic pluralism.”