Cuban crackdown on democracy campaign


Castro's secret police crack down on democracy campaign
By Francis Harris in Washington
(Filed: 21/05/2005)

Hundreds of Cuban dissidents chanted "freedom, freedom" and "down with Fidel Castro" at the start of a gathering of pro-democracy campaigners held near Havana.

But the opening of the convention, held in an orchard, was overshadowed by a wave of arrests and the expulsion of visiting European parliamentarians and journalists, as President Castro's secret police acted against the island's first multi-party democracy conference.

Five European legislators, with several journalists and human rights activists from the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy, were seized. At least six Poles were believed to be in Cuban jails.

Among those expelled was Karel Schwarzenberg, formerly an aide to the Czech president, Vaclav Havel. The central European aristocrat and parliamentarian described the arrests as "the typical behaviour of a totalitarian regime". The Cuban's exaggerated response was indicative of "the nervousness of a regime that is visibly unsure of itself", he said.

An attempt to hold a similar congress nine years ago was called off after the participants were arrested.

About 200 activists demanding the release of Cuba's political prisoners attended the meeting of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society. The organiser, Martha Beatriz Roque, told the gathering: "No state, no regime, no party has the right to control a whole nation. That is why we are here."

The organisers said the state had prevented many would-be delegates from attending the meeting.

Participants then heard a video-taped message from President George W Bush, who hailed their attempt to bring freedom to the island. Cuba's dissident community, which has been subjected to 46 years of harassment since the communist takeover, is far more sympathetic to the United States than to Europe, where they believe that there is a lingering romantic attachment to President Castro.
And just to tie this into the Galloway thread, Gorgeous George is on the record as saying that, in his opinion, Fidel is not a dictator:

GG: I don't - and I don't think many readers of The Independent on Sunday - consider Castro or Guevara a rogue. These people are heroes.
IOS: But Castro is a dictator, and you just said. . .
GG: He's a hero. Fidel Castro is a hero.
IOS: He's a dict. . .
GG: I don't believe that Fidel Castro is a dictator.
IOS: I honestly can't think of anything to say to this.
GG: Fidel Castro is a great revolutionary leader. But for 40 years or more of siege, undoubtedly Cuba would have developed, democratically speaking, differently. But when the enemy is at the gates, spending billions to destroy the revolution, you have to accept that there will be restrictions on political freedoms in a place like Cuba.
IOS: You've met El Presidente, I take it.
GG: Yes. Magnificent. He's the most magnificent human being I've ever met.

George Galloway, in an interview for The Independent on Sunday, November 2003
But then whilst the people of Cuba have actually spent 40 years living under Communism, Gorgeous George has just spent the last 40 years masturbating over it... [thx to Mrs Stoat for this statement, which I have abridged from her original]
Ah yes, GG's fine grasp of the role of the vanguard party; the members of which will, of course, when conditions are right, release their grasp on power and let the will of the people rule free... Ah, utopia! :roll:
Castro's stood up to the threat of the US for nigh on 50 years. The US have wanted him dead all this time, but just weren't smart enough - it's typical of the Americans to bungle this along with all the other cock-ups they've been involved in.

Fidel Castro is a hero to the common man in Cuba - I sincerely hope his successor can hold out for the full century and manage to get international trade going to feed his people, despite American interference. Most things you'll read about Cuba and the dictatorship of Castro are seen through the distorting prism of the western media, owned and controlled by disgusting power-crazed oligarchs - so of course you won't get the truth. Be very sceptical about what you read. Cuban people have been made to suffer due to US sanctions, in the same way that the Iraqi people suffered and died during western sanctions (which we never heard much about funnily enough - George Galloway reminded us on Question Time the other night about the million who had starved, and was interrupted by the 'impartial' David Dimbleby "Yes George, you've told us about that before on this programme" - ok Dimbleby, you may have heard it before, but millions of people who only get British TV/Radio or read the Murdoch press/Daily Mail/Star/Telegraph won't have read very much about it.

Keep going Fidel - George Galloway may model himself on you, but despite his barnstorming performance in Washington last week, he's got a long way to go to catch up :wink:

Similar threads

Latest Threads