Re: (OPE-L) dreams and nightmares

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Mon May 19 2003 - 08:53:55 EDT


I did not say, as you have asserted below,

...."the Cuban people who
> you are defineing as the 'oppressed' (this is a consideration that
> socialists cannot overlook)."

 !!! I certainly do not regard them as oppressed!!

With respect to the recent trials I can only encourage you to read the
statements made by the Cuban Government, and which systematically answer the
charges made in the millionaire press eg the great majority of the 28 were,
for a start, not journalists. That the USembassy is being used - contrary to
the Vienna convention - as an agitating centre etc, We have to give
unconditional support to the Cuban people. The cuban government is acutely
aware of the issues at stake.  I can only ask you to grasp some sense of
proportion here... imagine what you would be saying if it was Cuba was doing
what the US is in Guantanamo alone!

Paul Bullock

----- Original Message -----
From: "Nicola Taylor" <19518173@STUDENT.MURDOCH.EDU.AU>
Sent: Monday, May 19, 2003 3:24 AM
Subject: Re: (OPE-L) dreams and nightmares

> Paul Bullock writes:
> > Jerry:
> >
> > Concerning such 'political' discussions. Firstly ALL the theory
> on
> > this site has political implications as far as I am concerned.
> I agree (and welcome the advisory committee's decision).
> > Secondly, I
> > am quite astonished that given the appalling crimes committed by the
> > and powerful to maintain their positions in the world, and the extremely
> > aggressive and violent positions being carried forward  against  the
> > democratic rights of millions by these same interest, that  the recent
> > limited reapplication of the death penalty in Cuba has seized the main
> > attention of  some members of the list.
> The reapplication of the death penalty is but ONE issue in Cuba's dismal
> human rights record.  The recent crackdown (about which Ingrao writes)
> included not only well-known
> opposition members but led also to the arrest, summary trial and
> imprisonment (very long sentences) of 28 independent journalists and a
> number of grass-roots activists.  There is a full document available on
> crackdown, which effectively began in 1996, from Amnesty International
> website: http:// .
> Here is their press release to do specifically with the executions.
> Cuba: Executions mark an unjustifiable erosion in human rights
> In yet another blow to respect for human rights, Cuban authorities have
> ended a three-year de facto moratorium on executions by sending three men
> their deaths before an official firing squad, said Amnesty International
> today.
> "Coming on the heels of the mass arrest and summary trials of at least 75
> Cuban dissidents -- most of whom received shockingly lengthy prison terms
> ranging up to 28 years -- these executions mark a serious erosion in
> human rights record."
> "The executions are extremely worrying as a human rights development, not
> only because they signal the end of Cuba's widely-heralded de facto
> moratorium on executions," continued Amnesty International. "What is
> of concern is that the men were given a summary trial, and their appeals
> the supreme court and the Council of State were dealt with in a cursory
> wholly inadequate manner. They were shot and killed less than a week after
> their trial began." [In fact their right of appeal was dismissed].
> The three men, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla
> García and Jorge Luis Martínez Isaac, were among a group who reportedly
> hijacked a Cuban ferry with several dozen passengers on board on 2 April
> tried to force it to the United States. The incident,the third hijacking
> two weeks in Cuba, ended without bloodshed, after several days' standoff
> between Cuban security forces and the the hijackers.
> Currently there at least 50 people on death row in Cuba. Amnesty
> International is concerned that these people may also face imminent
> execution given that the moratorium has ended, and has taken action by
> calling on authorities to urgently commute all pending death sentences.
> Lorenzo Enrique Copello, Bárbaro Leodán Sevilla and Jorge Luis Martínez
> convicted of terrorism under Law 93 of late 1991, which expanded existing
> anti-terrorism measures and reaffirmed the use of the death penalty in the
> most extreme cases. Another four hijackers received life sentences, while
> four others received shorter prison terms.
> In an official statement on the executions on 11 April, the Cuban
> claimed that it was undergoing serious provocations and threats to its
> national security emanating from the United States.
> "There is no justification for executions, particularly following summary
> trials," Amnesty International responded. "Over the last four weeks, Cuba
> has reversed significant human rights progress made over a period of
> This represents a return to extreme repressive measures in use decades ago
> which cannot be justified, and which ultimately harm the Cuban people."
> > What sense of proportion do we see
> > in these remarks?
> I think I have already stated quite clearly the reason for concern: it is
> concern I share with Fred (the current actions harm the Cuban - indeed the
> socialist - cause) and with AI (the current actions harm the Cuban
> Indeed, one cannot with ANY credibility denounce the violence and
> imperialist ambition of the US state (against the oppressed) while in the
> same breath condoning the violence of the Cuban state (against the
> oppressed).  It has been suggested that violence has been forced on Cuba
> its difficult circumstances, but I find this argument utterly nonsensical.
> Summary trial (and detention without trial) are the CHOSEN strategies of
> current administration.  Fred considers these strategies mistaken,
> considers these strrategies mistaken, Michael considers these strategies
> mistaken, I consider these strategies mistaken.  Moreover a repressive
> apparatus immediately raises the question of whether (or not) the Castro
> government can (as it claims) rely on the support of the Cuban people who
> you are defineing as the 'oppressed' (this is a consideration that
> socialists cannot overlook).  At present there is no
> answer to the question because 'the oppressed' are not allowed to debate
> future
> of their own country (journalists can be arrested and TV stations closed
> suggesting that such a debate should even exist).  Of course, the key
> question is how to respond (given the likelihood of an attack on Cuba).
> Under these circumstances, should the question of democracy be set aside,
> some contributors to the debate have suggested?  I don't think so: what
> "defends" as a socialist has too much importance for the future of
> (if there is to be a future). In my view Riccardo is right to point out
> that the memory of Allende survives not because he was defeated by US
> imperialism but because he DID NOT resort to repression in his defence.
> > If Nicky wishes to appeal to our better instincts why
> > doesn't she choose to condemn the fact of  Koestler's rape of Mrs Foot,
> > rather than his fiction?
> I hope you are not suggesting that all great works of literature should be
> dismissed if the 'moral' credentials of their authors are brought into
> question?  The simple answer to your question is that Koestler's fiction
> interesting in the context of the current debate (in the sense that the
> arguments of the book parallel the arguments in this forum, in favour and
> against supporting the Castro regime).
> > Why have the protests against the death penalty not
> > been seen before on this site by the same correspondents, when applied
> > against  the oppressed in the USA?
> Would you like to initiate a debate on the subject?  I will be happy to
> contribute since I share Riccardo's view: the death penalty (the most
> violent form of state action against individuals) can NEVER be justified.
> > If a discussion of imperialist violence and  counteractions by
> > countries has to be discussed, it must  be done in public. This was the
> > classic way to identify the real political  positions of  priests and
> other
> > ideologists who concealed self interest and reaction in moral
> > and 'heavenly' appeals. It is not suprising that Castro is quoted on
> > site recently as attacking certain Marxists.
> I also am not surprised that Castro is attacking Marxists, or indeed
> who opposes him.  Once a ruling elite begins on this road the list of
> 'enemies of the state' tends to grow...
> Nicky

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