Resolution against Cuba approved under US pressure
Cuba calls on the EU to cosponsor a resolution to protect US prisoners in Guantánamo
CUBA has called on the European Union (EU) to cosponsor a resolution demanding an investigation into the human rights situation on the US naval base in Guantánamo.
Foreign Minister Felipe Pérez Roque said that he expects the EU to give its backing to this resolution in the same way as it did to the US anti-Cuba one in the Human Rights Commission (HRC). Citizens of the EU and other countries have suffered terrible torture after being imprisoned for several years without trial or legal assistance on that naval base that the U.S. illegally occupies in Guantánamo, southeastern Cuba.
The foreign minister affirmed that the approval of a US resolution against Cuba in Geneva was possible only because of the brutal pressure brought to bear on HRC member countries.
During a press conference, Pérez Roque extensively analyzed the voting process, and immediately announced that a resolution titled The question of detainees on the United States Naval Base area in Guantánamo has already been registered with the General Secretariat.
As he began his nearly one-hour presentation, the Cuban minister stated that the United States used force to impose the spurious resolution (21 for, 17 against and 15 abstentions), and discussed some of the situations surrounding the vote.
First, he explained, the U.S. successfully pressured Saudi Arabia, a country that in 2004 voted against the resolution and this year voted in favor. It is known – he commented – that the crown prince is to be received on April 24 at President Bush’s ranch.
The Ukraine is the second country to radically change its vote (against in 2004 and for this year). "Everyone knows," the foreign minister said, "that the new Ukrainian president recently traveled to Washington, where he promised in writing to support the United States in its campaigns against Cuba and Belarus."
"But it was in Africa," Pérez Roque emphasized, "where Washington really went for the jugular, exploiting the grave economic and social situations confronted by those countries to get some of those who voted "no" in 2004 to change their votes via brutal pressure and threats. (Burkina Faso, Togo and Swaziland, which voted against in 2004, abstained this year).
The foreign minister provided some examples – without mentioning countries by name – of these mostly economic pressures: threats by the U.S. to close its doors to imports of cotton and deny legal benefits giving lower tariff access to US markets.
"But what is really impressive," Pérez Roque noted, "is that nine African countries held firm and voted "no," and Eritrea (which abstained in 2004) joined that "no" vote."
With respect to Asia, he referred to the case of Pakistan, "involved in a complex geopolitical situation," and added that after seven years of voting in Cuba’s favor, Pakistan decided to abstain.
From that part of the world, some of the outstanding "no" votes were issued by China, India and Indonesia. If the number of inhabitants in those countries are taken into account, the minister said, the greater part of the Earth is on Cuba’s side.
Continuing his analysis, Pérez Roque emphasized that the so-called "Latinamericanization" failed in Geneva, given that the voting itself reflected changes taking place in that region: "Thus, not one single Southern Cone country – for the first time – voted in favor of the resolution." Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay were joined in abstaining by Peru and the Dominican Republic, which he qualified as positive gestures.
He then reviewed Central America, with the traditional "yes" votes by Costa Rica and Honduras, adding that it could not be overlooked that once again, the Mexican government, in voting for the resolution, had opted for confrontation and had betrayed the fraternal and generous ties between the two peoples.
He recalled that the Mexican Senate, non-governmental organizations and public opinion had asked the government for a rectification. "To the Mexican people, we express our gratitude for their support," he said, commenting that the latter are not being represented because "other interests prevailed."
The Mexican government, Pérez Roque noted, negotiated the vote against Cuba in the interest of obtaining the OAS General Secretariat.
The minister judged that the Mexican government is reflecting on its isolation in Latin America and is moving against the winds of integration that are blowing across the continent. "Mexico is crossing the border of the Rio Grande, heading north."
A large part of Pérez Roque’s presentation was dedicated to the case of the European Union, which "with the to-date unprecedented co-sponsorship en bloc of the resolution, has once again bowed to US anti-Cuba policy," in an attitude that he qualified as capitulative and servile, and behavior that is hypocritical, which shows the EU’s inability to formulate its own policy towards the island.
He reviewed the dialogue that was beginning to develop between Cuba and the EU, but – he affirmed – "with this act of co-sponsoring the resolution, and others, the EU is renouncing its own interests, subordinating itself to the United States, and once again choosing the road of confrontation instead of dialogue, as the junior and accomplice of US policy.
The foreign minister explained that Washington was obliged – after six years – to present its resolution personally, because no other country would do so.
In analyzing the en bloc vote, he pointed out that in the HRC (comprised of 53 countries), the majority (32) rejected a "yes" vote on the resolution, either voting "no" or abstaining.
Likewise, he emphasized, in order to get another 20 countries to join it, Washington had to give up on condemning Cuba; it had to make concessions in order to reach a final text, which Pérez Roque described as a "deceitful, discriminatory and interventionist" document that maintains the unjustified monitoring of the island and achieves the goal of keeping the Cuba issue in the HRC.
"Frankly and clearly, I say that Cuba does not acknowledge the legitimacy of this resolution, and will not cooperate with it," given that it considers it illegitimate. Thus the mandate of the high commissioner is likewise illegitimate, and his or her entry will not be admitted.
To culminate his press conference, the foreign minister announced that on April 14, Cuba registered a resolution with the General Secretariat of the HRC in Geneva titled: The question of detainees in the United States Naval Base area in Guantánamo. The resolution seeks an in situ investigation; requests entry for the UN rapporteurs on arbitrary detention and on torture, the right of all persons to enjoy the highest possible level of physical and mental health, and the independence of judges and lawyers; requests that a report be drafted on those detained, and asks that the resolution be reconsidered during the 62nd session of the HRC next year.
Pérez Roque added that Cuba is officially requesting the European Union to cosponsor and vote in favor of this resolution, in order to be consistent with its concern for human rights regarding this issue that has universal ethical implications.
"Given the seriousness of the situation," Pérez Roque warned, "we guarantee that whatever the case, we will bring this resolution to a vote.
The foreign minister stated that the U.S. is presenting the liberation of the people as a reason for changing a country’s regime. "However," he warned, "Voting is one thing but attacking Cuba is another, because it would be at an incalculable cost.