This motion was passed unanimously at the recent CPGB-ML party congress
This congress condemns the ongoing unjust imprisonment and detention in the United States of Gerardo Hernández, Ramón Labañino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando González and René González, the Cuban citizens who went to the United States with the aim of infiltrating Miami Cuban circles for the purpose of finding out in advance about any intended terrorist attacks being prepared against Cuban national interests. Their arrest and conviction on charges of espionage against the US and conspiracy to commit criminal acts constitute one of the most glaring indictments of the US legal system.
This congress notes that even ex-US president Jimmy Carter has been shocked at the treatment meted out to these men, known to the world as the Miami Five, and has said: “I believe that there is no reason to keep the Cuban Five imprisoned. There were doubts in the US courts and also among human-rights organisations in the world. Now, they have been in prison 12 years, and I hope that in the near future they will be released to return home.”
Congress further notes that recent evidence shows that the US government was paying journalists in Miami to keep writing tendentious articles about the case at the time that it was being heard with a view to influencing public opinion, the jury, and the likely outcome of the trial. At the time of the trial it was well known that the Miami press was printing such material, and application was made several times for a change of venue for the trial because the publicity was ensuring that there was no way a trial in Miami could be a fair one. However, the judge refused to countenance a change of venue. One can surmise what would have been the effect on the judge’s career had she flown in the face of government expectations in this regard!
This congress believes that, even if the Five had been guilty of the offences with which they were charged, the sentences imposed on them would be considered totally disproportionate in any country that laid claim to being observant of human rights. These patriotic comrades were convicted on 8 June 2001 and sentenced to four life terms and 75 years in December 2001.
Congress notes that, on 9 August 2005, after seven years of unjust imprisonment, the Miami Five won an unprecedented victory on appeal. In a unanimous 93-page decision, a brave three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions and ordered a new trial. The court rightly called their prosecution “a perfect storm” of pervasive community prejudice, government misconduct and extensive negative publicity before and during the trial. However, the Bush administration appealed, and exactly one year after the favourable ruling granting the Five a new trial, the full panel of the 11th Circuit Court ruled to reverse their decision. The Cubans’ convictions were reinstated, although later court decisions reduced the sentences of Fernando González, Ramón Labañino and Antonio Guerrero. René Gonzalez has already been released (on 7 October last year) but is being kept in the US on three years’ probation, so that he cannot return to Cuba but has to remain in Miami, where he is at risk of being murdered by Cuban expatriate terrorists.
Congress further notes that there are ongoing appeals for habeas corpus, which have been given added impetus through the discovery of the large payments made by the US government to journalists reporting on the trial to the prejudice of the defendants. The appeals have been heard and the outcome is awaited. In the meantime, Gerardo is serving two life sentences and cannot under US law be paroled, while the current release dates of Ramón, Antonio and Fernando are:
- Ramón: 30 October 2024
- Antonio: 18 September 2017
- Fernando: 27 February 2014
This congress joins with the Cuban government, all the people of Cuba, and all of progressive humanity the world over in calling for the immediate release of the Miami Five, their immediate return to Cuba and significant compensation to be paid to them for the long years of unjust imprisonment, which have robbed them of years of their lives.
Mumia Abu Jamal
Download this article as a leaflet
The United States puts itself forward as a ‘democracy’; it calls itself the ‘land of the free’; it considers that it has the right to police the world, the right to label other countries as ‘undemocratic’ or lacking in freedom; it imposes sanctions and wages wars in the name of ‘human rights’.
And yet the US state, along with its fellow imperialist vultures in Britain and elsewhere, is the worst violator of human rights in the world.
By waging unjust wars for economic and geo-political advantage, the US and its allies deny millions of people the most fundamental human right: the right to life.
Through its economic stranglehold over the third world, imperialism is responsible for the extraordinary poverty that leads to the death of 13 million children a year from malnutrition-related diseases.
Despite the US government’s ostensible love of ‘freedom’, the US increasingly resembles a fascist state, with repressive laws, political prisoners and a massive prison population.
- Over 1 percent of the adult population is incarcerated – a massive 2,319,258 people. The US leads the world both in absolute numbers and in the proportion of its population behind bars.
- The US population accounts for approximately 5 percent of the world population, but its prison population accounts for 25 percent of the world total.
- The US incarceration rate is 3.4 times higher than that of Iran and 6.3 times higher than that of China – both countries about whose ‘human rights record’ the imperialist media (and their liberal hangers-on) bang on incessantly.
- One in 15 black men and 1 in 36 Hispanics over the age of 18 are in prison, as opposed to 1 in 106 white males.
- Whereas African Americans comprise only 12.2 percent of the US population and 13 percent of its drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offences and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offences.
Why are so many US citizens in prison? Because of the dedication of its ruling class to ‘freedom’: the freedom to exploit and the freedom to own vast amounts of private property.
Even in the richest country in the world, the system of exploitation means that while a handful of people are living in Dallas-style luxury, millions more live in abject poverty.
- The US is the richest country in the world, and yet, such is the disparity of wealth that almost one in eight US citizens lives in poverty.
- According to the US Department of Agriculture, about 11 million people suffer “very low food security”.
- The poverty rate for blacks was 24.3 percent in 2006; for whites it was 8.2 percent.
- The unemployment rate for blacks was 8.4 percent in November 2007; for whites it was 4.2 percent.
The job of the capitalist state is to protect the private property ‘earned’ through exploitation, and so hundreds of victims of capitalism, driven to crime through a desperation aggravated by consumerism promoted by capitalism in the interests of enhancing the profits of the rich, are thrown into prison in order to maintain capitalist order.
In addition to imprisoning petty criminals, the US is also in the habit of using the prison system in an attempt to silence discontent.
It has a long history of politically-motivated frame-ups, including those of Huey Newton, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
- Mumia Abu-Jamal has been in prison since 1981 and on death row since 1983.
- There is clear evidence that Mumia was the victim of a police frame-up.
- Mumia is behind bars because he is a journalist and political activist. He was an influential member of the Black Panthers, a talented organiser and publicist. The state tried to silence him by framing and locking him up.
Much like the British state, the US state does not respect civil liberties.
Under the guise of fighting against terrorism, the US has introduced laws that allow state agencies access to emails, telephone conversation recordings, medical records, financial records, etc. These laws are being used to clamp down on those who oppose the injustices of imperialism.
International human rights abuser
- The US is by far the most aggressive state in the world. Since the end of WW2, it has been involved in dozens of large-scale military actions: Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Somalia, Cuba, Congo, Panama, Dominican Republic and Lebanon, to name but a few. These are illegal, ruthless and unjust wars, fought solely for the economic benefit of the US ruling class.
- The invasion of Iraq, led by the US and fully supported by Britain, has been a disaster for the human rights of the Iraqi people: well over 1 million have been killed, over 2 million are refugees abroad, another 2 million are internal refugees. There is chronic malnutrition, minimal access to clean water and electricity, unemployment is well over 60 percent, and most schools and hospitals are defunct.
- The US has dozens of secret prisons around the world, where it tortures its victims as far away from the public eye as possible. Britain is wholly complicit in this (and, of course, has its own extensive record of prison torture).
- More than six years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the US is still holding over 350 people prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. These men have been given no trial and have been subjected to routine torture in complete violation of international law.
- Conscientious objectors in the US are put in prison. For example, Kevin Benderman, a US Army sergeant, served 12 months for refusing to deploy to Iraq.
Nobody in their right mind could label the US as the ‘land of the free’.
Only socialism will bring us real rights
Ultimately, the working class and the oppressed masses have no lasting political rights under capitalism. To the extent people enjoy democratic rights under capitalism, it is only in so far as the rule and privileges of the super-rich – the bourgeoisie – are not under threat.
Only socialism will bring real human rights for all: the right to live, the right to work, the right to education, the right to health care, the right to participate in the running of society, the right to be free from exploitation, the right to develop as an individual.
Free Mumia! Free all US political prisoners!
No freedom while imperialism lives. Forward to socialism!
Leaflet issued by the CPGB-ML in April 2008.
Sadly, the only change since we wrote the article above is that the situation has got worse - and there are two more criminal wars to add to the charge-sheet. The war against Libya and the war against Syria.
The graphic below shows just how many US citizens are locked up - and who benefits from their incarceration.
From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 4 March.
The well-known Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, has been targeted by fascist sympathisers as a result of his attempts to reopen cases of human rights abuses committed during the Franco era. Various right-wingers have brought no fewer than three criminal prosecutions against him, alleging various kinds of misconduct, and decisions have now been made in all three cases.
The most serious charge was a charge of corruption, arising out of the fact that the Santander Bank financed a university course on which Garzon was hired to lecture. That case was thrown out and Garzon found to be innocent.
The second case involved the accusation that Garzon illegally ordered wiretaps on confidential discussions between accused persons and their legal representatives. This he was found guilty of and was disbarred for 11 years, effectively ending his professional career as a judge. His purpose had been to ensure that proceeds of crime were not spirited out of the country, but this did not apparently excuse his breach of lawyer-client confidentiality.
Finally, he was accused of improperly taking action against suspected perpetrators of human rights abuses during the Franco era. The impropriety of this arises from the fact that all those guilty of such abuses were given immunity against prosecution by law, a law by which Garzon is bound. Garzon’s argument is that such a law is illegal under international law and he was therefore not bound by it.
The Spanish court, however, decided that Garzon was bound by it, but that he had not committed any offence as he had acted in good faith.
It is probable that these various cases will be appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.
Cuban mural depicting the Miami Five
Via the Cuban embassy in London
• The UN General Assembly declared 10 December to be ‘Human Rights Day’ in remembrance of the adoption and proclamation of the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.
• Cuba shows remarkable progress and achievements in the realisation of human rights for all its citizens.
• Cuba has a long and honorable history in cooperation with all mechanisms of human rights, which are applied on the basis of universality and non-discrimination.
• Cuba has ratified a considerable number of international instruments related to human rights.
• The constitution of the Republic of Cuba establishes the rights, duties and fundamental safeguards of citizens, as well as the foundations for its enforcement, realisation and protection.
• All churches and religious beliefs are respected without discrimination. There are four thousand religions and religious institutions.
• Freedom of opinion and speech has in Cuba its full realisation.
• Information and Communications Technologies is a commodity service for all the people and the training in its use is free of charge.
• Access to the internet is promoted by means of centres and institutions of social and community interest, and also taking into account the restrictions imposed by the blockade and our economic capacity.
• Cuba has health indicators similar to those of developed countries.
• All Cubans have access to quality basic services without discrimination, namely: education, health, social assistance and security.
• Education is universal and free of charge at all teaching levels.
• The Cuban people has made significant progress and continues to further its revolutionary transformations aimed at building an increasingly just, free, independent, equitable, democratic, comradely and participatory society.
Counterrevolutionary Flotilla from 9 December
• The so-called Democracy Movement based in Miami is a terrorist and provocative organisation, which was established on July 1995.
• This movement promotes the so-called flotilla, which has violated Cuba’s territorial waters.
• The so-called Maritime Operation will begin on 9 December, which, in spite of being promoted with a humanitarian content, has assumed a military training.
• This will be the 17th flotilla organised by the provocative Democracy Movement.
• Cuba, in turn, has decided to use diplomatic channels to warn the American government about this dangerous event.
• We have condemned the terrorist and provocative record of their organisers.
• Cuba warns about the incapability to control those ships and their crews involved, some of whom opt for violent confrontation between both nations.
• The tacit approval of the provocation by the American government highlights its subordination to the whims of the Cuban-American mafia in Miami.
• The forthcoming 9 December will go down in history without significance. It will be another day of public peace for Cubans; one of those days which help them forge a better life through their work and
• The provocative day is intended to create tensions between the United States and Cuba and support internal mercenary groupings.
• We firmly condemn the US government interference in Cuba’s domestic affairs.
Ladies in White
• The so-called Ladies in White are family members of counterrevolutionary prisoners, who were duly prosecuted by Cuban laws, with full due process.
• They receive financing and supplies from officials of the Interest Section, diplomats of some European embassies and anti-Cuban groups based in Miami.
• They go on political demonstrations under the close surveillance of diplomatic officials of the Interest Section and European embassies.
• These ladies claimed they were not politicians, that they were just demanding the release of their relatives in prison.
• Currently, these ladies’ husbands are free but they continue to receive resources and instructions from the US Interest Section as well as funding from notorious terrorists.
• During political demonstrations that take place in the streets of the capital city, these ladies are accompanied by other women who do not have any relative in prison but follow them for the payment they receive.
• The so-called Ladies in White have not been denied the right to go on political demonstrations and they have been doing so for almost two years. The Cuban government will never prevent its people from going out to defend their streets.
The Cuban Five heroes
• The five Cubans unjustly imprisoned in the United States are antiterrorist fighters.
• They were not seeking information related to US national security.
• They were trying to prevent the actions by the terrorist groups who act with impunity against Cuba from Florida.
• It has been proven that the nature of the case brought against the Cuban Five is, in essence, politically motivated.
• There have been numerous violations during trial and throughout the whole legal process.
• They have been imprisoned for 13 years already, which is a too long.
• The case of the Cuban Five has the support of governments, parliaments, religious, legal and human rights organisations.
• Personalities from all over the world, including 10 Nobel prize winners, have supported this cause.
• The habeas corpus presented in favor of Gerardo Hernández is the last legal resource within the US judicial system.
• The will of the US government to reject the habeas corpus in favor of Gerardo, will condition the decision that may be arrived at regarding the case.
• The new injustice being committed against the Cuban Five heroes, by imposing an additional punishment on René and make him remain in US territory, jeopardises his personal security.
• We make the US government responsible for the security and physical integrity of René González.
• By forbidding René to visit places visited by terrorists and violent persons in Miami, the US government acknowledges the presence of terrorists in its territory, which reveals once more, the double standard of the US policy in its struggle against terrorism.
• The only just and human decision that the US government should arrive at is to send René back to his homeland.
• The Cuban people appreciate the international solidarity, which is instrumental in the solution to the case of the Cuban Five.
• The Cuban Five maintain their unwavering resistance, unyielding resolve, optimism and conviction for victory.
• The US President Barrack Obama can use his constitutional prerogatives and release the Cuban Five.
By Felicity Arbuthnot, via Global Research
5 April 2011
“America is not - and never will be - at war with Islam.” (President Barack Hussein Obama, Al-Azar University, Cairo, 4 June 2009)
George W Bush embarked on the casual snuffing out of uncounted, unique, human lives in majority muslim populations, chillingly called it a “crusade”. President Barack Hussein Nobel Obama did not go that far, he left that to the French Minister of the Interior, Claude Gueant who, on 21 March, praised President Nicholas Sarkozy for having: “headed the crusade”.
For the “change we can believe in” president, reducing another ancient land of eye-watering archeological gems, massive oil and water resources and a population of six million - little more than Scotland - it is, reportedly, a “turd sandwich”.
Humanity is not “at the crossroads”. It is on the Cross, scourged, nailed (in all senses) and utterly inconsequential, in face of murdering, marauding, looting Empire.
When President Obama “updated the American people on the international effort we have led in Libya” on 29 March, he stated that: “we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges” and referred to “our interests” being “at stake”. Reluctance would be a first. America’s bombing for “interests” would be an encylopaedia.
Colonel Gaddafi, had, of course, stated the president: “denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorised innocent people around the world”. Busy man. Heaven forbid ‘Nato’s’ blitzkrieg should send the occasional shiver down a spine.
However, interestingly, at the end of March, a report was due to be presented by the UN Human Rights Council leading to a resolution commending Libya’s progress in a wide aspect of human rights. Numerous quotes from UN diplomatic delegations of many countries commented. Citations included: “achieving a high school enrolment rate and improvements in the education of women“, Libya’s: “serious commitment to, and interaction with, the Human Rights Council … enhanced development of human rights … while respecting cultural and religious traditions“.
Also mentioned was: “ … establishment of the national independent institution entrusted with promoting human rights, which had many of the competencies set out in the Paris Principles“. The country had: “become party to many human rights conventions and had equipped itself with a number of institutions, national, governmental and non governmental tasked with promoting human rights …”
The country was commended: “for the progress made in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, namely universal primary education [and] firm commitment [to] health care“. There was praise for “cooperation with international organisations in combating human trafficking and corruption” and for cooperation with the International Organization for Migration.
“Progress in enjoyment of economic and social rights, including in the areas of education, health care, poverty reduction and social welfare” with “measures taken to promote transparency“, were also cited. Malaysia “Commended the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya for being party to a significant number of international and regional human rights instruments.” Promotion “of the rights of persons with disabilities” and praise for “measures taken with regard to low income families” were cited.
In May 2010, Libya had also been voted on to the UN Human Rights Council by a veritable landslide, 155 of 192 UN General Assembly votes. As noted previously (i), Libya comes top in Africa on the Human Development Index, which measures longevity (the longest) infant mortality (the lowest) education, health services, well being. (ii)
All that said, before this publication is flooded with complaints about the writer’s naivety, ‘propagandist flights of fancy’ (an orchestrated old favourite) or whatever, some of the countries making positive recommendations regarding Libya did not have the most shining human rights records. But then the US, UK and Nato member countries pontificate from the high moral molehills of the mass graves of the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, overtly, and Yemen, Somalia and other countries, covertly. And of course there are Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, rendition flights and secret torture programmes and prisons across the globe for US/UK convenience. (iii)
Further, in a train wreck of factual inaccuracies in President Obama’s speech, a (possibly) Freudian slip crept in. “Benghazi”, he said, was “a city nearly the size of Charlotte” in danger of suffering “a massacre (staining) the conscience of the world”.
A quick check shows that Charlotte, North Carolina “has a major base of energy orientated organisations and has become known as ‘Charlotte, USA - The New Energy Capital’. In the region there are 240+ companies directly tied to the energy sector … Major players are AREVA, Babcock and Wilcox, Duke Energy, Electric Power Research Institute, Fluor, Metso Power, Piedemont Natural Gas, Siemens Energy, Shaw Group, Toshiba, URS Corp and Westinghouse.The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has a reputation in energy education and research and its ‘Energy Production and Infrastructure Center’ trains energy engineers and conducts research.” (Wikipedia)
Whilst many respected oil experts have argued that since so many western energy companies operate in Libya, this is not about oil, there are some points worth pondering. All companies operating in Libya must have Libyan partners, entitled to 35 percent of profits. (iv) Trading is via the Libyan Central Bank, in the Libyan Dinar, not US$. The Libyan Central Bank is also independently outside the IMF and the World Bank.
There are only five nations without a Rothschild model central bank: North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Cuba and Libya.
There were two others: Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were gobbled up by the international banking system within a heartbeat of the invasions.
“It has always been about gaining control of the central banking system in Libya. Oil is just a profitable side issue like every other state asset that is waiting in Libya to be privatised and sold off to multinational corporations like Bechtel, GE, and Goldman Sachs. Oil is important and it is certainly a target but it isn’t the driving force behind these global wars for profit. Banking is.” (v)
That said, as President Obama was busy being inaugurated, Colonel Gaddafi (January 2009) was mooting nationalising “US oil companies, as well of those of UK, Germany, Spain, Norway Canada and Italy”. “Oil should be owned by the state at this time, so we could better control prices by the increase or decrease in production”, stated the Colonel. (vi)
So how does the all tie together? Libya, in March, being praised by the majority of the UN for human rights progress across the board, to today being the latest, bombarded international pariah? A nation’s destruction enshrined in a UN resolution?
The answer lies in part with the Geneva based UN Watch. (vii) UN Watch is “a non-governmental organisation whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations“. With consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council, with ties to the UN Department of Public Information, “UN Watch is affiliated with the American Jewish Committee” (AJC).
Among those involved in UN Watch are Co-Chair, AJC’s David A Harris. Core values: “AJC has long believed that the development of a comprehensive US energy programme is essential to the economic and social well-being of our country.” AJC’s website is an exceptionally instructive listen and read. (viii)
Ambassador Alfred Moses, former US Ambassador to Romania, heads UN Watch. His company, Secure Energy’s mission: “Improving US energy security“, “Securing America’s energy future“. (ix)
Board Member Ruth Wedgwood is “an international law expert … at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) a former member of Donald Rumsfeld’s Defence Policy Board (formerly headed by Richard Perle.)“, closely associated with “a number of neo-conservative and rightist pro-Israeli groups - including Freedom House, UN Watch and Benador Associates - a neo-con dominated public relations firm“. She “has been a vocal advocate of the war on terror … strong defender of the Patriot Act and decision to invade Iraq“. (x)
Executive Director Hillel Neuer has served as law clerk to the Supreme Court of Israel, is a Graduate Fellow at the Shalem Center think tank and holds a host of law degrees. In addition to extensive human rights legal advocacies and testimonies, as associate in the international law firm of Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison llp (New York), “He was associate in the legal team that successfully represented Raytheon Company in various claims against Hughes Electronics Corporation.” Neuer was also instrumental in achieving victory for the California Public Utilitites Commission in: “various disputes with Pacific Gas and Electric Company“. (xi)
Speakers at events hosted by the company have included Hillary “I met the rebel leader in Paris” Clinton (xii) and Vernon Jordan, former political advisor to Bill “I would be inclined to arm the rebels” Clinton. (xiii)
UN Watch’s relentless campaign “to remove Libya from the Human Rights Council” began in May 2010, “working closely with Libyan dissident Mohamed Eljahmi“. (vii) Mr Eljahmi is “a Libyan/American human rights activist. He is a co-founder and former Communication Officer of American Libyan Freedom Alliance. ALFA was founded 2003 to help educate and inform US government and media about Libya. Mr Eljahmi actively educates and informs US government, national and international media and NGOs about Libyan affairs.” (xiv)
An aspect of especial ire for UN Watch has been Libya’s place on the five-member investigation by the Human Rights Council into the use of mercenaries. Given their woeful excesses from Blackwater’s (now Xe) shoot-ups to CACI’s man-management at Abu Ghraib (then there’s Paravant, an Xe subsiduary at Bagram; Guantanamo and KBR), it is a supreme irony that UN Watch’s cry of “foul” over Libya has won out, while the US’s place on the council is unsullied. (Libya was suspended from the Human Rights Council on 25 February this year.) And did Libya employ ‘black African mercenaries’, to fight the rebels? In the fog of disinformation, certainties are scarce, but it is a story which would seem to be unravelling.
Then there is the water. Gaddafi’s project to make Libya’s vast desert bloom has been dubbed by some “The eighth wonder of the world.” A succinct overview cites: “the large quantities of water in Libya deep beneath the desert … Libya’s Great Man-Made River Project. A project worth 33 billion dollars. The value of the small reservoirs is about 70,000,000,000,000 dollars.” (xv) When the project was announced in September 1991, London and Washington were reported to be “ballistic“. At a ceremony attended by Arab and African heads of state, foreign diplomats and delegations, including President Mubarak of Egypt, King Hassan of Morocco, Gaddafi called it a gift to the Third World. He also said: “American threats against Libya will double.” (xvi)
Looking at the all, it is impossible not to think the truth of an attack of over thirty nations on a country of six million is buried deeper than Libya’s aquifers. ‘Operation Odyssey Dawn’ was well named. An odyssey indeed. Odysseus’s tortured journey lasted ten years.
Libyan rebels in Benghazi said they have created a new national oil company to replace the corporation controlled by leader Muammar Gaddafi, whose assets were frozen by the United Nations Security Council.
The Transitional National Council released a statement announcing the decision made at a 19 March meeting to establish the “Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi, and the appointment of an interim director general” of the company.
The council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi“.
And of course, given Israel’s chronic water shortage, Libya’s abundant underground blessings, and the close geographical proximity of the two countries, there might be other regional advantages mooted in regime change.
vii. Full chronology of the Campaign against Libya: http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1316871&ct=9142899
See also: http://blog.unwatch.org/index.php/category/libya/
See also: http://www.paulweiss.com/
ALFA, about which not a lot can be found: http://www.alfa-online.net/
See also: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24096
Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil
Statement by Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to the UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, 1 March 2011, via Granma
Humanity’s conscience is repulsed by the deaths of innocent people under any circumstances, anyplace. Cuba fully shares the worldwide concern for the loss of civilian lives in Libya and hopes that its people are able to reach a peaceful and sovereign solution to the civil war occurring there, with no foreign interference, and can guarantee the integrity of that nation.
Most certainly the Libyan people oppose any foreign military intervention, which would delay an agreement even further and cause thousands of deaths, displacement and enormous injury to the population.
Cuba categorically rejects any attempt whatsoever to take advantage of the tragic situation created in order to occupy Libya and control its oil.
It is noteworthy that the voracity for oil, not peace or the protection of Libyan lives, is the motivation inciting the political forces, primarily conservative, which today, in the United States and some European countries, are calling for a Nato military intervention in Libyan territory. Nor does it appear that objectivity, accuracy or a commitment to the truth are prevailing in part of the press, where reports are being used by media giants to fan the flames.
Given the magnitude of what is taking place in Libya and the Arab world, in the context of a global economic crisis, responsibility and a long-term vision should prevail on the part of governments in the developed countries. Although the goodwill of some could be exploited, it is clear that a military intervention would lead to a war with serious consequences for human lives, especially the millions of poor who comprise four fifths of humanity.
Despite the paucity of some facts and information, the reality is that the origins of the situation in North Africa and the Middle East are to be found within the crisis of the rapacious policy imposed by the United States and its Nato allies in the region. The price of food has tripled, water is scarce, the desert is growing, poverty is on the rise and with it, repugnant social inequality and exclusion in the distribution of the opulent wealth garnered from oil in the region.
The fundamental human right is the right to life, which is not worth living without human dignity.
The way in which the right to life is being violated should arouse concern. According to various sources, more than 111 million people have perished in armed conflicts during modern wars. It cannot be forgotten in this room that, if in World War I civilian deaths amounted to 5 percent of total casualties, in the subsequent wars of conquest after 1990, basically in Iraq, with more than one million, and Afghanistan with more than 70,000, the deaths of innocents stand at 90 percent. The proportion of children in these figures is horrific and unprecedented.
The concept of ‘collateral damage’, an offense to human nature, has been accepted in the military doctrine of Nato and the very powerful nations.
In the last decade, humanitarian international law has been trampled, as is occurring on the US Guantánamo Naval Base, which usurps Cuban territory.
As a consequence of those wars, global refugee figures have increased by 34 percent, to more than 26 million people.
Military spending increased by 49 percent in the decade, to reach $1.5tr, more than half of that figure in the United States alone. The industrial-military complex continues producing wars.
Every year, 740,000 human beings die, not only on account of conflicts, but as victims of violent acts associated with organised crime.
In one European country, a woman dies every five days as a result of domestic violence. In the countries of the South, half a million mothers die in childbirth every year.
Every day, 29,000 children die of hunger and preventable diseases. In the minutes that I have been speaking, no less than 120 children have died. Four million perish in their first month of life. In total, 11 million children die every year.
There are 100,000 deaths a day from causes related to malnutrition, adding up to 35 million a year.
In Hurricane Katrina alone, in the most developed country in the world, 1,836 people died, almost all of them African Americans of few resources. In the last two years, 470,000 people died throughout the world as a result of natural disasters, 97 percent of them of low income.
In the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti alone, more than 250,000 people died, almost all of them resident in very poor homes. The same thing occurred with homes swept away by excessive rainfall in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
If the developing countries had infant and maternal mortality rates like those of Cuba, 8.4 million children and 500,000 mothers would be saved annually. In the cholera epidemic in Haiti, Cuban doctors are treating almost half of the patients, with a mortality rate five times lower than those being treated by physicians from other countries. Cuban international medical cooperation has made it possible to save more than 4.4 million lives in dozens of countries in four continents.
Human dignity is a human right. Today, 1.4 billion people are living in extreme poverty. There are 1.2 billion hungry people, and a further two billion are suffering from malnutrition. There are 759 million illiterate adults.
The Council has demonstrated its capacity for approaching human rights situations in the world, including those of an urgent nature which require attention and action on the part of the international community. The usefulness of the Universal Periodic Review, as a means of sustaining international cooperation, of evaluating the undertakings of all countries without distinction in this context has been confirmed.
The spirit which animated our actions during the review process of this body was to preserve, improve and strengthen this council in its function of effectively promoting and protecting all human rights for everyone.
The results of this exercise express a recognition of the Council’s important achievements in its short existence. While it is true that the agreements reached are insufficient in the light of the demands of developing countries, the body has been preserved from those whose aim was to reform it to their convenience in order to satisfy hegemonic appetites and to resuscitate the past of confrontation, double standards, selectivity and imposition.
It is to be hoped from the debates of the last few days that this human rights council will continue constructing and advancing its institutionalism toward the full exercise of its mandate.
It would be very negative if, on the pretext of reviewing the Council’s institutional construction and in abuse of the dramatic juncture which is being discussed, it should be manipulated and pressured in an opportunist way in order to establish precedents and modify agreements.
If the essential human right is the right to life, will the Council be ready to suspend the membership of states that unleash a war?
Is the Council proposing to make some substantial contribution to eliminating the principal threat to the life of the human species which is the existence of enormous arsenals of nuclear weapons, an infinitesimal part of which, or the explosion of 100 warheads, would provoke a nuclear winter, according to irrefutable scientific evidence?
Will it establish a thematic procedure on the impact of climate change in the exercise of human rights and proclaim the right to a healthy atmosphere?
Will it suspend states which finance and supply military aid utilised by recipient states for mass, flagrant and systematic violations of human rights and for attacks on the civilian population, like those taking place in Palestine?
Will it apply that measure against powerful countries which are perpetrating extra-judicial executions in the territory of other states with the use of high technology, such as smart bombs and drone aircraft?
What will happen to states which accept secret illegal prisons in their territories, facilitate the transit of secret flights with kidnapped persons aboard, or participate in acts of torture?
Can the Council adopt a declaration on the right of peoples to peace?
Will it adopt an action programme that includes concrete commitments guaranteeing the right to alimentation in a moment of food crisis, spiraling food prices and the utilisation of cereal crops to produce biofuels?
Distinguished ministers and delegates:
What measures will this Council adopt against a member state which is committing acts that are causing grave suffering and seriously endangering physical or mental integrity, such as the blockade of Cuba, typified as genocide in Article 2, Paragraphs B and C, of the 1948 Geneva Convention?
Thank you very much.
Translated by Granma International