Julia E. Sweig, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
, has recommended that the US government return Guantanamo to 'Cuba'
and convert it to a 'public health research and treatment center' where Cuba the US and other nations in the region could 'develop strategies for cooperation' in health care and research. Her views appear in an essay titled "Don't Just Close Gitmo. Give It Back." published by The Washington Post.
Ms. Sweig may in part be justifiably reacting against a radicalized sector in the US who believe in their right to sovereignty while denying it of others. One only needs to read some of the comments readers posted to her essay
in the Washington Post to realize that this sector is still a reality.
Yet she is representative of a radicalized sector on the opposite extreme which shamelessly argues for US support of a totalitarian dictatorship. How else could one characterize the fact that she simply omitted millions of Castro's victims and opponents from her Guantanamo solution? Perhaps she hoped to obscure these most difficult facts by reminding us it's a move that dates 'back to the Kennedy White House' and has been "...viewed favorably by Havana ever since...".
By 'Havana'. Hmm.
Why doesn't Ms. Sweig address the fact that Havana has not been legitimately represented by anyone since Batista's and Castro's respective coups in 1952 and 1959? Is it because, as far as she is concerned, the Cuban regime's potential as a US partner in health research and treatment trumps all other considerations, just as it does for many on the US left? What do she and they mean by 'health'?
After all what is the significance of 'health treatments' in a nation whose population has diminished for 3 consecutive years and in 2008 possibly by as much as 6%? One would have expected that she would understand that health should logically manifest as more life, not less, as in a growing healthy forest.
Evidently she compartmentalizes 'health care' and 'respect for human rights' and would like us to think that, like the Nazis, a nation can be highly successful in the former while utterly failing in the latter; that violations of the former have no impact on the latter. Thus in her view it seems as if a health researcher or practitioner is in no way disqualified by abusing his patients' or subjects' human rights. Cleansing the nation of all who disagree with him has not been an issue of conscience for Castro nor does it seem to be for Ms. Sweig. Cultural genocide, ethics and health care are simply unrelated.
Perhaps she believes that by virtue of the fact that the US is also gravely guilty of human rights violations (e.g. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, etc.), it can in good conscience cooperate with the Castro tyranny on health.
Whatever the case may be with Ms. Sweig's ethics, her solution shows no evidence of having considered human rights or the millions who must constitute one of 3 parts to any solution; or that because they are the victims they should be preferentially considered as decisons are made on changes to US policy for Cuba or Guantanamo. Her solution just ignores them and hands over Guantanamo to the Cuban who for 50 years has been criminally abusing his patients and victims while endlessly boasting about 'his health care system'.
Is her solution really what the US government should do to improve its image internationally?
Of course not. A true solution must as a minimum require Castro to recognize the rights of the millions and likely majority he unabashedly calls 'gusanos' (worms). Given irreconcilable ethical differences, one possible process to implement it, in the most general terms is outlined here
For more on Cuba's diminishing population read 'Cuba population continued decline in 2008
' and 'Abortion and Population Decline in Cuba (Updated)
Why can't this 64 year old cuban (below) get health care from Cuba's Castro? Why do the regime's 'social workers' tell his son they don't have any service for 'that'? Why can't he get an appointment with a neurologist? Is it perhaps because he's the father of a young member of the non-violent opposition?
Buenaventura Roberto Gonzáles Velásquez.
Photo: Courtesy of Roby González Torres, his son. Copied from Miscelaneasdecuba.net.
For information on how Google treats this and other posts on human rights in Cuba read "Google, the Mainstream News Media, Blogs and Cuba : What I thought was not so crazy after all"
UPDATED MAY 4, 2009 AT 7:55 PM FROM ARGENTINA