Oct 20, 2010

Plot Thickens on Castro's Political Prisoner Release - Part II

Guillermo Fariñas is the latest Cuban dissident to weigh in on the release of Cuba´s political prisoners which Mr. Raul Castro promised to complete by November 7, just after U.S. mid term elections. Upon hearing of Mr. Castro´s March 28 promise to release all political prisoners, the Cuban dissident immediately suspended his 125 day hunger and water strike which had been aimed at obtaining the release of the most ill. But now he´s announced that he´s ready to resume it if Mr. Castro does not keep his promise.

The doubt however is not whether Castro will release them but whether he will allow them to remain in Cuba and respect their human rights.

For what would happen if the Castros do not allow them to remain in Cuba (outside of prison) but they refuse to leave their homeland? Will the Castros force them into a third country? That would seem to be a violation of international law and therefore unlikely.

What if they keep them in prison? That would make the Castros appear as liars in front of the world, not anything new, but it would also further diminish any chances they may have for the easing of U.S. tourist travel laws.

If the Castros allow them to remain but do not respect their rights a confrontation is bound to happen. That's where the Castros and their opponents are probably heading.

It doesn't seem that the Castros can see beyond, that is, to free them and respect their inalienable right to free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to travel within and outside of Cuba, etc. Perhaps they can only see that by doing something like that they would risk the dissidents publicly calling for a constitutional assembly, elections, etc. In such a scenario, of course, both Castros could end up being charged and tried.

Or maybe the inevitably aging Castros will finally want to begin negotiating an exit for themselves and their families or some other viable end to this 51 year old conflict.

Mr. Fariñas is one of three finalists for the European Parliament´s Sájarov prize, awarded annually to a defender of human rights. Two other Cuban dissidents, Oswaldo Payá and the Ladies in White, were awarded the prize in 2002 and 2005, respectively. Mr. Fariñas has not given up on his hunger strike strategy despite the fact that several dissidents (and this blog´s author) have expressed their disapproval of his suicidal liberation method.

UPDATE October 21

Today, the European parliament awarded Mr. Fariñas the Sájarov Prize for his defense of human rights. There is no question that Mr. Fariñas had valiantly stood up for human rights prior to beginning his suicidal hunger and thirst strikes. Indeed, he was beaten up for it more than once. Only later did his protests take this suicidal turn. Hopefully this award will not encourage him and other Cubans or humans to commit suicide in order to protest human rights abuses anywhere.

Castro of course agrees with his opponents presumed ´right´ to commit suicide.


Plot Thickens on Castro's Political Prisoner Release

Castro's Cuban Media vs. Dying Hunger Striker

Castro Regime and Dissident Agree on 'Right' to Suicide
UPDATED: Bioethics À la Carte for the Castro Regime?

Political Opponent, Potential Suicidée or Common Criminal?