2008 Plea to Lula for Cuba's Political Prisoners
According to Brazzil.com Brazil's president Lula denies having ever received any letters appealing for Cuba's political prisoners. Yet on August 13, 2008, I wrote to him pleading for the now dead hunger striker Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Cuba's political prisoners, and I copied Brazil's UN ambassador.
Nevertheless, Brazzil.com has reported:
Lula has denied having received the correspondence. "People need to stop the habit of writing letters, keeping them and then saying that they sent them to other people," he complained. And with a touch of refinement in his own cynicism, concluded: "If these people had spoken to me before, I would have asked him to stop the strike and perhaps this would have prevented his death."I am in possession of my emailed letter (with full headers demonstrating delivery path) as well as the Brazilian government's acknowledgment of receipt (see scanned image below) of my certified letter mailed in care of Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Relations. I also wrote to Argentina's President Kirchner, to the Queen of Canada, and to the Presidents and UN Ambassadors of Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Below is an excerpt of what I wrote to President Lula. Maybe he and the others I wrote to will do something real, decisive and worthy of our respect very soon, before another killing.
"13 de agosto 2008
Honorable Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Sr. Presidente de Brasil
c/o Ministério das Relações Exteriores
Palácio Itamaraty - Esplanada dos Ministérios - Bloco HBrasília/DF - BrasilCEP: 70170-900
"As a Cuban exile I publicly appeal for your understanding and very respectfully request a clarification of your understanding of the UN declaration of human rights (“DHR”) of which Brasil is a signatory subscribes. I also hope for your support.
"Given that Brasil is also a member of the UN Human Rights Council (“HRC”), as is the Cuban regime, a unique opportunity now exists for you to address in this new context the human rights violations to which the latter has been subjecting the Cuban people for almost 50 years.
"As is known publicly and internationally, since the regime seized power in 1959 promising to liberate us it has continuously violated fundamental human rights of the Cuban people, such as:
- our right to leave and reenter our homeland.
- our right to travel freely within our homeland.
- our right to publicly and peacefully express ourselves, communicate and associate with others or Cuban society at large for political purposes that oppose the regime's.
- our right to elect our government as was legitimately agreed and expressed in our 1940 constitution or as may be determined by a legitimate constitutional convention in which all Cubans, including exiles participate without risking censorship, beatings or imprisonment.
"Four of these political prisoners initiated a hunger strike in July. In other words, they chose to renounce their fundamental right to food if eating meant that they must renounce other fundamental human rights violated by the regime. They are Luis Mariano Delís Utria, Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
"The regime should be held accountable if allegations of prison abuses have not been independently verified given that they do not permit credible independent entities to meet with the 4 prisoners and fully investigate..."
"...I appeal for your collaboration with the peaceful transformation and true liberation of Cuba and therefore to exhort the regime, publicly, and through the Human Rights Council insisting that they:
- respect all human rights of these 4 political prisoners, of all the imprisoned, and of all Cubans, as they agreed to upon signing the DHR.
- free these 4 and all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, or make publicly available whatever proof exists that demonstrates they have been justly judged, condemned and sentenced for a crime other than exercising their human rights as defined by the DHR or accepting the help of the United States to do so.
- allow while the prisoners remain imprisoned (1) for them to be visited and attended medically and spiritually by entities independent of the regime and approved by their nearest relatives (with priority to husband/wife, parents, children) or the person(s) the prisoner names and (2) to send and receive correspondence without any obstructions.
- permit a team of independent investigators of which no less than 2 and at least half of which should be approved by the closest family members to investigate and collect information (through any medium they should wish) about claims of abuse of by any political prisoner or their families. Prisoners should be given the opportunity to name the family member(s) and other person(s) who can provide testimony regarding abuse.
- cooperate fully so that Cubans may hold a national debate, unobstructed and not managed by the regime, open to all Cuban exiles and independent observers, to discuss the UN pacts on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which the regime subscribes and (2) permit that the debate be televised and transmitted live by national and international media. That they accept this just invitation and challenge.
"Very truly and respectfully yours,
"copy: Honorable Exceléntisima Sra. Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti Embajadora Extraordinaria y Plenipotenciaria Misión Permanente de Brasil a las Naciones Unidas