Constructive Compromise

My Weekly Denunciation of Castro’s Dictatorship

On October 28th, the Cuban government was re-elected as a member of the United Nations Council for Human Rights. In spite of being a shameful fact, the news came as little surprise. Since the Council’s inception in 2006 and after the dissolution of the discredited Commission on Human Rights, the Council has had a questionable history in selecting member states.

 

It is not merely a procedural fault but a sign of a tendency increasingly observed as a result of what is known as the “global village” and the so-called real politik, which is characterised by its short range and, above all, by its inefficiency. Since this new vision is focused on solutions that are founded on compromise instead of principles, problems end up being aggravated instead of solved in the long run. Syria and Venezuela are two good recent examples. The most elemental logic dictates that the best way to solve problems is by addressing the cause, not the consequences.

After the announcement of the new Council’s members, Mr. Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, stated that “the re-election of China, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia, which are regimes that systematically violate their citizen’s human rights, casts a shadow over the reputation of the United Nations”. Likewise, before the vote, the Human Rights Foundation had regarded the Cuban government as incapable of judging other countries, considering that it does not allow free and fair elections, carries on systematic political arrests, exercises violence against dissidents, and limits the exercise of journalism and freedom of association. None of these opinions were taken into account.

This way of dealing with Castroism is not new at all. It was tried last century in South Africa with no positive results whatsoever. After years of debate between international sanctions and “constructive compromise”, the apartheid was only dismantled after a general strike that forced the liberation of Nelson Mandela and the holding of free, multiracial and multiparty elections.

Let’s face it once and for all: the harsh reality is that dictatorships operate according to their particular convenience, so their primary objective lies in the conservation of power. These dictatorships use all the advantages of information superhighways to share intelligence and support one another in international meetings. A compromise with this reality, far from being constructive, turns out to be very destructive.

Article 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that “nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any state, group, or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein”. Therefore, the evaluation of the fulfilment of these rights cannot be subjected to geopolitical decisions.

Today’s world cannot be ruled by institutions and regulations conceived sixty or seventy years ago. The United Nations and the entire system of regional and multinational political organisations need an in-depth review. Otherwise, they risk becoming totally obsolete.

The re-election of Cuba for the UN Council on Human Rights is further evidence of the great dichotomy that is afflicting Humanity in our time. Technological progress can, and should, be the road towards the search of more significant social progress. However, to achieve this goal, dictatorships such as the one in Cuba, must be dismantled instead of rewarded. Real constructive compromise lies in this self-evident truth.

Omar López Montenegro, Human Rights Rights at Fundación Nacional Cubano – Americana.