By Alfred de Zayas – Feb 3, 2021
Since 1959 Cuba has sent to disaster-struck countries “armies of white robes” in the name of international solidarity and what we may call medical diplomacy.
When George Orwell wrote his novel 1984, he was keenly aware of the dangers of totalitarianism and of the threat to our freedoms posed by indoctrination and manipulation of public opinion, whether by government or by the private sector. It is not just “fake news” but the destruction of language. But could Orwell have anticipated the insanity of a President of the United States and the corrupting use of words by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo?
Iran, North Korea and Syria were already on the US “blacklist” of countries that allegedly sponsor terrorism. Now Cuba has been added to that bogus list. Indeed, if Trump wanted to denounce countries that promote terrorism, he would have to start with the United States itself and its murderous use of drones, the terror bombing of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, currently being investigated by Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. He would reflect on the production and trade with weapons that kill indiscriminately, including landmines, cluster bombs and depleted uranium weapons.
What is Cuba’s contribution to “terrorism”? Is its solidarity with Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela justification to consider it a sponsor of terrorism, as suggested by Pompeo? What does the word “terrorism” mean in Pompeo’s dictionary? Is this not a form of “hate speech”, a form of “fake news” intended to disinform the public so as to continue Washington’s “regime change” ambitions?
Back in 2017 the UN Independent expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity conducted a very professional official UN mission to Cuba on behalf of the Human Rights Council. Her report highlighted Cuba’s contributions to a culture of peace worldwide and its altruistic help to many developing countries, in particular by sending its doctors to assist the medical services to many countries requesting such assistance, in particular in connection with the repeated Ebola outbreaks in Africa. Indeed since 1959 Cuba has sent to disaster-struck countries “armies of white robes” in the name of international solidarity and what we may call medical diplomacy. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Solidarity/Pages/IESolidarityIndex.aspx; https://undocs.org/A/HRC/38/40/Add.1
Following Dandan’s successful mission to Cuba and the presentation of her report to the Human Rights Council, Cuba has continued sending doctors and nurses to many countries in need, including European countries like Italy and Andorra. It has been reported that Cuba has had as many as 37,000 medical workers helping out in 67 countries. https://apnews.com/article/98cfdbf5c4a62a40eba648723e452f3e; https://www.thenation.com/article/world/cuba-doctors-covid-19/ This is also reflected in a recent report published in Time Magazine.
In 1984 Big Brother’s slogans were based on “double thinking” – that human capacity of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct. We all remember that the Ministries of Truth, Love, Peace, and Plenty in Oceania made sure that the happy population of Oceania believed in the benevolence of its leaders. But who in his right mind could believe in the good faith of Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo? As with the 1984 slogans, Trump’s use of double-think illustrates his expectation that the American people – and the world – could simultaneously accept the belief that Cuba is a terrorist state, although it cannot be hidden that it practices international solidarity, as confirmed by UN reports and the UPR procedure of the Human Rights Council.
Trump’s “newspeak” will not survive him. There is zero evidence that the Cuban government masterminds or has masterminded any terrorist attack anywhere in the world. Nor is Cuba in the position to bankroll terrorist activities, being itself the victim of draconian sanctions that have asphyxiated its economy.
Gregory Meeks, Democratic Congressman from New York, is the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He commented that Trump’s putting of Cuba on the blacklist is not aimed at helping the Cuban people and only complicates matters, because it attempts to tie the hands of the Biden administration. Speaking to the Associated Press, Meeks noted that this designation with less than a week to go in Trump’s presidency and following Trump’s incitement to “a domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capital … that’s hypocrisy.”
It is too absurd for words. Eminent candidates for the list would, of course, be Saudi Arabia, which commits daily terrorist attacks on the people of Yemen, where countless children have been victims of terror bombing, and where the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis exists today. And who is now called a terrorist in Trump’s playbook – the Houthis, not Mohammad bin Salman al Saud.
Let us hope that after 20 January Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will have the courage to erase these last minute abuses by the Trump Administration and that the 60 years of cruel embargo, financial blockade and sanctions will be lifted, as demanded by the UN General Assembly in 28 resolutions, the last one adopted on 7 November 2019. https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/ga12212.doc.htm
Featured image: FIle Photo
Alfred de Zayas
Alfred-Maurice de Zayas is an American lawyer, writer, historian, expert in the field of human rights and international law and retired high-ranking United Nations official. Since 2012, he has been the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order.
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