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Q: When is jail better than freedom?

By ATWadmin On November 8th, 2006

roque.jpgA: When you are a dissident in Castro’s Cuba. Economist Martha Beatriz Roque was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2003 for “subversion” – i.e. calling for democracy, but was released early due to poor health. She has told the authorities she’d rather be back in jail, where at least she would be left in peace, than face the constant barrage of insults, abuse and threats from Castro’s henchmen.

Back in April the 61-year-old was assaulted in her home, punched and dragged across the floor. Threatening notes are constantly pushed under her door. Communist agents have been installed as her neighbours, and have hung a huge picture of the dictator outside her door to remind her that Big Brother is watching, but unlike many of her fellow dissidents, this brave woman will not be scared into silence.

This is the true picture of Cuba. Politicians from democratic countries who turn a blind eye to the misery and oppression of Fidel’s Police State cover themselves in shame and should not be forgiven.

26 Responses to “Q: When is jail better than freedom?”

  1. perhaps westerners in a position of influence could help this poor old lady

    anyone know thew address for a K.Livingston ?

  2. Brave woman. The MP Joya in Afghanistan was quoted as saying ‘they can kill me. but they cannot kill my voice’.

  3. Richard: great post. Some jerk is displaying a bust of Castro in Central Park today. If only people wouldn’t hold romatic views of dictators.

  4. The West ignores FAR worse things when it suits – such as what is happening in China – because China is spending ….

  5. I don’t know if it is ignores it rather than takes what steps are realisitically available. We have a tad more leverage in Cuba than China.

  6. <Q>We have a tad more leverage in Cuba than China.

    We have a lot less leverage – as we already have Cuba under the cosh. The West wants China’s money and business – and doesn’t give a damn about what is going on internally. If Cuba had something we desperately wanted you can bet things would be different.
    Uzbekhistan is another example – a horrific place, Ghastly record on human rights – makes Cuba look like paradise ….. but while they play ball, we look the other way. Pakistan …. we need them, so we look the other way.

  7. spot on mad.

    also, years of blockade only reinforced castros position. its likely the communist movement wouldve disappeared decades ago if the little island had been engaged in a more positive manner.

  8. I disagree on China and no one giving a damn. Exactly what would you have us do? Invade?

  9. Blame where blame is due. Before people criticise the West for duplicity, remember that the communists in China and Cuba are directly responsible for what they do,

  10. <q>Exactly what would you have us do?

    How about dropping the hypocrisy about Cuba and human rights ?

    China, Pakistan and especially Uzbekhistan are this generation’s Iraq. None of the Westerners so angst ridden about the plight of the Iraqi people today gave a damn when Saddam was useful against Iraq. Things are as bad and worse in places like Uzbekhistan and Somalia as they were in Iraq … but hey, we can pretend to be the good guys because we are leaning on
    Cuba….

  11. <Q>the communists in China and Cuba are directly responsible for what they do

    Indeed Richard – and we are happy to do business with China and Uzbekhistan, but Cuba is somehow different … How come ?

    Would you say a bit of Political thuggery is worse than forced abortions (china) and boiling people alive as in Uzbekistan ?

  12. >>China, Pakistan and especially Uzbekhistan are this generation’s Iraq. None of the Westerners so angst ridden about the plight of the Iraqi people today gave a damn when Saddam was useful against Iraq.<<

    Well said, MR!
    Problem is, so many of them are blinded by the needs of their latter-day crusade that they have deliberately forgotten this shameful episode.

    >>boiling people alive as in Uzbekistan<<

    What?

  13. Madradin,

    with specific regard to the "bit of political thuggery" which is the subject of the post, it is an example of a communist dictatorship in action, and symptomatic of a totalitarian police state. As such it’s by no means isolated.

    If we’re compiling league tables of criminal regimes, I guess I’d rather live in Cuba to the other two places, as the music, rum and cigars may take the edge of the lack of democracy, and the climate’s probably more agreeable than the Uzbek winter.

    I have absolutely no time for the Chinese Communist regime, and posted on the subject very recently:

    http://atangledweb.squarespace.com/httpatangledwebsquarespace/ccp-on-the-brink-of-collapse-we-can-only-hope.html#comments

    There is a link to the "nine commentaries" which catalogue the crimes of that regime.

    What is particularly objectionable in both the above cases, is the Mayor of London – the city where I live – has spoken in praise of both regimes. This sickens me, and I suggest that it’s one thing dealing with countries with dubious records and another to publicly praise them, as he has done.

    As for Uzbekistan I can well believe that comparable atrocities happen there, and will go off and do a bit of reading, and rest assured if I hear of any democratically elected politicians singing their praises, especially ones from my "manor" I will be quick to point it out.

    What I question in you attitude is why the issue of political thuggery in Cuba is somehow the West’s fault more than the fault of the Cuban government. perhaps this goes without saying, but it has gone without saying for many years amongst the hypocrits of the Left in my country, as the link to Mayor Livingstone’s comments illustrate

  14. "How about dropping the hypocrisy about Cuba and human rights "

    Say what you mean. If you want to defend Cuba’s regime, do so. Where’s the hypocrisy?

  15. Richard – the hypocrisy is in protesting at relatively minor infringements of Human Rights in Cuba while turning a blind eye to far worse things done by allies and business partners …. It’s tokenism and it’s obscene.

    Noel – Uzbekistan is a hell hole as bad and worse as anything in saddams’s Iraq. But hey, they were useful in the war against Iraq….

    Warning – the pictures are ghastly :
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3943.htm

    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2003/27873.htm

  16. Madradin,

    I don’t need to pause for one second before condemning what these pictures show.

    But what’s your attitude? If this happened in Cuba, would you make excuses?

  17. Richard – they aren’t happening in Cuba – which is suffering sanctions …. That’s the hypocrisy I find offensive.

  18. Ghastly indeed!

    It’s good that the US Dept. of State at least records this horror. Still, it’s a bit strange in the light of recent developments that the report includes near suffocation as one of the – albeit milder – torture techniques.

  19. Okay, right. They’re not happening in Cuba. Silly me, there was I thinking that Cuba was a communist dictatorship, now I realise it’s actually a workers paradise, and this woman should shut up and realise how lucky she is.

    And I’m the hypocrit?

  20. http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/cuba/

    This is just one report from Human Rights Watch, Obviously google indicates many others.

    You’ll note the report was printed in the USA.

  21. <q> And I’m the hypocrit?

    where did I accuse you of that?

    I was discussing international politics, not you Richard.

  22. Mad: I presume you meant that Saddam was helpful against Iran. I disagree with your assessment of the West’s position regarding China and Cuba. I don’t think a blind eye has been turned, or that Cuba should be excused because it isn’t as bad as China. There has to be a practical understanding of what we can actually accomplish. The island of Taiwan remains free of China precisely because we have not turned away from that nation. We simply do not have the power to bring down the Chinese government. In the real world, we also can not attempt to isolate them in trade.

  23. mahons,

    That shouldn’t stop you (pl.) at lest highlighting the human rights abuses there, if they are as upsetting as those in Cuba.

  24. Cunningham: Human Rights abuses in China have been on the agenda of every high level diplomatic conference since Nixon traveled over, are monitored and reported on by the State Department and I suspect you’ll find more often condemned on the floor of Congress then in the Irish Parliment.

  25. Madradin,

    okay you didn’t call me a hypocrit, but my point is that Cuba must be condemned for its human rights record, which is inextricably linked to its political system of communist dictatorship.

    I cannot comment on the US trade embargo, but whatever the reasons for imposing it, those reasons still exist. Castro seized power when Eisenhower was in the White House, and he’s no closer to democracy now as he was then. In any case, as he’s so opposed to "American Imperialism" surely Cuba would have benefitted from being spared interference from Yankee business?

  26. "As for Uzbekistan I can well believe that comparable atrocities happen there, and will go off and do a bit of reading, and rest assured if I hear of any democratically elected politicians singing their praises, especially ones from my "manor" I will be quick to point it out."

    richard, you wont hear anything because while they are an ally their human rights record will be publicised in a spurious, marginal and disassociated manner. far from the supposed reality where the MSM is completely working against the policies of the US or UK they are yet again in lockstep virtual silence over the actions of these allies.
    if it wasnt for groups such as HRW or consciencious staff in government bodies, none of this would be known. you yourself reference a HRW article. but when such bodies present other data that goes against the (right-wing) grain they are all part of a socialist conspiracy designed to undermine the west.

    thats the hypocracy that the likes of ATW suffers.