Cuba responds to US lecture with lecture of its own

I mentioned before that US government officials have the practice when visiting countries that it does not consider allies to give them public lectures on what they must do to improve. While this sounds condescending, it is only so if done selectively. I think it is a practice that should be expanded and every time there is a state visit, the visiting dignitary should take the opportunity to point out all the faults of the host country. Unfortunately, many countries do not seem to want to risk angering the world’s only superpower and thus the US has got used to being the only one giving such lectures.

At Friday’s opening of the US embassy in Havana following the resumption of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, secretary of state John Kerry lectured the host country on its human rights record. But he may have forgotten that Cuba is not a client state. It has a long history of proudly defying the US and wasn’t going to take this lying down and its foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez took the opportunity to tell him some truths about the US.

Apparently irked at Kerry’s call for “genuine democracy,” Rodriguez said his country had gender and racial equality, free education and healthcare, and didn’t suffer from the flaws of America’s cash-fueled electoral system.

“Cuba is not a place where you can see police brutality … racial discrimination,” he said. “We do not practice torture,” a presumed reference to the U.S. military base at Guantanamo on Cuba’s southeast coast.

That, especially the references to police brutality and torture, must have stung. But US hypocrisy on such gross violations of human rights deserves to be repeatedly pointed out.


  1. Garrett says

    I think it’s good to call the US out on our human rights abuses, but the idea that Cuba doesn’t have police brutality is ridiculous. It could be true that no one sees it since the state run media wouldn’t show it, and they’d imprison anyone who would report on it.

    From Human Rights Watch World Report 2015: Cuba

    The Cuban government continues to repress dissent and discourage public criticism. While in recent years it has relied less on long-term prison sentences to punish its critics, short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, independent journalists, and other critics have increased dramatically. Other repressive tactics employed by the government include beatings, public acts of shaming, and the termination of employment.

  2. mnb0 says

    “every time there is a state visit, the visiting dignitary should take the opportunity to point out all the faults of the host country.”
    An excellent principle. To which I add: at least partly in public. This should become standard protocol. It would introduce at least some check and balances in international politics.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    I’m not happy about how gigabucks drive our electoral system either, but it is pretty silly for a country that is basically a hereditary monarchy to be making that argument.

  4. says

    To those who criticize Cuba for its government, blame for it can again be laid on the US. When pro-democracy activists of the 1950s opposed Batista’s US-backed fascist regime, the US instead chose to arm Batista and help him oppress (read: arrest and kill) the activists. Cubans turned to communism because the US prevented the other option (see also: US support of the Shah in Iran and the islamic revolution).

  5. Nick Gotts says

    AFAIK, the Castro “dynasty” will end with Raul -- who had been a senior member of the government and ruling party in his own right for half a century before becoming president, and who has announced that he will not seek a further term in 2018. Conversely, both the Bush and Clinton “dynasties” are involved in the 2016 Presidential campaign.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    Nick Gotts #5
    Heriditary doesn’t entail consanguinity. Raul Castro has already personally chosen who will inherit his office, with no input from the people of Cuba at all. Miguel Diaz-Canel will inherit the Cuban Presidency in 2018.

  7. LR says

    Not to discount that the U.S. has severe racial discrimination, but pretty much every country that allows entry of people from outside of its borders has some level of racial discrimination. It’s just more apparent the less homogeneous the country is. In more homogeneous countries, it might take more than the length of a vacation to really feel or notice the racial discrimination.

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