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Thursday, November 09, 2006


U.S. suffers three more defeats

[First posted 11/8/06, 8:47 p.m.; updated and bumped]

Defeat one was the defeat of the American project to intimidate the Nicaraguan people with the usual range of threats and bullying, and their election of pseudo-Sandinista Daniel Ortega (however little confidence one may have in him).

Defeats two and three occurred today in the U.N. General Assembly. To no one's surprise (except perhaps George Bush, who doesn't seem to expect bad things to happen to him in elections), the General Assembly voted for the 15th consecutive year (!) to condemn the U.S. "embargo" (virtual blockade) against Cuba, with the usual resounding vote of 183 to 4 (Voting "no" with the United States were Israel, Marshall Islands and Palau. Micronesia abstained. Nicaragua and Iraq did not vote.).

But this year, the vote featured a twist. This year, the U.S. managed to pressure Australia into introducing an amendment to that resolution, which would have added "a paragraph saying that the U.S. measures were motivated by 'valid concerns' about the lack of freedom in Cuba and called on Havana to release political prisoners." What utter nonsense. Without even getting into a defense of these usual charges against Cuba, which I have covered on many occasions here, what if they were true? How many other countries in the world does the U.S. maintain an embargo/blockade on? Are you telling me that there are no other countries which have a "lack of freedom" and which hold political prisoners in this world? For goodness' sake, Israel has slaughtered more Palestinians this month than the alleged number of political prisoners held in Cuba. And unlike the United States, which is holding hundreds of prisoners (including, at least for a while, some American citizens) without any charges whatsoever, there isn't anyone in jail in Cuba who has not been tried and convicted on laws which were in effect at the time they committed their crimes.

Anyway, this maneuver by the Americans was to no avail - the amendment was resoundingly defeated, 126 to 51 with five abstentions. In your face, John Bolton and George Bush (and John Howard).

Update: Felipe Perez Roque's eloquent speech at the U.N., not only denouncing the U.S. economic war against Cuba but explaining in detail its extent, is now online. Since I don't write enough for my Australian readers, I'll reprint here the section which deals with the "Australian" amendment that went down to defeat:

Ladies and gentlemen, is this amendment really an expression of a genuine concern for Australia? No. It is only proof of its abject submission to the government of the United States.

But, in addition, Australia does not have the moral authority to try to refer to the human rights situation in Cuba.

The Australian government is an accomplice of U.S. imperialism. It is a kind of “junior imperialist,” always at the ready in the Pacific to follow its mentors in Washington. It not only collaborated with them and sent troops together with the U.S. Army to the war in Vietnam, in which four million Vietnamese people lost their lives, but also enthusiastically participated, by sending more than 2,000 troops, in the invasion of Iraq, a pre-emptive and totally illegal war. There are still 1,300 Australian soldiers in Iraq despite the fact that just 22% of the Australian population supports that particular venture.

The Australian government, which subjects the Aboriginal population of its country to a veritable regime of apartheid, does not have the moral authority to criticize Cuba. The Australian government, which supports the U.S. torture center in Guantánamo, and backed summary trials before military courts of prisoners who are ill-treated and tortured there, including Australian prisoners, does not have the moral authority to criticize Cuba.

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