Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Imagining Cuban Human Rights in Wake of Fidel Castro's Death

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Imagining Cuban Human Rights in Wake of Fidel Castro's Death

Article excerpt

He overthrew a strongman, brought his country free health care and education, and enlisted Cubans in what he called fights for freedom from Central America to South Africa. Fidel Castro also maintained a steel grip at home, jailing dissidents and gays, controlling freedom of travel and expression and declaring virtually any activity outside his control to be illegitimate. In the wake of the revolutionary's death Friday night, human rights groups said they hoped that his brother and successor, Raul Castro, would move faster toward allowing Cubans more freedom of speech, assembly and other basic rights.

"The question now is what human rights will look like in a future Cuba," Erika Guevara-Rosas, the Americas director for Amnesty International, said Saturday. "The lives of many depend on it."

Under Raul Castro, Cuba has moved away from jailing political prisoners for extended sentences, instead making thousands of short- term arrests each year that Cuban dissidents say are designed to harass them and disrupt any attempt at political organizations. Cubans today feel freer to criticize their government in public, but any attempt at protest or demonstration is swiftly quashed. Independent journalists operate inside the country but find it nearly impossible to distribute printed material and they report repeated harassment from authorities.

Geoff Thale, director of programs at the Washington Office on Latin America, said Fidel Castro's death meant that hardliners opposed to his younger brother's modest reforms would be weakened, and "we are hopeful open political debate will pick up.

When discussing their country's human rights record, Cuban officials along with some rights advocates point out that the revolutionary government under Fidel Castro ran a massive literacy campaign, and dramatically improved the lives of millions of people by providing better access to housing and health care. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.