Torture, Bombings - US Is in No Position to Lecture Cuba on Human Rights

Cape Times (South Africa), June 22, 2017 | Go to article overview

Torture, Bombings - US Is in No Position to Lecture Cuba on Human Rights


PRESIDENT Donald Trump's big policy reversal on Cuba last week sent one strong message to the world - human rights is not a consideration in US foreign policy, unless you are the tiny island nation of Cuba, which is always the exception.

If you detain and torture your citizens, refuse them the right to express themselves and fail to hold any democratic elections, Trump will support you without asking any questions or giving you a lecture on human rights. When Trump visited Saudi Arabia recently he explicitly stated that the US would not be giving any lectures on human rights to the Arab world.

But Cuba will always be the exception. The reason being that the US will never let Cuba get away with maintaining independent domestic or foreign policies from within its backyard. Successive US administrations since 1960 felt the need to punish such defiance with every means necessary, until President Barak Obama tried to dilute American arrogance to some extent.

But US self-righteousness on human rights is back on full display, coming just a month after Trump declared his intent to totally disregard the human rights abuses of some of the world's worst governing culprits.

The irony is mind boggling - Cuba is depicted as an egregious human rights abuser, while it is the US which maintains an illegal military base on that island, in which it has perpetrated some of the worst human rights abuses. The people who the US military have tortured and abused in Guantanamo Bay have never had the opportunity to defend their innocence in a court of law.

If one were to draw up an objective human rights score card of the US compared to Cuba, the US would not come out on top.

The evaluation would have to take into account the rampant racial discrimination of American officialdom, the prevalent abuse of African Americans, discrimination against Muslim refugees, domestic wage inequality, and the fact that with Trump's dismantlement of Obamacare, 23 million Americans will be left without health insurance.

On the issue of torture, is it not Trump who defended previously sanctioned US torture tactics, and had his officials produce a draft executive order to bring back torture? That draft order was published by the New York Times.

Torture was a key part of Trump's national security platform as a presidential candidate. Republican Senator John McCain, himself a torture survivor, responded to Trump's statements by saying that, "the President can sign whatever executive orders he likes. …

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