Here comes the UN
As you may recall, the UN’s human rights council took an unusual (and unusually brave) decision about five years ago: a majority of countries on the council voted to appoint a special human rights rapporteur for Cuba.
This special rapporteur - a highly respected French magistrate by the name of Christine Chanet - would visit the island regularly and report back on how the Castro regime was dealing with dissenters and opponents.
In characteristic style, Castro simply refused to let Ms Chanet into the country, accusing her of being nothing more than a “mercenary” in the pay of the US, blah, blah, blah.
Eventually, the UN did what the UN often does: it just gave up and so, in June this year, it abolished the role, much as Castro and his apologists had demanded.
Instead, we now have a special UN rapporteur on “the right to food” – a kind of world expert on hunger.
His name is Jean Ziegler, a Swiss-born academic who has been described by the media as “left wing”. Which means he is certainly outspoken on issues close to the Left, having attacked the US for promoting biofuels while describing Israel as the "worst colonial power in the world.
Sure enough, the erudite Mr Ziegler has been welcomed with open arms this week in Havana by the Castro brothers.
And why not? No sooner had he landed that the special rapporteur started praising the “extraordinary” work of the regime in finding what he described as “creative” ways to feed Cubans.
And yes, he blamed the food shortages on the island on ... the US trade embargo.