Friday, February 29, 2008

Yes, but will it make any difference?

In a move that has been interpreted by some observers as significant, the Castro regime has today signed a couple of United Nations treaties on human rights.

Why significant? Because for years, Fidel Castro had refused to sign the documents, claiming such a decision would be used by the “imperialists” to create trouble on his island paradise.

According to news reports, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Felipe Perez Roque, has signed in New York the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Together, these two treaties require signatories to ensure their citizens have the right to work, fair wages, freedom to form and join trade unions, social security, education, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as basic political freedoms - the right to self-determination, peaceful assembly, freedom of religion, freedom to leave a country, etc.

Like you, I can think of at least four or five areas where the Castro regime is already breaching both of these treaties.

So, does the signing of the covenants mean anything?

Probably not.

Perez Roque told reporters that while all these rights were guaranteed already by the Cuban constitution, the regime still had some “reservations” about the way the treaties are “interpreted” and would spell these out at a later date.


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