Wednesday, April 09, 2008

All the way to Beijing

As you may be aware, the Olympic torch relay through major European cities has been successfully disrupted over the past week by demonstrators calling on Communist China to respect human rights and to get out of Tibet.

It’s hard to argue with the demonstrators’ sentiment … except if you are Jose Ramon Fernandez.

Mr Fernandez is coyly described in Havana as the head of the Cuban Olympic Committee. In fact, he is much more than that: he is also a senior member of the Cuban Communist Party, a member of the Council of Ministers and a long standing apparatchik of the regime.

So his views on the torch relay disruptions may not come as a total surprise.

He has told reporters in Beijing that the Cuban Olympic Committee condemns the demonstrations which he said, were part of a well-orchestrated campaign aimed at undermining international confidence in China's capacity to organise the Games.

He said the campaign was being organised by “certain non-government organisations”, unnamed “personalities” and, naturally enough, the capitalist media.

As for an Olympic boycott, Mr Fernandez made it clear that Cuban athletes will most definitively compete in Beijing.


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