Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fellow travellers

More than 100 “celebrities” have joined forces in the United Kingdom to protest against the continuing imprisonment in the United States of five Cuban agents who were found guilty of spying by an American court.

The celebrities, which include no fewer than nine Nobel laureates, have signed a full page advertisement that appears in today’s edition of two Left-leaning London dailies, The Guardian and The Independent.

They claim the five spies, who were sentenced in 2001 for periods of up to 25 years, were not really spies but “heroes” whose task was to infiltrate and disrupt “rightwing exile groups” in Miami that were perpetrating “acts of terrorism” within Cuba.

For the record, the signatories include Bishop Desmond Tutu, designers Vivienne Westwood and Jasper Conran, writers Iain Banks and Harold Pinter (naturally), well-known actors Julie Christie and Susannah York, and a few dozens trade union leaders, journalists and parliamentarians.

Surprisingly, the signatories also include Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta, who really should know better.

Now, unlike ordinary Cubans, all these no-doubt sincere people are lucky enough to live in a democracy, and therefore have every right to protest against real or perceived injustices ... even when their argument is well, shaky.

But wouldn’t it be nice if the likes of Tutu, Conran and for that matter Acosta, to name just a few, took the time to protest publicly, too, against the many and very well-documented abuses of human and political rights by the Havana regime? Perhaps an advertisement calling for political change in Cuba? Or a fair trial for the dozens of political prisoners locked up in appalling conditions by the Castro brothers?

Totally shameless.


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