Latin America

Cautious Optimism for Cuba?

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The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation yesterday released a cautiously optimistic report on the island's political future. While Raul Castro still presides over "a police state whose nature is reflected in almost every aspect of national life," the report notes a moderate decrease in the number of political prisoners being held in Castro's gulag:

The number of political prisoners in Cuba has dropped by more than 20 percent since Raul Castro took over from his ailing elder brother, but widespread repression has continued, a leading independent human rights group said Thursday.

The commission, whose reports are regularly used by international groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, said 246 political prisoners were being held as of June 30, compared with 283 at the beginning of 2007 and 316 a year ago.

No word whether any independent librarians—those abandoned and ignored by the despicable American Library Association leadership—were among those released. (Make sure to read Nat Hentoff's columns on the ALA's Castrophilia here and here.)

In other Latin American commie news, Colombians have had enough of the FARC's thuggery. The Guardian reports:

More than a million people have staged marches and demonstrations across Colombia to demand the release of thousands of captives kidnapped by leftist rebels, some of whom have been held for years. The protest—the biggest such event in the country for almost eight years—followed the news that 11 regional MPs abducted five years ago by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, had been killed.

Full story here.

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  1. Colombians have had enough of the FARC’s thuggery.

    PHBBBBT As if anyone gave a shit about what the peasants think. The FARC gets its money from the drug trade, made massively profitable by the WOD. There is zero hope of a stable Colombian regime as long as the US prosecutes the WOD there.

  2. I have it on good authority that Raul Castro is a libertarian in his heart of hearts, this is typical Reason communist bashing.

  3. 246 political prisoners? For some reason I thought that Cuba was locking people up by the hundreds of thousands.

    Next you’ll be telling me that each Cuban recieves high-quality medical care!

  4. Lifting restrictions with Cuba would be the quickest and easiest way the US could raise optimism for Cuba and it’s people.

  5. Shecky–I’d settle for the asshats at the Coast Guard not shipping refugees back under the “wet foot” rule. Christ, don’t make it so they risked their lives for nothing.

    But yeah, if it hasn’t worked after 40 years, I don’t think it’s going to “any day now.”

  6. There is zero hope of a stable Colombian regime as long as the US prosecutes the WOD there.

    I think I said it in another thread, but it bears repeating. War on Drugs=War on Latin America.

  7. Isn’t FARC funded by drug money?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farc

    Ah, so they are.

    FARC itself has claimed that in their areas of influence the growth of coca plants by farmers would be taxed on the same basis as any other crop, though there would be higher cash profits stemming from coca production and exportation.

    Gee, why is coca so expensive? Too bad everyone seems to forget how markets work in their haze of moral righteousness over telling other people what not to ingest.

  8. As for Cuba, I have it on good authority they enjoy some of the best health care in the world, so they probably deserve to be shot if they criticize such a wonderful government.

  9. It’s a little disturbing that there is no mention of the cause of the reduction. Releases? Deportations? Executions? “Voluntary commitments”?

    And what is up with the essentially tiny number of political prisoners, anyway? Doesn’t sound particularly despotic on an absolute numbers basis. Have the Castros already lost their touch?


  10. Gee, why is coca so expensive? Too bad everyone seems to forget how markets work in their haze of moral righteousness over telling other people what not to ingest.

    The drug war is so bizarre it has me agreeing with an arch-socialist (Evo Morales) on lifting the restrictions on growing cocoa in Bolivia.

  11. Is that part of Raul Castro’s election campaign?

    “If I become President, I promise to imprison you 20% less than my brother did.”

  12. The 246 is a maximum number, and includes mostly folks arrested for having taken money and resources from the US government as part of our longstanding regime change plans there. I doubt any country will allow their arch enemy to fund political opponents. For proof that repression is overstated, look who authored this report – a tolerated “Cuban Human Rights Commission.” As long as you stay away from the US interests section, you’ll mostly be ok in Cuba. Meanwhile Cuba has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America (along with Venezuela and Argentina).

  13. Cuba is worse of right now than during Batista’s time. So Cuba actually has a negative average growth rate.

  14. 246 political prisoners? For some reason I thought that Cuba was locking people up by the hundreds of thousands.

    You don’t need to be imprisoned to be oppressed.

  15. 246?

    Honest to God?

    I’m pretty sure the dude eating lobster with George Bush in Maine had that many locked up last week.

  16. “Meanwhile Cuba has one of the fastest growing economies in Latin America”

    If you believe that, I’ve got a used car I’d like to sell you.

  17. I’ve always wondered why hundreds of thousands of people have risked their lives to get away from the very same places that the Left portayed as being close to perfection (albeit with some minor, excusable errors caused mostly by outside “interference” or “sabotage”) -Cuba, Vietnam, the Soviet Union, the Communist occupied Baltic States, Communist controlled Eastern Europe, Albania, Cambodia…

    Even stranger is the fact that after the exposure/collapse of each Communist dictatorship, the Left claims never to have supported it in the first place, despite any amount evidence to the contrary.

    I’d like to see a great exodus of Leftie intellectuals from the US and Western Europe to Venezuela -build Socialism, comrades, don’t just talk about it! Think of the Spanish Civil War -here’s you’re chance of really participating, not just make up numbers afterwards…

    Now that’d make for some great reality TV entertainment.

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