Friday :: Feb 29, 2008

A Possible Signal


by Turkana

There's potentially promising news, out of Cuba. According to the BBC:

Cuba has signed two legally binding human rights agreements at the UN in New York, just days after Raul Castro was sworn in as the new president.

The covenants - part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - commit Cuba to freedom of expression and association, and the right to travel.

Correspondents detect a possible signal of a shift in human rights policy.

Critics of the Castro government have called on it to make good on the agreements by freeing dissidents.

Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, who signed the agreements, rejected suggestions of any link to the recent change in power, insisting they merely "formalised" rights enjoyed by Cuban citizens since the 1959 revolution.

Now, that could be taken as simple gamesmanship, indicating no intent to actually make good on these agreements; or, it could be simple old school Soviet-style propaganda, whereby when positive steps are actually taken, there is no admission that there previously had been problems.

Given that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama want to engage diplomatically with Cuba, one can only hope that the Bush Administration doesn't do too much damage, between now and next year. This is a moment for the U.S. to encourage Cuba, take this move at face value, and respectfully expect tangible examples of Cuba's good intent. Let's hope that the Bush Administration doesn't respond with its usual belligerence.

Turkana :: 4:58 AM :: Comments (7) :: Digg It!