As we still hear shots in Baghdad, see smoke from bombed neighborhoods and hear that the humanitarian crisis in Iraq is reaching calamitous proportions, new targets are being identified for future bellicose actions. But is seems that none of that is important in the so-called “democratic world,” since now they are busy solving the “problem” of human rights in Cuba.
A deafening unison, including even the respectable voices of European communist leaders, reverberate worn-out accusations against the revolutionary island.
Those concerns might be noble, but those who give these opinions do not have the right to turn a blind eye to the fact that this recent campaign is not a neutral one. It has a defined author and its script was written beforehand. It is another episode of the four-decade struggle of U.S. imperialism against Cuba. The motivation is support of the Cuban counter revolution; its final scope is to unseat the legitimately constituted government of the Republic of Cuba.
The Cuban judicial authorities gave the capital punishment sentence for three terrorist hijackers. In the last seven months, seven terrorist hijacking acts were committed in Cuba, two of which involved airplanes that ended up in Miami. In the present case, a 36-passenger boat was hijacked, including women and children who were submitted to death threats and other abuses.
Is it a legitimate act of political dissidence or a heinous crime? A weak response from the authorities could create a serious precedent. The country could face new threats, acts of sabotage and disturbances of all sorts. Acting in a severe manner against the terrorists, the Cuban judicial authorities impeded an escalation that could threaten the security of its citizens and the integrity of the country. The Cuban State defending itself – and, by doing so, protecting its society—is legitimate.
The heavy sentence was not against the law. Being revolutionary and socialist, the Cuban State maintains the rule of law. It has its judicial structure, a Constitution, codes, laws and institutions responsible for its application and management. The cases were open and the defendants and their attorneys had access to all the documentation, they had the right to defense and even appealed to the Supreme Court and the State Council. The legal process, despite being short, was legitimate according to Cuban penal law.
Cuba is not the only country in the world that enacts the death penalty. And it seems that no country has the moral authority needed to condemn the socialist nation for showing disregard to human rights, in particular the United States. Aside from the crimes against humankind it has perpetrated in the course of its infinite war, the U.S. is a country that faces very serious problems regarding human rights within its borders and has the largest imprisoned population in the world.
Brazil has different traditions and a distinct judicial code, which does not allow the death penalty. Our desire and the desire of the people who wish and struggle to overcome social iniquities in a revolutionary way, is that we will be able to build a legal and political order that is as close as possible to our socialist, pacifist and humanist ideals in a structured society based on a new economic and social foundation.
In that struggle we will always be flexible in our tactics and will never be cowardly in our methods. We will not allow mistakes regarding the side we take in the class struggle. The world is immersed in the great battles of ideas where the value of the fighters is measured by its persistence amid adverse conditions.
Self-determination and national independence are universally valid human rights. They are rights recognized by the United Nations. Don’t the Cuban people have an inalienable right to choose the political and economic regime, the social organization they see fit? Undoubtedly they do and that is what is at stake.
U.S. imperialism and its pawns all over the world are opposed to the existence of a free, democratic, independent, revolutionary and socialist Cuba. That struggle has lasted more than four decades and it seems it will last much longer. The imperialist opposition to liberty and sovereignty is aimed at all peoples and nations. The planetary dictatorship of Bush posed the threat: “Either with me or enslaved by me.” That is why the defense of Cuba is not only connected to these circumstances, for it is the defense of a principle that involves the fate of all nations and all humankind.
Folk wisdom says it is in the tough moments that we know who our friends are. Our country, our people and its progressive forces, including the Communist Party of Brazil, will not fail Cuba. It is a matter of principle.
José Reinaldo Carvalho is a vice-president of the Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) and responsible for International Relations. This article is an edited version originally published in Portugese on www.vermelho.org.br