Friday, February 23, 2007

Insulza Watch (part 2)

So, yesterday in Diario las Americas, Lincoln goes on to say that on the 16th of this month a letter, signed by 13 House Representatives, was sent to Jose Miguel Insulza concerning his recent comments about "dialogue" with Cuba. The letter basically makes two arguments: 1) Insulza confuses Cuba (the people) with Cuba (the dictatorship), thus his statements to "dialogue" with Cuba (the dictatorship) only "serve to strengthen the intentions of the totalitarian regime to fulfill its absolute succession to oppress the Cuban people"; 2) Insulza's comments contradicts the OAS Charter, specifically article 3, section D.

Let's analyze these arguments. First, in Cuba, the worst political act of repression in recent years was the 2003 crackdown on dissidents, which arrested some 75 Cubans. This did not occur after the US decided, or uttered, to have a dialogue with Cuba. The reasons behind this crackdown are very clear and have nothing to do with dialogue with the Cuban government. Also, Cuba has continuous dialogue with other nations, and since 2003 no human rights organization has described a significant increase in repression. To believe that a dialogue with Cuba will cause more oppression is without basis.

Second, the accusation that Insulza's comments "contradict" the principles of the OAS Charter is also absurd. Article 3, section D of the OAS Charter basically says that the "solidarity" between OAS members is based on "effective exercise of representative democracy." Well, Cuba is not a member and Insulza isn't really asking for "solidarity" with Cuba, he's trying to help them (the people). In Jamaica (Feb. 7, 2007), Insulza said that "[w]e cannot help the people of Cuba if we cannot talk to them." In fact, he is obeying the purpose of the OAS Charter to "strengthen the peace and security of the continent" (article 2, section A).

Also, Insulza never suggested that Cuba become a member of the OAS. But, even if we were to apply the principles of article 3 of the OAS Charter to Cuba, Insulza still does not "contradict" himself. According to article 3, section I, "[c]ontroversies of an international character arising between two or more American States shall be settled by peaceful procedures." A dialogue falls within this principle. And, Insulza (and the rest of Latin America) has made it very clear that he opposes US policy towards Cuba. On the other hand, if we obey the principles of the OAS, it seems that US policy towards Cuba violates the OAS Charter!

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