Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Other Black Spring (Part 1)

This past Sunday (March 18, 2003) marked four years since the massive act of repression in Cuba bitterly called "La Primavera Negra" (Black Spring), or "La Primavera Sangrienta" (Bloody Spring) by more vehement opponents.

That day, Cuban authorities detained about 90 Cubans, 75 of whom were later arrested and charged with "acts against the independence or territorial integrity of the state" under the draconian measures of Law 88 and Article 91 of the Penal Code. The sentences were horribly excessive (some with a maximum sentence of 28 years of incarceration) for such behavior and, according to Human Right Watch, "[t]he trials fell far short of international human rights standards." Since then, according to Human Rights First, 59 still remain imprisoned, with the rest having been released under "medical parole" due to health concerns attributed to "an unhygienic environment, substandard care and inadequate medical treatment." Amnesty International and other human rights organizations call for the immediate and unconditional release of these designated prisoners of conscience.

This event is among many abuses that constitutes the growing frustration with the repressive Cuban government. It strikes at the heart especially among those who honestly demand human rights for all.

Unfortunately, there are some who would exploit such an event to justify their myopic personal agendas, instead of the greater cause for human rights. They plead (dare I say whine?) to the unknowing that "those [75] men bear the punishment for the sins of the world's indifference" and that "[i]f you value truth" then "help spread the word on their dreadful plight." Another, out of frustration, quickly condemns others because "ignorance [of the 75] makes the world complicit with Castro's crimes," thus, you must "promise to never forget."

Others spread the so-called "truth," but they offer no historical background on the event, as if this event just occurred one day without explanation. It's obvious that these people have a preference to a singular interpretation of history that they wish to promulgate. But, don't be mistaken, there is precedence of events that have lead to this state of affairs in Cuba. This is the background that those mentioned above ignore and have little tolerance for.

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