It seems that many have been suffering from a stupor when it comes to the Polisario.
Its clearly evident that Tew-Cardenas LLP are not interested in who the Polisario Front really are. Their main interest, shared by the Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies (ICCAS), is to continue and strengthen their anti-Castro position at the expense of the facts. The allegations of the Moroccan government and the Moroccan American Center for Policy are baseless. And, it is unacceptable that an academic organization like the ICCAS should repeat those false accusations.
It is also the height of hypocrisy that members of Tew-Cardenas LLP (Al Cardenas and Roger Noriega), who are vehemently opposed to totalitarian regimes, "develop positive messages" for a nation whose King rules with "ultimate authority" over the government with the power to appoint his own prime ministers and "rule by decree" if he so wishes.
As for Oscar Corral of the Miami Herald and his decision that "it would be a good time to revisit the story of some of the victims" of the Polisario Front, Corral forgot to mention a very important fact in his "Special Report." The same month Corral wrote his article in September 2005, the UN Refugee Agency released a brief report on their recent monitoring mission of Sahrawi children in Cuba and their student scholarship program. They specifically gave "special attention" to the allegations of abuse from a 2004 Moroccan delegation. The UN mission found that "this [Cuban] scholarship programme meets the standards of treatment and care required by the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, notably in the following areas:
* minors are protected from all forms of discrimination while in Cuba, and enjoy equal educational opportunities as well as slightly more advantageous treatment in terms of material and health support provided in Cuban schools;
* the rights of the students are fully respected and guaranteed in regard to health, nutrition, culture, personal liberty and security;
* the children are not subjected to any form of abuse or exploitation of any type whatsoever. This also covers military recruitment and training and child labour activities that would qualify as exploitative as defined by the CRC;
* all information gathered during the mission affirms the voluntary nature of participation in the programme of the children, the direct role of the parents in determining whether their child would participate, and the opportunity for the children who do not wish to continue the programme, to abandon it and return home."
This scholarship program is no longer planned for extension with the UN Refugee Agency once all Sahrawis who entered in 1994 have graduated. The Polisario Front is hoping that the Moroccan government will accept their peace plan at the UN later this month, with obligation to a 1991 UN mandated referendum for independence. Polisario's struggle at the UN since 1991 is summarized well by Stephen Zunes and Ian Williams.
The Polisario Front is a legitimate movement of self-determination and independence of the Sahrawi people in the Western Sahara. Their real name is "Frente Popular para la Liberación de Saguia el-Hamra y de Río de Oro." That's what Polisario means.
[For those interested in updates on the Western Sahara/Morocco stalemate, check out these excellent Bloggers : One Hump or Two, Western Sahara Endgame, Sahara Views, and W-Sahara.]
[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8]