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It’s time that the international community remembers Cuba, if the aim is democracy
For years it has been insisted that the lifting or easing of the embargo would end the current one-party system in Cuba, as Castro won’t be able to use the argument of external aggression anymore as the cause of Cuba’s economic ills. Furthermore, because the economic opening would inevitably bring democracy.
The truth is that the abovementioned demands are quite questionable. They do not consider that the Cuban regime uses a similar argument as China to justify its rhetorical model of "socialist, local, original, democratic and participatory development" and keep the dictatorship unchanged. In fact, during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council, held on May 1st, 2013, the Cuban dictatorship affirmed that it does not accept any universal model of democracy.
Based on the above, in Cuba the exercise of fundamental rights, which characterize a democracy is not permitted: freedom of association, assembly and expression and the legal existence of opposition parties. But given the "local and original" character of their political system, Cuba argues that it respects those even more than developed democracies.
What Cuba, like China, questions is the universal concept of human rights in the Declaration of 1948, especially those of first generation that means, civil and political liberties. Therefore, in his speech on Cuba's relations with the United States last December 17, Raul Castro acknowledged having "deep differences, mainly on national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and foreign policy." Two days later he declared: "Just as we respect the political system of the United States, we demand that they respect ours."
In the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Cuba received 292recommendations, of which it considered 20-the most important–"incompatible with the constitutional principles and the domestic legal system," adding that its content was contrary to the spirit of cooperation and respect that should prevail in the UPR and therefore rejected them.
Among the recommendations rejected by Cuba was the recommendation of Spain, which asked to respect freedom of expression, association and assembly, and to recognize the legal entity of human rights organizations through an inclusive system of official registration. Switzerland also asked Cuba to lift restrictions that prevent free speech and ensure that human rights defenders and independent journalists are not subjected to intimidation and arbitrary arrest and prosecution. Germany recommended Cuba to refrain from all forms of harassment, intimidation and arbitrary detention of human rights activists.
All countries that made recommendations to Cuba on human rights maintain good diplomatic relations with Raúl Castro`s regime and yet the government of the Island considered them "politically biased and built on false foundations, arising from attempts to discredit Cuba by those who, with their hegemonic ambitions, refuse to accept diversity and the right of self-determination of the Cuban people."
Therefore, beyond the good that might be the restoration of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba, it can’t be forgotten that the Castros are experts in surviving and time gaining, and that they have significant international support, especially in Latin America which does not question that Cuba’s political system is contrary to democratic principles. For instance,
Cuba integrates bodies with democracy clauses which it doesn’t met, and was accepted in these areas and so far no government has questioned that fact.
To understand the uniqueness of Cuba one has to remember the Chilean film"No", which begins with the following: "After 15 years of dictatorship, Pinochet faced international pressure to legitimize his regime. In 1988 the Government called a plebiscite". The rest of the story is known and also helps to understand why the Castro brothers have remained in power for so many years. The international community has forgotten about Cuba. It's time that an agreement is reached, if the goal is democracy.