Saturday, August 05, 2006

Letter to The Toronto Star

Dear Editors,

I was interested to read Tim Harper's article about how he was treated by the Cuban authorities upon his arrival in Havana to cover unfolding events there. My first reaction was anger because journalists in the United States and Canada have largely ignored the plight of the Cuban people all these years and only now, when they themselves are affected, is anything remotely critical of written. Many media outlets have an official presence in Cuba, the result of a Faustian bargain with the regime, that produce few if any stories about the human rights abuses in Cuba. Meanwhile independent Cuban journalists risk their freedom (many are already in jail) for trying to report the truth about what goes on in the country. So it seems that having the shoe on the other foot is not comfortable for Mr. Harper or The Star.

Secondly, I want to address a letter written by a Star reader, Katy Payne. Her assertions might as well be coming directly from Castro's flacks in Havana. The idea that the United States would invade, much less annex, Cuba is ludicrous on its face. Castro has been warning the Cuban people about this imminent invasion for 45 years. If there was international outrage at the removal of a homicidal maniac, like Saddam Hussein, how would the world react to an aggressive act against Fidel Castro, the darling of the left?

As far as what the Cuban people really feel, Ms. Payne professes to know that they are firmly behind Castro and his "little" brother Raul. I am not so convinced. If Mr. Castro's support were so strong, then why not hold an open multi-party election? Why aren't independent pollsters allowed on the Island? Why is the outside media so controlled? The Cuban people have been trained through tactics of terror to give the "correct" answers to any foreigners. Failure to do so can result in the loss of one's job, home, and ration book. If Fidel Castro were to die and 47 years of bottled up frustration were to be uncorked in mass celebrations, it would not be the first time that a totalitarian leader was cheered for being alive one week, only to be cheered for being dead the next. Nicolae Ceausescu comes to mind.

The Cuban people deserve the protection of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (owning a copy is a crime in Cuba). They deserve the rights that we take for granted. The right to disagree without fear of reprisal, as Ms. Payne has.


Henry Gomez

1 comment:

Jose Aguirre said...

Excellent letter Henry!!! Keep up your great work speaking for the Cubans on the island that can't speak freely!