Thursday, January 05, 2006

Nat Hentoff on what you can do for Human Rights in Cuba

Nat Hentoff's column in the Village Voice about
Dr. Biscet, a disciple of Martin Luther King Jr., [who] has been especially tormented by Fidel Castro—who knows who this prisoner is and where he is—because Biscet refuses to wear the usual prison uniform. He has also protested the vicious treatment of other prisoners.

Castro, while not sensitive to the sufferings of his prisoners of conscience (as Amnesty International designated them), is, however, sensitive to criticism of his brutality from abroad, especially from his supporters in the European Union. Accordingly, 15 severely ill prisoners have been released on medical parole after international protests on their behalf.

Hentoff suggests this simple letter,

Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz

Presidente de los Consejos de

Estados y de Ministros

La Habana, Cuba.

This is an excerpt from the sample letter (which you can get from Human Rights First, 333 Seventh Avenue, 13th floor, New York, NY 10001, Attention: Elena Steiger):

The Cuban government is obligated by the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders— a document that Cuba was active in drafting [emphasis added]—to protect the rights of all individuals to freely share information about human rights and advance fundamental freedoms. . . . I strongly urge the Cuban government to unconditionally release Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet. . . . Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

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