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CUBA IN THE OAS: Attack on democratic principles
By Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat

Truly democratic governments in the hemisphere must join to bolster the Interamerican Democratic Charter, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, and other institutions in the OAS that uphold pluralistic democracy and human rights as the essence of the institution.

Dr. Orlando Gutierrez Boronat, National Secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

Dr. Orlando Gutierrez Boronat, National Secretary of the Cuban Democratic Directorate.

http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/other-views/story/1086772.html

 

By approving a resolution that conditions Cuba's return to the OAS to its adherence to the ''practices, goals and principles'' of the institution, the attempt by Hugo Chávez's bloc to automatically and unconditionally reinsert the Castro dictatorship in the institution was temporarily foiled.

However, the immediate goal of the Chavista bloc is precisely to redefine the practices, goals and principles of the Interamerican system in order to consolidate their new strain of ''electoral dictatorships'' in the region, with the eventual objective of isolating the United States diplomatically within the hemisphere and forcing it to coexist with a new wave of emerging populist totalitarian states.

With the ideological leadership of the government of Rafael Correa in Ecuador and supported by Cuba's political infrastructure and Chávez's money, a new wave of authoritarian populists from St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Bolivia set their sights on the 1962 OAS resolution and its description of Marxism-Leninism as incompatible with the Interamerican system in order to remove an obstacle to the legitimization of their own efforts to concentrate government power, suppress independent media and regulate civil liberties out of existence.

The sentiment shared by too many in the region, as expressed for example by the presidents and foreign ministers of Ecuador and Honduras at the OAS summit, considers Cuba's 50-year old dynastic totalitarianism a ''different kind of democracy,'' ''a legal and legitimate representative of its people,'' an ''acceptable one party state.'' Sadly enough, the discourse of governments such as Brazil, Argentina and Mexico is full of moral ambiguity and confusion, and does not confront this verbal assault of the very basic notions of human rights.

Unlike Asia, Africa or the Middle East, where democracies still vie for ideological predominance against diverse types of despotism, the concepts of inherent human rights and rule of law based on respect for personal freedoms have prevailed in the Americas with the glaring exception of Cuba. So much so, that in spite of their well organized efforts, Chávez, Evo Morales of Bolivia, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua and Correa and company have had to confront significant political, social and cultural resistance in their respective countries in their attempt at suppressing citizen freedoms.

However, the Castro-Chávez bloc would change that by introducing a new authoritarianism in the region that seeks to redefine the source of political sovereignty away from individual rights, placing it in the hands of vertical totalitarian states with no separation of powers and no political accountability. They seek to make a 21st century fascism amenable to the Americas.

The next round in this battle for the soul of the Interamerican system lies with the Interamerican Democratic Charter. The totalitarians veil their attack on the Charter, which enumerates the rights and freedoms that have evolved over centuries of universal civilization, by referring to it as an example of ''ideological colonialism,'' which would impose an ''ethnocentric'' concept of democracy on the developing world. They seek to dilute it and reconfigure it out of existence as they have with their own constitutions back home.

Led by the United States, truly democratic governments in the hemisphere must join to bolster the Interamerican Democratic Charter, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, and other institutions in the OAS that uphold pluralistic democracy and human rights as the essence of the institution. Membership in this regional institution is not worthwhile if this is not to be so. For the 21st century fascists in the Western Hemisphere, it is not the Castros' 50-year old dictatorship that must change in order to be accepted by a democratic community of nations, but instead, that this community of nations abandon its democratic principles in order to emulate the hemisphere's oldest dictatorship.

Orlando Gutierrez is a member of the Cuban Democratic Directorate and was part of a delegation of Cuban pro-democracy activists at the OAS meeting in Honduras last week.

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About the author


Orlando Gutierrez Boronat Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat
Orlando Gutiérrez-Boronat nació en La Habana en 1965. Tiene un doctorado en estudios internacionales en la Universidad de Miami. Tiene licenciaturas en comunicaciones y ciencias políticas y una maestría en ciencias políticas. Imparte cursos de ciencias políticas en la Universidad Internacional de la Florida y la Universidad Barry. Es cofundador y Secretario Nacional del Directorio Democrático Cubano, una de las organizaciones más destacadas en el trabajo de recabar apoyo internacional y solidaridad para el movimiento democrático en la Isla. Es co-autor de los informes Pasos a la Libertad que publica el Directorio anualmente sobre el crecimiento del movimiento cívico en Cuba. También es autor del libro La República Invisible, una colección de ensayos sobre la identidad nacional cubana, la política del exilio y el movimiento cívico en Cuba.

 

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