With less than three weeks left until the Summit of the Americas taking place in Lima, Raúl Castro is already indicating that he is going to set up a show again, like he did during the 2015 Panama Summit.
There was already a sampling of their intentions in Lima with the insults launched on March 21st by Juan Antonio Fernandez Palacios, Cuba’s permanent representative to the UN in Vienna, upon hearing the speech of Jorge Vallejo, an Executive of the Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy (Juventud LAC), who mentioned the “Oswaldo Payá Award” recently handed out on the island.
Fernández Palacios said that this youth organization is an instrument of the CIA, and then he snapped: “I do not want to hear the word you just mentioned [Payá]. I command you not to mess with Cuba, no clowning on Cuba will be allowed. “
But the young Vallejo was not intimidated and replied: “I think we are in a forum based on mutual respect. You have spoken about dissent and debate. I took note, and it seems to me that the way you have done it is not the right one. We are in Peru, a country that guarantees a democratic space, we guarantee this forum to listen and to be able to disagree”.
This takes place while the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has just denounced in its annual report that the violations of human rights in Cuba are “massive”; and the US government denounces in the Human Rights Council of the UN that the Castro regime is carrying out a power transition in an undemocratic fashion, because it does not allow its people to participate in this transition.
Also this week, the Bertelsmann Foundation of Germany, presenting its Transformation Index (BTI), announced that Cuba ranks 102 out of 129 countries analyzed. Cuba is the lowest Latin American place, below Haiti and Venezuela, and it rubs shoulders with North Korea, Sudan, Eritrea, Yemen, Syria and Somalia, the last ones on the list.
Equally, the famous US Pulitzer Center has released a documentary that includes the testimony of four Cuban artists in which they describe the lack of freedom of expression in Cuba.
However, “President” Castro is still invited to sit at the same table with the democratically elected leaders of the Americas.
It is necessary, and fair, that the democratic organizations of Latin America let Lima know that phony Castro and his representatives do not belong in that democratic forum.