But for me, that visit was the start of a life-long love affair. There is no need to confuse that statement with uncritical acclaim for everything about the place. But criticism should never ignore the fact that Cuba's primary service to the world has been to provide living proof that it is possible to conquer poverty, disease and illiteracy in a country that was grossly over-familiar with all three. That is a pretty big service. The fact that it has been delivered in the face of sustained hostility from an obsessive neighbour makes it all the more stunning.Yes. Remarkable.
While we're excerpting, here is some information about Cuba from Human Rights Watch:
Human Rights Watch has monitored human rights conditions in Cuba for more than fifteen years. Although severe restrictions on basic civil and political rights have been a constant in Cuba during this period, the current crackdown, both in its scale and in its intensity, far surpasses the violations we have documented in the past.Charming.
The current crackdown began on March 18, as the world's attention was focused on the impending war in Iraq. Within the space of a few days, state security agents arrested dozens of people, searching their homes, and, in many case, confiscating fax machines, computers, books, typewriters and personal papers. State-run television accused the detainees of "provocations" and "subversive activities."
Prosecutions began in early April. In four days of trials, from April 3-7, 75 defendants were tried and convicted; none were acquitted.
You can find more here, if you are so inclined.