Fidel blasts Guantanamo concentration camp
Campaign News | Tuesday, 20 April 2004
Britain and Europe have to decide whether to vote against Bush
April 19: Cuba's leader Fidel Castro has lashed out at the US for building a concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay.
Mr Castro said European nations that voted against Cuba last week at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) are now faced with an "embarrassing" decision on whether to monitor the situation at the US naval enclave in eastern Cuba, where hundreds of prisoners have been held without charge since 2002.
Mr Castro said the US naval base had been "converted into a concentration camp where absolutely no rights are respected".
Mr Castro spoke during a television talk show marking the anniversary of the botched 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles seeking to end the revolution.
The resolution is due to be debated in Geneva by Thursday 22 April.
If approved, it would give UN special rapporteurs on torture, and a working group on arbitrary detention mandates to investigate the Guantanamo Bay conditions.
The US would then be placed in the position of having to either accept the investigation or to reject it. Either course would be extremely embarrassing for the Bush Administration.
If the motion falls it will be a scandal because it would prove the UN Commission on Human Rights has become a forum where only developing countries are criticised for breaches.
Last week the US used the Commission to unfairly have Cuba reprimanded for alleged human rights violations. Failure to do the same to the US would weaken further its credibility.
Cuba has rejected the decision by the Commisison to send a rapporteur to investigate human rights on the island and the US (along with its European allies) has vociferously criticised Cuba for doing so.
Were the US to do the same, it would expose its double standards in a forum where developing countries are increasingly critical of the behaviour of the developed nations.
What European nations do at the commission could therefore also prove embarrasssing. After supporting the US motion on Cuba, if the European countries, and in particular the UK, then decline to support the Cuba motion they will be seen to be completely hypocritical.
See Reuters report:
For background on Guantanamo Bay see: