Chilean Lawmaker: ‘We Have Forgotten’ Cuba’s Human Rights Atrocities

Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Chilean lawmaker Luis Pardo Sainz co-sponsored a bill this week urging Santiago to help create a court to prosecute human rights violations by the communist government of Cuba. Pardo Sainz told Breitbart News Friday that the move is necessary because the world has “forgotten” the Castro regime’s crimes.

The bill is the first of its kind since Justice Cuba, a commission dedicated to building a legal case for crimes against humanity against the Castro regime, announced late last year that it had completed the discovery phase of its mission and would now move to find a venue for the trial.

Crimes against humanity, the peacetime equivalent of war crimes, is a discrete legal term of art that encapsulates a variety of acts “committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population,” including but not limited to torture, murder, slavery, forced transfer of populations, and enforced disappearances. Justice Cuba has compiled evidence demonstrating that the Cuban government has committed these crimes during the 60 years of its existence. While it no longer operates labor camps for LGBT and Christian Cubans like it did in the 1960s, it continues to enslave, torture, and arbitrarily imprison its people. This week, human rights NGOs revealed evidence that Havana is also forcibly displacing “hundreds” of Cuban dissidents, most known cases flown by force to Guyana.

While Fidel Castro died in 2016, the Justice Cuba commission asserts that many high-profile members of the regime involved in gross human rights abuses are not just alive, but remain in power. The most visible example is the current dictator Raúl Castro, Fidel’s younger brother.

Legally, all countries in the world have jurisdiction to try anyone anywhere on charges of crimes against humanity, assuming probable cause.

Chile, Pardo Sainz told Breitbart News, has a role to play in ensuring justice is served to the Cuban people.

“All Latin American countries that have a commitment to democracy should maintain their concern for the Cuban situation,” Pardo Sainz, a member of Chile’s center-right National Rejuvenation Party, told Breitbart News via telephone from Chile. “Unfortunately, the Cuban experiment has had an expansion in the last few years in countries like Venezuela and Nicaragua, which has generated greater attention from the rest of the continent and the world, and it seems like the Cuban dictatorship has [become normalized] and we have stopped denouncing what is going on in Cuba.”

“Since everyone is paying attention to Venezuela because of the humanitarian crisis, we have forgotten the grave human rights violation situation in Cuba,” he added. “At some point, we have to judge and sanction the crimes against humanity committed in Cuba.”

Pardo Sainz lamented that both Cuban efforts to hide the Communist Party’s crimes and a generalized apathy to the regime strengthened by its existence for over half a century have contributed to the continued impunity that regime leaders enjoy.

“We have gotten used to the situation that has consolidated in Cuba,” he said. “Cuba’s diplomatic networks are also very effective and manage to neutralize many initiatives … but that is exactly why it is so important for organizations like Justice Cuba and human rights defender organizations generally to express their interest.”

The Chilean House of Deputies bill to support the Justice Cuba initiative debuted in the news this week. The text of the bill, which Pardo Sainz shared with Breitbart News, cites the precedent of the trials at Nuremberg and Tokyo following World War II as examples of holding government leaders accountable for human rights atrocities.

As demonstrated by those trials, the draft bill states, “crimes against humanity [as an international legal crime] has become accepted by civilized states and institutions within an international [human] rights regime.”

“Cuba urgently needs global and regional solidarity. Cuba urgently needs investigations to reveal the truth so that its people, subjected to totalitarianism for over six decades, can live in true peace, which derives from liberty and justice,” the bill reads.

The bill, if signed into law, would “request that the President of the Republic [Sebastián Piñera], in conjunction with the Foreign Relations Ministry, provide its legal faculties and international instruments to promote and defend human rights ratified by Chile [and] manifest its condemnation of the violation of human rights in Cuba.”

Specifically, the bill would demand the government of Chile “support the creation of an international tribunal to judge the crimes against humanity committed by the Communist Regime of Cuba against the Cuban people and other peoples.”

If passed, the bill would bring the trial one step closer to becoming a reality, and likely involve other nations on the continent. With support from the United States, most countries in the Western Hemisphere have increased their pressure on Cuba due to its role in destroying Venezuelan society. Venezuelan former political prisoners have testified to being tortured by Cuban intelligence agents, and for years reports have indicated that dictator Nicolás Maduro has placed thousands of Cuban nationals working for the Castro regime in positions of power. The Cuban regime has also played a role in destabilizing Nicaragua and supporting rogue regimes in North Korea, Syria, Iran, China, and Zimbabwe. Widespread evidence exists of Cuban soldiers torturing anti-communist dissidents in Angola during the Cuban occupation of that country, as well.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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