At least 18 opponents of the Cuban government were detained in connection with four small protests on or near Havana's waterfront on July 13. Several hundred government supporters, including construction workers on a job at the nearby Hermanos Ameijeiras hospital, attacked the protesters, who numbered a few dozen at most; several protesters were reportedly injured. Dissident sources say the government organized the counter-demonstrators and transported them in official vehicles. The protests commemorated an incident on July 13, 1994, in which 41 people died as they tried to flee Cuba in a stolen tugboat; dissidents say three pursuing government boats purposely rammed and sank the tugboat, while the government says the boats collided accidentally. (La Jornada, Mexico, July 14, 15; AFP, July 13, 14)
The interim Haitian government released right-wing paramilitary leader Louis Jodel Chamblain from jail on Aug. 11. Chamblain, a leader in an armed rebellion that ended when President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in February 2004, had been imprisoned since April 2004 because of his conviction of several crimes committed under military rule in the early 1990s. An Aug. 17, 2004 retrial cleared Chamblain of charges in the 1993 murder of business leader Antoine Izmery, and on May 6, 2005 the Supreme Court overturned his conviction in the 1994 massacre in the Raboteau neighborhood of Gonaives. He remains convicted of the 1994 murder of a priest, Jean-Marie Vincent.
Luis Posada Carriles couldn't have been too happy to see his face on the front page of the New York Times yesterday ("Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist," May 9). The anti-Castro extremist, who is linked to a long trail of murder and terror throughout the hemisphere, "sneaked back into Florida six weeks ago in an effort to seek political asylum for having served as a cold war soldier on the payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s," according to his attorney. Venezuela is seeking to extdradite him for blowing up a Cuban airliner, and even a retired FBI counter-terrorism specialist quoted by the Times (Carter Cornick) said Posada was "up to his eyeballs" in planning the attack. Just last week, Venezuela's Supreme Court ruled that as "the author or accomplice of homicide, he must be extradited and judged."
Did anyone catch this one? What a shame the EU wimped out...
On April 21 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights voted 22-8 with 23 abstentions against a resolution proposed by Cuba for the organization to investigate charges of human rights abuses against some 500 Muslim and Mideastern prisoners the US is holding at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The commission then unanimously passed a resolution to designate a special rapporteur to monitor human rights violations carried out in the name of the "war against terrorism"; this resolution was introduced by Mexico, which had also backed the Cuban resolution. The votes occurred on the next-to-last day of the commission's annual meeting in Geneva.