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Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Human Rights Report

The U.S. State Department has issued its annual report on the state of human rights around the world. This is what the Department's representative had to say at a briefing in Congress:

Cuba's government remains a blight on the stunning advancement of freedom worldwide...

Cuba. I wish I could say something has changed there. It's really bad and stayed bad. I was head of our mission in Havana in the mid-'90s, or the mid-to-late-'90s, and have been dealing with Cuba for a good deal of my career. And, you know, it's one of these things where you -- it's not just that the problems are the same, the individuals are the same. I mean, we've had people in the same positions for 45years, and when you have a system that's that stultified you keep making the same mistakes over and over again and making them worse. With a democratic system, at least you have the chance every so often to rectify your errors and commit new ones, but you don't keep making the same mistake over and over. But Cuba is a special case in that regard.

Venezuela. You know, we saw some, unfortunately, some real backsliding there this year. We were supportive of monitoring of the referendum and so on that was done and respected the results of that. But when we then see media law being passed to intimidate and constrain journalists in the country, when you see efforts to pack the supreme court and so on, those are not positive developments.

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