While President Raul Castro pays homage to the late Nelson Mandela with a speech on unity, tolerance and reconciliation, acts of repression throughout the width and breadth of Cuba speak otherwise.

Antonio Rodiles’ house, headquarters of SATS, has been literally under siege since the night of December 9, Human Rights Day, by State Security, which is preventing access to it. As though that were not enough, today they mobilized neighbors and Young Pioneers from neighboring schools to liven things up with shouts, music and political slogans. They have surrounded the property with the goal of intimidating and sowing confusion so that, in the midst of this confusion, they can arrest anyone trying to approach the building.

While many have not been able get there, others have found various ways to circumvent the cordon and attend a function celebrating a day much feared by Cuban authorities. But undoubtedly the most shameful thing about all of this is their having used schoolchildren for political ends, probably without the knowledge of their respective parents, an action with should warrant the attention of UNICEF. I believe that today’s actions have been possibly the worst tribute paid to Human Rights Day or to the late African leader.

11 December 2013

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