Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UN Rapporteur Jean Ziegler: On the Art of Not Giving Offense to Castro

Jean Ziegler, the United Nations Rapporteur on the Right to Food, whose recent trip to Cuba, the first by a UN rapporteur in 20 years, revealed to the world that Communist Cuba was a horn of plenty, has admitted that he intentionally avoided meeting with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) during his 10-day visit to the island from Oct. 28 to November 6, as the New York-based human rights organization U.N. Watch had charged. Although several European Union ambassadors in Havana had offered to arrange such meetings in their embassies, supposedly beyond the regime's prying eyes and ears, Ziegler declined because "it would have compromised the new spirit of openness signalled by Cuba." Besides, his itinerary had already been approved by the regime and to stray from it would have been "irresponsible on his part" and "an absurdity." Although meeting with NGOs would have been "humanly understandable," Ziegler averred that it would have threatened future visits by rapporteurs as well as a UN pact with Cuba on social, economic and cultural rights and a second pact on civil and political rights.

"Openness" on the part of the Castro regime is contingent upon lack of openness on the part of the rapporteur. The more inoffensive that Ziegler is, the more rapporteurs Cuba will allow to visit the island in the future. With each successive rapporteur competing to be the least offensive, the number of inoffensive rapporteurs could grow exponentially. Therefore, it would have been "irresponsible" and an "absurdity" if Ziegler had by his damnable lack of inoffensiveness provoked the regime to be less welcoming to other inoffensive rapporteurs. Meetings with NGOs, although "humanly understandable," would have offended those whose actions are not humanly understandable, and that would never do. Ziegler's job is to conceal and justify inhumanity, not to expose it, much less condemn it. Under such circumstances it is perhaps more prudent to avoid those who might strike notes of discordance in the perfect symphony of sympathy which has characterized the UN's interactions with Cuba in general and Ziegler's interactions in particular. It is precisely this wonderful meeting of minds that has enabled Ziegler to secure a promise from his Cuban friends, in consideration of so much inoffensiveness on his part, to agree to sign "pacts" with the United Nations regarding "civil and political rights." It is not enough, of course, that Cuba abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which it is a signatory. No, that could be construed as being offensive. Instead, there should be a special "pact" with Cuba wherein Castro decides what constitutes human rights and agrees to abide by his definition.

Of course, the mere fact that Ziegler was sent to Cuba in the first place was a victory for the regime because as a prior condition the UN had to abolish the position of Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cuba. Although no such rapporteur was ever admitted into Cuba for as long as the office existed, it was nonetheless a symbolic rebuke that one did exist and was thought necessary. Well, in the era of inoffensiveness to Cuba, even an implied rebuke was too explicit. Now there will be no more rebukes, real or implied; only regurgitations of Jean Ziegler's inanities.

1 comment:

Vana said...

Why take the trip then? I was hoping he would go to the prisons, talk to the opposition, obviously he does not want to insult the vicious regime of the Castros, guess he went to Cuba on holiday to sun himself in our wonderfull beaches, how nice