Libz Outraged at Robson’s Praise of Totalitarian One-Party State

01 March 2005 03:04:00

Foreign Affairs

"I am appalled that Progressive MP Matt Robson is singing the praises of a regime that flagrantly suppresses any form of dissent, that bans all media other than its own propaganda vehicles, and that imprisons, tortures and executes dissidents. His praise of Cuba following his recent trip – praise presumably endorsed by his party leader Jim Anderton – is just mind-numbingly stupid," declared Libertarianz Leader Bernard Darnton today.

Robson was apparently in Cuba as a guest of Cuba’s totalitarian state, which has been murdering and imprisoning dissidents over the last 35 years, and has returned to talk up the worker’s paradise in which workers are boiling stones to make soup. He praises, for example, Cuba’s published child mortality statistics, which like all such figures Darnton says are just unaudited works of fiction. "Robson slavishly repeats all of the statistics on health and education trotted out by this authoritarian one-party state, as if the statistics of Castro’s Cuba can be believed any more than those of Ceaucescu’s Romania, Mao’s China or Stalin’s Russia."

"Doesn’t he realise that dictatorships lie flagrantly about the situation in their country?" wonders Darnton.

Robson also lauds the lack of crime in Cuba. "A low rate of recorded crime is unsurprising," says Darnton. "There is no ‘crime’ in a prison. There is virtually no crime in North Korea. Police states scare everyone into obeying every law!"

"Robson, Anderton and the Green Party take every opportunity to criticise the United States on its treatment of alleged terrorists. However, they are strangely silent on the appalling treatment of Cuban dissidents. The freedom to criticise the government here in New Zealand is a freedom that Robson, Anderton and the Green Party clearly don’t think Cubans themselves deserve."

Darnton quotes ‘Human Rights Watch’ on Cuba:

"A one-party state, Cuba restricts nearly all avenues of political dissent. Tactics for enforcing political conformity include police warnings, surveillance, short term-detentions, house arrests, travel restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and politically-motivated dismissals from employment.

The government also imprisons or orders the surveillance of individuals who have committed no illegal act, relying upon laws penalizing "dangerousness" (estado peligroso) and allowing for "official warning" (advertencia oficial).

Political prisoners who denounce poor conditions of imprisonment or who otherwise fail to observe prison rules are frequently punished by long periods in punitive isolation cells, restrictions on visits, or denial of medical treatment.

Human rights monitoring is not recognized as a legitimate activity, but rather is stigmatized as a betrayal of Cuban sovereignty. Cuba remains one of the few countries in the world, and the only one in the Western Hemisphere, to deny the International Committee of the Red Cross access to its prisons."

Libertarianz believe that New Zealanders have every right to travel to any country they wish, and to trade with whatever countries they wish, but that there should be no official governmental or parliamentary endorsement of regimes that flagrantly deny their citizens such basic rights of life, liberty, and free speech by imprisoning, torturing and executing them.

Bernard Darnton
m: 021 324 466, p: +64 4 473 2639, f: +64 4 499 6042

Libertarianz – More Freedom – Less Government