The media irony is too much fun. On the same day as a prison expert from Europe proclaimed the Gitmo inmates are treated “better than [inmates] in Belgian prisons,” Reuters and the UN blames the US economic embargo for Castro’s treatment of political dissidents.
Alain Grignard, the deputy head of Brussels’ federal police anti-terrorism unit and an expert for Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said that while keeping prisoners for an extended period of time could be “mental torture,” he said the prisoner’s right to their religion, food, clothes and medical care were better than those in Belguim. “I know no Belgian prison where each inmate receives its Muslim kit,” Mr Grignard said. Last month the UN called for the immediate closure of the facility, without visiting it.
Here’s the lead of the Reuters
Castro press release story on Cuban prisons:
A special U.N. rights envoy expressed alarm on Tuesday at allegations of ill treatment in Cuban jails, but said that a U.S. economic embargo was hampering attempts to improve Cuba’s respect for political rights.
The story references allegations about the Cuban prisons for political dissidents (When’s the last time you saw the treatment of Gitmo prisoners discussed in terms of allegations, not facts?). Families of those imprisoned maintain the food, hygiene and medical care were abysmal, basically the exact opposite of Gitmo.
But Reuters and the UN could not let all that bad news about Cuba go unbalanced. The UN report “pointed to a number of “positive” developments in the areas of economic, social and cultural rights, especially in education and health.
Infant mortality had been lowered and life expectancy extended. All Cuban children attended school and illiteracy had been virtually eradicated, she added.
This was despite the 40-year-old U.S. embargo, which had had disastrous economic and social effects as well as causing harm to civil and political rights.
The government of veteran Marxist President Fidel Castro had used U.S. support for political opposition as a pretext to unleash the wave of repression in 2003, she said.”
Some how President Bush found time in between steering hurricanes and personally torturing people at Abu Graib and Gitmo to inspire Castro to imprison and torture his own people. We really do have an overachieving President.