Yesterday came the news that Fidel Castro is standing down as leader of Cuba. It was swiftly followed up by a statement from Mr Liberty and Democracy himself, George Bush, saying that he wants a democratic transition to come over the small island. Now, I am not just about to defend Castro or his regime nor am I going to criticise it. The focus here is with George Bush and it goes right to root of why the popularity of Americans has suffered so badly in past few years.
In defence of the US
First thing first however, I am not a US basher. If I had a choice between the US and any other of the emerging super powers running the world it is a no contest for me. The lazy, stereotype myths that Americans are dumb are extremely ill-founded. The US could teach Britain a thing or two about many areas of politics and standards. I am sure that in twenty years time, or however long it is before the BRIC countries start to really have an impact on world affairs, all those ill-informed righteous bigots will be longing for the day when a true democracy had the base of power. However, there is a good reason why the US has got a growing band of haters and critics and it is best exemplified by the situation in Cuba.
The stinking hypocrisy
The call for the US to have democracy installed in Cuba absolutely stinks of hypocrisy. This is the country that has a small corner of Cuba solely used for the imprisonment of hundreds of inmates for as long as they want without trial. They don’t do this in their own country because it is against their constitution and against International law. The very poor standards and lack of human rights that the US criticises Cuba for having are the very same poor standards and lack of human rights that the US is taking full advantage of for their own means. Who the hell is George Bush to tell Cuba what political avenue to pursue when it is, de facto, practicing exactly what it is preaching against and much worse?
Take the case of Omar Khadr, a 15 year old boy. Now I don’t know what this guy has or hasn’t done and quite frankly I don’t care – it is up to a court to decide. However under US and International law he is a minor and should be tried in a juvenile court. But as the US is using Cuba as its base to torture and hold suspected terrorist subjects, it can do whatever the hell it likes. Thus, Khadr will be tried without any specialist juvenile judge, despite the trial focusing on his actions and words between the ages of ten (the age he is alleged to have been forced to join al-Qaeda) and 15. He is treated as an adult prisoner of war, interned with adults while he faces trial. This could not happen in America, but can and does in Cuba. Then there are the stories of water-boarding and other torture methods, poor living conditions; and remember not one of these men have been found guilty of anything nor are they likely to stand trial at the type of court that the US would demand for its own citizens and for other countries to adopt.
Hope for the future
Until America practices what it preaches, what position is in to tell other nations to adopt certain standards? I am all for the standards that they do preach, but they are so ill-equipped to be preaching right now. This is a George Bush issue currently, let’s hope that a McCain, Clinton or Obama clamps down on this desperate hypocrisy and makes the US a nation that has the integrity as well as the compulsion that the world will want to follow.