In a BBC report of President Obama’s visit to Cuba on Monday, an expert stated that the US pays people to demonstrate against the Cuban system. The purchased demonstrators are dubbed Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White.
This US support could be compared with the visits of US officials to so-called red-shirt villages in Thailand, undemocratic communities where politicians of the wrong “colour” are threatened and chased away.
How does this apparent backing for an opposition group fit in with US claims that it supports free and independent development of democracy in a sovereign nation?
The US criticises Russia for interference in eastern Ukraine, but the 8 million Russians living there form the majority in its eastern provinces. Meanwhile the relatively few Americans resident in Cuba and Thailand are threatened in no way, so why does the US interfere there? Some will remember that when the US invaded Grenada in 1983 to “protect” 1,000 Americans, it replaced the government with one acceptable to Washington. The US appears to be operating double standards.
On Monday Cuban President Raul Castro fielded the customary US questions about human rights and democracy. He answered that every country has to go its own way without outside interference and that no country had a perfect record on human rights. In a poor country, free healthcare and education take priority over freedom of speech. In this regard the rich US seems to be the one with faulty priorities, still having no universal free healthcare or education yet suffering a high level of social inequality.
All governments regulate the press. Even worse, the media are often dominated by a few players who bombard us with biased information. Western mainstream media didn’t tell the truth about Thaksin Shinawatra’s downfall, recent demonstrations and the deadly political violence against demonstrators in Thailand – or did they?
Here’s another interesting connection between the US, Cuba, Thailand, the Ladies in White and press freedom. It has been revealed that Anna Ardin, a Swedish accuser in the sexual abuse case against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, has been to Cuba and worked with the US-paid Ladies in White. Strange coincidence?