Monday, March 06, 2017

Cuban Human Rights and the Trump Administration

The State Department released its human rights report, though was uninterested in it to the point that State did not have anyone on the record discuss it. I was curious about what it would look like under the Trump administration, so I compared 2015 Cuba to 2016 Cuba.

What I found is that about 90% of the report is copied verbatim from last year. This is not necessarily news since 2014 was very similar to 2015. In fact, 2014, 2015, and 2016 all have the following:

During the year some religious groups reported greater latitude to express their opinions during sermons and at religious gatherings, although most members of the clergy continued to exercise self-censorship. 

If indeed that latitude increased every year, there would be real progress, but more likely is that no one bothered ever to update the sentence. This seems like laziness, which afflicted both administrations. If I am missing something here, I am happy to be corrected.

Regardless, there was tweaking here and there, but the tenor of the report didn't change. A quick look suggests the same is true of Venezuela.

One might expect that if the administration was anticipating more aggressive policy, this could be one place to formally lay out the human rights rationale. That isn't happening here. On the other hand, Trump himself has shown zero interest in the State Department and the State Department has shown no interest in this report, so possibly every word I've written here was a waste of time because no one with any power will read/use the report at all.


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