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Tony Woodley the useful idiot of murderous dictator Castro.

So this is how the £122K a year champagne socialist acts, supporting an aged mass killer.
The boss of the trade union behind the British Airways strike was 'unavailable' for talks because he was in Cuba celebrating the revolution, it was claimed yesterday.

Tony Woodley jetted to the communist island to join millions partying for the 51st anniversary of Fidel Castro sweeping to power.

The 62-year-old joint chief of Unite even took to a podium to give a rousing speech to cheering crowds in central Havana.

Meanwhile, BA bosses were unable to continue negotiations to avert the devastating strike action affecting millions of passengers, sources claimed.

Still he is not alone in his misguided views so typical of the chattering champagne socialist classes. They tend to overlook the human rights issues on thats gulag nation, rather they look at the ideology and pretend/deny that the nastier aspects are not even happening.

Like the protests taking place.
This week the Damos de Blanco (Ladies in white) descended on the streets of Cuba. They are a group of Cuban women relatives of men who were arrested in a major crack down by Fidel’s authorities in March 2003. Many of the men arrested then for opposing Castro’s government, are still in jail. One high profile individual, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died last month, following a long hunger strike. His mother was amongst the women on the march.
Read the rest here.

Then we have this gem EDM 982(below), a fawning cock in mouth piece of historical whitewashing by uber hoon and now thankfully a former MP, Andrew Dismore. A rather strange looking MP who looks like he should be wearing an ankle tag and have an order keeping him away from local schools.
EDM 982 - link to the EDM page
That this House commends the achievements of Fidel Castro in securing first-class free healthcare and education provision for the people of Cuba despite the 44 year illegal US embargo of the Cuban economy; notes the great strides Cuba has taken during this period in many fields such as biotechnology and sport in both of which Cuba is a world leader; acknowledges the esteem in which Castro is held by the people and leaders of Africa, Asia and Latin America for leading the calls for emancipation of the world's poorest people from slavery, hunger and the denial of human rights such as the right to life, the right to shelter, the right to healthcare and basic medicines and the right to education; welcomes the EU statement that constructive engagement with Cuba at this time is the most responsible course of action; and calls upon the Government to respect Cuba's right to self-determination and resist the aggressive forces within the US Administration who are openly planning their own illegal transition in Cuba.

Yet despite my mailing him, this former MP never replied or raised the matter of Mr Normando Hernández González. Another man who has fallen fowl of the sun baked tropical gulag of Cuba.
See also http://www.newstatesman.com/200711080021 Plus: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=6917 Also: http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/912/prmID/174
A jailed Cuban journalist whose health is rapidly deteriorating in the face of prison-contracted diseases has been chosen as one of four writers to mark the Day of the Imprisoned Writer on 15 November. The special day, held on the same date each year, is organised by PEN, the writers' organisation that backs persecuted authors around the world.

Normando Hernández González was imprisoned in 2003 for reports and broadcasts on the internet and Radio Martí that were said by the government to endanger security. Hernández was found guilty of spying and threatening national security, crimes that carry a 25-year jail term. He was one of 75 journalists arrested in the Cuban government crackdown on the press in 2003 and, according to PEN, remains one of 59 still held by the regime.

He was thrown a glimmer of hope a few months ago when the government of Costa Rica effectively granted him asylum in absentia, launching a plea for his release after reports of a downward turn in his condition.

The move came about after Hernández's mother, Bianca González, appealed to Costa Rican legislators to intervene.

José Manuel Echandi, a former Defender of the Citizens in Costa Rica, answered the call and accused Cuba of torture in blocking the journalist's release.

The Cuban journalist's illness has been partly brought about by a hunger strike he began six months ago, but he has also contracted tuberculosis in prison. Hernández has spent most of the past 12 months in a maximum security prison, but was recently moved to a hospital for treatment.

At Echandi's request, Costa Rica asked Cuba to free Hernández and allow him to be transferred across the Caribbean Sea for health care attention in that country. When they received no response, Echandi wrote to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, to seek help to speed his release.

Press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders is also backing the request that Hernández should be transported to Costa Rica.

"Humanitarian concerns are clearly paramount as regards all prisoners of conscience," the organisation said.

Cuba has more journalists locked up than any other country in the world, apart from China. Those still held since March 2003 are serving sentences ranging from 14 to 27 years.

According to Reporters Without Borders, three journalists held in Cuba were arrested after Fidel Castro's brother Raú took over the running of the country last year.

Another aspect of Cuba that Tone won't be bragging about at Unite meetings when we see the real face of the socialist gulag that is Fidel's Cuba.
Famed Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez said Friday she and another blogger were punched and thrown violently into a car by presumed state security agents as they walked to participate in a peaceful march in downtown Havana.
No blood, but black and blues, punches, pulled hairs, blows to the head, kidneys, knee and chest,'' Sánchez told El Nuevo Herald shortly after she and Orlando Luis Pardo were freed. ``In sum, professional violence.''
`I, being a person of verbal pacifism, am shaken by this violence, because violence silences anyone,'' the blogger declared in a telephone interview....
Maybe Tone could spare a thought for Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet who will spend the day locked in a fetid cell in the Combinado del Este prison in Havana, where he is serving a 25-year prison sentence for speaking out against Fidel Castro's dictatorship.

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the US Commission on Civil Rights, has written that the conditions of Biscet's incarceration are like something out of Victor Hugo: "windowless and suffocating, with wretched sanitary conditions. The stench seeping from the pit in the ground that serves as a toilet is intensified by being compressed into an unventilated cell only as wide as a broom closet. . . . Biscet reportedly suffers from osteoarthritis, ulcers, and hypertension. His teeth, those that haven't fallen out, are rotted and infected."

A prolife Christian physician, Biscet first ran afoul of the Castro regime in the 1990s, when he investigated Cuban abortion techniques - Cuba has by far the highest abortion rates in the Western Hemisphere - and revealed that numerous infants had been killed after being delivered alive. In 1997, he began the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, which seeks "to establish in Cuba a state based on the rule of law" and "sustained upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." In 1999, he was given a three-year sentence for "disrespecting patriotic symbols." To protest the regime's repression, he had hung a Cuban flag upside down.

For decades, various American journalists and celebrities have rhapsodized about Castro's supposed island paradise, resolutely ignoring the mountains of evidence that it is in reality a tropical dungeon. Intent on seeing Castro as a revolutionary hero and Cuba as Shangri-la, they avert their gaze from the island's genuine heroes - the prisoners of conscience like Biscet, who pay a fearful price for their insistence on telling the truth.

The US detention center in Guantanamo Bay is sometimes spoken of as if it were a Caribbean concentration camp, but the only facilities that deserve such a label are hellholes like Combinado del Este, in which Biscet and so many other Cuban dissidents have been brutally abused - or worse. Over the years, life in Castro's gulag has been well-chronicled. The classic narrative is Armando Valladares's "Against All Hope," a stark and searing memoir of the author's 22 years in Cuba's horrific prisons.

The newest account of life as a Cuban political prisoner is "Fighting Castro: A Love Story," Kay Abella's affecting and inspiring saga of one Cuban couple's love for each other and for their homeland, and the cruelties, large and petty, inflicted on those who challenge the regime.

For Lino Fernandez, a young physician who pays for his democratic resistance with 17 years behind bars, those cruelties are sadistic and often bloody. Abella describes, for example, what it was like to experience a requisa - a search by armed prison guards - in the notorious round fortress on Isla de Pinos:

"A screaming mass of soldiers swarming over the circular, stabbing with bayonets, crushing limbs with truncheons and rubber-wrapped chains. The panic of no place to hide, knowing you'll be beaten harder for trying to protect yourself, stomped on for clinging to a pillar or rail, thrown down the stairs for daring to hesitate. . . . The indignity of men whining, begging, whimpering before a skull is cracked, a shoulder yanked from its socket, genitals smashed with the gun butt."

For the families of political prisoners, the cruelties come in other forms, such as the humiliating strip-searches on the rare occasions when a prison visit is permitted. And there is economic privation: Oscar Biscet's wife, Elsa Morejon, is a trained nurse, but she has been barred from holding a professional job in Cuba since 1998.

The conscience and courage of these dissidents are nothing short of extraordinary. "During these years here in prison," Biscet wrote to Elsa in a letter smuggled out of prison earlier this year, "I have seen shameful things that I am unable to describe to you in words because of their perversity and their attack on . . . civilized society. Despite this difficult situation I am not intimidated nor do I take any step backwards in my mind. . . . I will carry out this unjust sentence until the most high God puts an end to it."

Lastly I would like to offer a ray of hope small that it is to the body politic here in the UK, that both Andrew Dismore and fellow MP Paul Holmes are now ex MP's.

Mr Holmes as he is now famously said of the dictatorship:
"It is true Cuba has political prisoners and no free elections, but it has very good dentistry"
Well that's jolly nice, I am sure when having had their teeth smashed in some political prisoner can smile knowing the state will provide him dental work.

For more on the real struggle in Cuba see this site which has a list of political prisoners, which I have taken the liberty of copying below.

I wonder if anyone in Unite would care to actually help some other workers who are suffering in the gulags of Cuba?
'Barrera, Jorge'   Abreu, Carlos


4 people have spoken:

Dave Snark said...

Absolutely disgraceful, oh and predictable.

INCOMING!!!!!!! said...

Couldn't have put it better myself Fido.

Spunkless Goons.

banned said...

Very interesting read Fido, thank you.
I don't wish to be picky but "fallen fowl " ?

Please feel free to delete this comment

Fidothedog said...

Banned I blame the spellchecker/lack of sleep, will leave the censoring to Paul Flynn MP.