A few weeks ago I spoke to you about the establishment of an international tribunal regarding the economic, financial and trade blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba. He trained under distinguished international jurists, on the initiative of about ten organizations, and sat in the European Parliament, in Brussels, in Central Europe, on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 November.
This court is intended to be a response to the numerous human rights violations committed by the United States government in the context of the blockade of the socialist Caribbean island. Let us remember that this same government ignores the calls of the international community, which for thirty-one years in a row has overwhelmingly demanded an end to this illegal and criminal blockade.
The Court was chaired by Mr. Norman Beach, Professor of Public International and Constitutional Law at the University of Hamburg. He is also a member of the Democratic Association of Jurists, among the group of advisors to the International Association of Jurists Against Nuclear Weapons, and is an authority in Germany on matters of justice and human rights. In his opening remarks, Mr. Beach referred to the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, during the Russell Tribunal charged with adjudicating war crimes committed by the US government during the Vietnam War: “It is not a question for the judge whether it is the North or not.” US policy in Vietnam may or may not be a disaster (which seems clear to most participants). Rather, it is a question of determining whether we respect international law regarding war crimes. It is not a question of condemning a policy in the name of history, nor of judging whether it conflicts with the interests of humanity. It is simply a matter of determining whether it falls within the remit of existing law. Then he added that this also applies to this court.
The court heard from numerous witnesses, victims of the stubborn policy pursued by the United States government towards those who dare to challenge the blockade, as well as representatives of Cuban civil society, who came to explain how the blockade affects them in their daily lives, depriving them of freedom. to their basic rights and eliminates any hope of better well-being. It was also explained how this blockade would affect other countries, due to its extraterritorial nature.
After two days of hearing, the court issued its expected verdict: Guilty! The United States violates international law and human rights culturally, socially, economically, educationally, in public health, and so on. This blockade violates the 1966 International Covenant on Economic Rights and amounts to genocide as defined in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The United States must pay compensation to citizens and businesses affected by the blockade, the six justices concluded.
Spain and the rest…
Do you remember, I talked to you two weeks ago about the rather complicated situation in Spain after the result of the recent legislative elections. The Socialist Party led by Pedro Sánchez failed to gain a majority, and in order to remain in power, it had to form alliances, including alliances with Catalan separatists. They set certain conditions before agreeing to support the socialist government, including a general amnesty for all those accused of sedition, imprisoned or forced into exile for organizing a Catalan independence referendum.
However, Pedro Sánchez accepted the amnesty proposal for some three hundred and more independence activists, and his coalition government, which received royal approval, this Friday, submitted the bill for final adoption, despite threats from the opposition, the army and the judiciary. Thus, Carles Puigdemont could claim to have saved the socialist government, and in return, he would be able to return to the country after five years of exile.
The right-wing and far-right opposition is in a critical situation, the same opposition that demanded and obtained, in 1977, an amnesty law for crimes against humanity committed by Franco’s government, thus preventing the prosecution of those responsible, among those still alive. For this dark period in Spain’s history. Opponents promised to do everything in their power to prevent the passage of this bill and to increase measures and demonstrations.
Let’s go on, but the Catalan separatists now hold the famous “balances of power”. Can you imagine if the Bloc Québécois were in the same position with a minority government in Ottawa? The question is, among other things, whether to end the declaration of double income tax, or full jurisdiction over immigration, or return some powers in the broad field of communications… and why not Labrador?