That's right - Cuba has volunteered to join the U.N. Human Rights Commission. fidel pledges to share his experiences in the human rights field with the International community, according to CNS News Service
"The Cuban people can show to the world, with deep modesty but with full satisfaction and pride, its tremendous achievements," President Fidel Castro's government said in a document sent to other U.N. member states' missions in New York, requesting support for its candidacy.
The HRC will meet for the first time on June 19th in Geneva, Switzerland. It replaces the old U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which had been sharply criticized for putting rights-abusing dictatorships on the commission.
So, what is the human rights record fidel wants to share with the world? First, there's Dr. Guillermo Farinas, recently the focus of attention of the blogosphere. He was arrested for doing what most of us take for granted - using the Internet to post a criticism of his government. He was attacked by a mob.
''I got on my knees and said, `Down With Fidel!'" said Guillermo Farinas, a 41-year-old psychologist-turned-independent-(and anti-establishment)-journalist, as he reported the events of a government agent mob attack to The Miami Herald.
"They started kicking and beating me, bruising my back, arm and head. They stopped when they saw I would not lose my dignity and say things I didn't feel," he continued.
In his prison cell, Farinas went on a 56-day hunger strike demanding something else we take for granted - access to email. He abandoned his strike when other dissidents asked him to stop - they told him he was more valuable to the cause alive than dead.
Cuba is one of 34 countries whose candidacies for the 47-seat HRC have been made public by the U.N. as of early Thursday. Others that have raised eyebrows because of their often-criticized human rights records include Iran, Pakistan and Algeria.
The U.N. General Assembly will hold elections for the HRC on May 9.
What are the human rights achievements Cuba wants to share with the world?
Chief among the "tremendous achievements' Cuba had to show the world, it said, was "the full exercise of its right to self-determination, facing the grave obstacles and threats derived from the unilateral policy of hostility, aggression and blockade imposed on it by the superpower."
The right to self-determination is a so-called "third-generation" right which -- unlike "first-generation" rights such as freedom of speech and religion, and "second-generation" rights such as the right to education -- do not feature strongly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet tried to exercise his right of self-determination, right to free speech, and right to educate. He has been sentenced to 25-years in jail for it. He organized a seminar to teach Cubans about the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and his non-violent methods of obtaining first-generation, second-generation and third-generation rights, to use fidel's foolish language. Biscet is a follower of Dr. King, Gandhi, and the Dalai Lama. Here's a replica of his prison cell - thanks to The Real Cuba for the image.
In a civilized country, Dr. Biscet would be commended for his teachings. In the country that wants to spread its view of human rights around the world, he is sentenced to live in a tiny version of hell. Dr. Biscet is seriously ill and is suffering from chronic gastritis and hypertension. At one point last year, his family reported he has lost 60-pounds in prison. His family has tried to follow the custom one encounters in many Latin American countries - bringing food and medicine to the prisoner. fidel has not allowed him to receive the care packages.
fidel, as usual, is exaggerating. His achievements in the field of human rights are not modest - they are non-existent.
Update - Charlie Bravo shares his views here.