Media around the world published the news: the Government of Cuba had decided to release 3,522 prisoners as a humanitarian gesture to the Pope’s visit to the island (1).
The Pope will also visit US on this tour. A few days ago, more than 60 social organizations -led by Pastors for Peace- asked President Obama in Washington to follow the example of Cuba in the release of prisoners (2). As was expected, mass international media have not devoted almost a line to this.
Making a three simple rule, if Cuba ‘s prison population is 57,000 (3) people , and the US 2,3 million (4) -the biggest in the world- the White House should release 141,000 people imprisoned for achieving extent of the action taken in Havana.
But the message of the media has not been humanitarian reprieved at the island, but the fact that among the reprieved people do not include the so-called “political prisoners” (5).
The “dissident” Elizardo Sanchez Santacruz had been demanding the release of 60 prisoners in Cuba for “political reasons or for politically conditioned processes” in front of microphones of agencies and television around the world.
The message to the international public opinion, once again, was that -despite the releases of 2010- there are still 60 “political prisoners” in Cuba (6); so EU and US should continue to push politically to Havana according to that (7).
But what kind of “political prisoners” contains the list? It includes, for example, the Salvadoran mercenaries who in 1997 bombed Havana hotels and killed a tourist; a person who killed four guards to steal a yacht and emigrate to US; four former military members who executed two hostages in the attempted kidnapping of an aircraft in 2007; and dozens of members of Miami right-wing commands, who had committed numerous attacks in Cuba (8).
Why the media do not talk about this? Why do not it tell us that these people were serving time for violent actions, some with very serious violent bloody crimes?
If we accept as a “political prisoner” the definition of Amnesty International, which says that it is “every prisoner whose case contains a significant political element”, some of these people could frame in that category (9). But, by the same reasoning, why does these media refuse to call “political prisoners” to the more than 500 members of armed groups in the Spanish prisons? (10)
Why the media reject consideration of “political prisoners” -or in this case “awareness” consideration- to the tens of Basque separatist who are imprisoned by act in outlawed parties, not by acts of violence? (11). This is the case of the leader Arnaldo Otegi, whose claim for freedom by three Latin American presidents and three Nobel Peace Prize had been quite muted in media (12) (13).
But let´s back to the Pope Francisco’s tour and his second scale: US. We read that the State of Arkansas -one of the 31 states with the death penalty and not to apply for the last 10 years- will execute five prisoners in the coming weeks (14) (15). In contrast, Cuba that still maintains its in its criminal code, also maintains a moratorium for 12 years ago (16).
But this … will not be subject of analysis in major international media.
(José Manzaneda, Cubainformacion´s coordinator.)