Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Death of one of Castro's minions

The death of Eduardo Bernabé Ordáz Ducungé should please all those who give a damn about individual rights, freedom and common decency.

Ordáz was a deputy of the Cuban National Assembly and director of the Havana psychiatric hospital (Mazorra). One of the functions of the hospital is (this has not changed) to hold political dissidents, to treat them and administer electric shocks. Ordáz admitted it, exiles of the regime described it. Ordáz’s main crime was to let the security forces use the psychiatric hospital for torture and detention, and we shouldn’t forget the Marxist-Leninist view that opposition to communist is, in itself, a psychiatric disorder.

I don’t expect many of the mindless pricks who wear Castro’s image on the chests or cheer on the Cuban regime know this, after all, the regime doesn’t like showing its darker side.

He remarkably got a Pan American Health Organisation award for his treatment of psychiatric patients. Tours by foreign psychiatrists of the Mazorra were the typical Potemkin tours of clean, functioning parts of the hospital – they weren’t shown the dark side. North Korea is more cautious, it never lets anyone see their psychiatric hospitals, though I doubt people with mental illnesses have much chance there.

This is a description of what would happen at Mazorra:
“Every morning at 5 a.m., Heriberto Mederos, and his sadistic assistants, one of whom was nicknamed El Capitan, would select the unfortunate ones who would undergo ECT after being doused with cold water (for better electrical conduction!) and thrown on the hard cement floor where they would undergo the procedure. El Capitan would later sodomize young prisoners. Others would be brutally beaten. One of them was found hung and incinerated with gasoline. Everyday 80 to 90 of the inmates would have to stand like animals en La Perrera, "the dog kennel," the small enclosure measuring approximately 10 by 30 meters on a slab of cement which was in the courtyard behind the Sala Carbó-Serviá. They would stand on the crowded floor, under the sun, pitted against each other surrounded by other strangers and madmen, excrement and urine stench everywhere.”

By the way Mederos moved to the United States, lied to immigration officials about his past and had a low profile until he was convicted of the lying. He died before serving out the five year sentence he was given.

It is true that Ordáz apparently did some good. The hospital was in a dire state after the fall of the Batista regime, with many patients naked and manacled without running water. The hospital is in a somewhat better state, perhaps for some – but he ran a hospital that allowed the likes of Mederos to torture patients, for the facility to be used to torture and incarcerate political prisoners.

The Cuban regime of Castro is nothing to be proud of – for the likes of Matt Robson and other felchers of such regimes to cheer them on, is exactly the same as Margaret Thatcher being an apologist for Augusto Pinochet. The system that happens to deliver improvements in standards of living (and let’s face it Cuba isn’t exactly wealthy) are not justified when those who question the regime are tortured and killed.

Hopefully Castro will die swiftly and his brother will also be overthrown (what is it with this monarchist like inherited leftwing dictatorship fetish? Kim Il Sung did it, Hafez Asad did it, now Castro?), and Cuba will become free.
However, when Castro dies I expect to see the local worshippers of authoritarianism come out and glorify him. The sort that pilloried (rightly) military dictatorships that once had US support, the sort that criticise Israel and the USA, the sort that only care about freedom of speech when it gives only them the freedom to speak.
UPDATE 1: A group called Appropriate Technology for Living Association Inc (ATLA) is sponsoring a film to be shown in Wellington about how Cuba "coped" with peak oil, which of course was not "peak oil", it was the end of "sugar daddy" the USSR giving it oil for nothing. Being dependent on something you get for free isn't exactly clever. However I am sure Cuba copes wonderfully without oil, after all since car ownership is exhorbitantly expensive (private car ownership threatens authoritarian regimes) and the government is totalitarian, not only can the Cuban government "make things happen", but it also writes the statistics and the outcomes, and if you dare criticise, woe betide you. The film of course was made with the consent of the authorities in Havana, ignoring the proverbial elephant in the room. The fact that anyone critical of the Cuban approach will face prison will be ignored - just like producing a film in the 1930s about the great German success in building autobahns ("but that's not environmentally sustainable" I hear some 14yo Greenie bleat). You see, you could go to Pyongyang, North Korea and make a film about how successful it is in keeping street crime low.

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