From: "Compa~ero" <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 21:27:30 -5
THE U.S. government has refused to authorize the attendance of approximately 1000 young delegates at the 14th World Festival of Youth and Students in Havana.
This is the only country in the world where the authorities, once again flying in the face their own constitution, have adopted such a rigid position, while Havana has been receiving the youth of some 125 nations.
The White House's attitude is incomprehensible to many people, while others call it as a clear symptom of a fear that the nation's younger citizens will use a tribunal of this magnitude to expose the grave problems affecting them behind the smiling masquerade of the American way of life.
Those who fail to understand Washington's action are posing various questions: for example, when some people over there are claiming that Cuban youth is an ideologically "vulnerable" sector, why attempt to prevent U.S. youth from relating directly and en masse with this sector?
In this case, who really fears the exchange of ideas? Who is really restricting freedom of expression? Who is failing to respect the sacred human rights of young people? How is it possible that the dwellers in the "inferno" can act freely and the reverse is the case in "paradise"?
In an encounter such as this, Washington can no longer use the excuse that "Moscow has a hand" in its planning, or the outworn argument that it falls into the category of "threatening U.S. national security," leaving it with no alternative other than brute force.
On the contrary, in spite of the major obstacles the U.S. blockade imposes on its national life, Cuba is not afraid to open its doors to thousands of young people from around the world with the most varied ideas, and to encourage unrestricted and public discussions on various issues of concern to them all.
The island has once again confirmed that it does not shrink from submitting its freely and independently chosen economic, political and social alternative to public examination, not because it considers it to be perfect, but because it perceives that system as incomparably just.
The representatives of the world's youth have here complete freedom of expression to present their points of view, in agreement or discrepancy, within a fraternal, festive and cultural environment and guided by an optimism and faith in the possibility changing the contemporary world in order to make it a better place.
The U.S. government does not want its youth to participate in this event. Festival delegates have been denied visas and threatened with tough sanctions if they rebel against that decision. Nonetheless, a substantial representation of U.S. youth has arrived here.
Once again, persistent concrete facts are contradicting the sugary language in which Washington wraps concepts of democracy, human rights, freedom of movement and other constitutional guarantees.