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An interpellation debate on the case of the Cuban Five was held on December 9th in the Swedish Parliament. For the second time, Torbjörn Björlund, MP for the Left Party, addressed the Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt, with the question of whether the Swedish government intends to proceed in any way in favor of the case. During the course of the debate, Torbjörn Björlund wore a yellow ribbon with a pin showing the logo of Five (designed by Gerardo Hernández), and when the debate had finished, he handed over the ribbon and pin to Minister Carl Bildt.
As in the first interpellation debate on this case (held on September 12th), the position defended by Carl Bildt was to take no action regarding the Cuban Five. He reiterated his firm belief in the legal system of the U.S. A position that when it comes to the case of the Cuban Five is not shared by Wayne Smith, former Chief of Mission of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General, and former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Carl Bildt’s position also contrasts with the reports from Amnesty International and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the Commission on Human Rights of the UN.
In the presence of several attendants to the debate, Carl Bildt persisted in an arrogant attitude which is in total agreement with his notorious tendency to try to please the imperial power of U.S.
His interlocutor, Torbjörn Björlund, questioned the actions of the Swedish government based on facts from our immediate reality: the growing number of revelations about how U.S. acts in terms of interceptions in the world and the increasingly apparent unilateral decisions on issues of rule of law, human rights, the right of peoples and international law.
We have chosen to share with you some of the arguments stated by Torbjörn Björlund:
“The case of the “Cuban Five” is in constant development, and more and more people are protesting against the way these five prisoners have been treated. The reality both within and outside the U.S. is different than the one described by Carl Bildt. In the news yesterday they spoke about surveillance exerted by U.S. worldwide. There is growing evidence of what the U.S. is doing and how they are doing it. I wonder whether the U.S. follows the right of peoples and international law. Moreover the question arises about the role of Sweden, which is a very annoying issue. I have not seen any response or comment from the Minister about it, and I guess it will not appear either.”
“In the case of the “Cuban Five” there are reports on the events both from the UN and Amnesty International. The reports are good, and criticism is strong about the way U.S. has treated this case legally. Considering the actual situation it is even more important than ever to find out what happens in the U.S. in the internal legal management, and what happens outside the U.S. in the management directed to other countries. Everything is interrelated, and should come out into the open.”
“This is the essence: Why does the Swedish government react to abuses by other countries against their own citizens, while there is no reaction to the abuses by the U.S.? I think this is the crux of my questioning: Why do we have a Foreign Minister and a government that use blinkers, and even earplugs, in some contexts but not in others? Why is it so easy to criticize some countries but not the U.S.? Why is the U.S. so special for this government? One can only speculate… But I would like a response from Carl Bildt: Why is it so difficult to criticize the U.S. when violations occur?”
Swedish Free the Five Committee