Award to the Cuban dictator
An open letter from the SebastopolHumanRightsProtection Group
Leonid Kuchma, President of Ukraine
Boris Tarasiuk, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Revered Mr. President!
Respected Mr. Minister!
A message made public yesterday by mass media forced us to turn to you. The message reads that the Cuban leader Fidel Castro was given a state award — the order of Yaroslav Mudry of the first degree.
We have no objections to the official motives of this step of the Ukrainian government, and we acknowledge the great help given to Ukraine by Cuba, when the latter took for cure the Ukrainian children who suffered in the Chernobyl catastrophe. Nonetheless, we regard the decision to award Fidel Castro as erroneous and damaging the international authority of Ukraine, since it can be interpreted as support of Castros regime. In our opinion, an admissible form of expressing our gratitude could be not awarding the head of the state, but some other acts of economic, humanitarian or other character dealing with the Cuban people.
You cannot help knowing about terrible violations of human rights which are systematically carried out in Cuba. The dictatorial regime of Castro transformed Cuba to an island of prisons. Political repressions, persecution of dissidents, a continuous flow of refugees — all these are real features of the present Cuba. We must also remark that the President of Ukraine continues the shameful Soviet practice of handing out state orders, prizes, etc. This is a sure way to discredit Ukrainian state awards. We believe that any person, for whom democratic principles and human rights are not empty words, may not wear the same order as the Cuban dictator.
Basing on the principle of the restricted sovereignty of a state and bearing in mind that violation of human rights is not the internal affair of one country, the Sebastopol human rights protection group condemns the decision of the Ukrainian government about awarding Fidel Castro with the state order of Ukraine.
With the feeling of anxiety
Roman Romanov, Executive Director of Sebastopol human rights protection group