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Questionable arguments on the Cuban detainee issue

Published: Sep 03, 2013

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Dear Editor,

According to one dictionary, a fallacy is a mistake and a logical fallacy is a mistake in reasoning. Some Bahamians have failed to make one iota of sense in their position on the Cuban detainee crisis.

After Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis alleged that five Cuban detainees were abused by the guards at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre in May, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell called on him to apologize for siding with outsiders against The Bahamas. Instead of focusing solely on the shocking and disturbing allegations, the good minister engaged in an argumentum ad hominem by placing Minnis and the FNM in his cross hairs.

I understand that a particular radio talk show host, who is a known Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) supporter, along with his listening audience who is no doubt in the PLP’s corner, had a field day lambasting Minnis. There are some Bahamians who have rationalized what allegedly occurred to the Cuban detainees at the hands of Bahamian guards by saying that Cubans are treated much worse in their homeland by the Castro regime. According to them, why are these Cubans making all this hoopla over a beating they allegedly received at the detention center when they are systematically tortured and killed by Fidel Castro?

Some of these folks have also pointed out that no matter what U.S. troops are accused of doing in a foreign country, the U.S. government and the Americans give their men the benefit of the doubt by standing behind them. I beg to differ. A U.S. military jury recently sentenced Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to life in prison without the chance for parole for murdering 16 Afghans in 2012. Rather than rally to Bales’ side, the U.S. government punished him for his wrongdoing. It didn’t seek to cover up his wrong, to rationalize it or to quantify it.

That the communist government of Cuba has an horrendous human rights record cannot be denied by anyone, including the Cuban protest group Democracy Movement. Cuban non-conformists are tortured, arbitrarily imprisoned and murdered by the Castro regime. Moreover, freedom of expression and opposition activities are suppressed. The same thing can be said of China, North Korea and Russia. Informed persons are well aware of what goes on in Castro’s Cuba. But this should not be used as an excuse to salve our guilty conscience or to rationalize away what had allegedly transpired at the detention center with the Cuban immigrants. To do so would be to quantify evil.

No person in their right mind expects much of the Castro regime as it relates to humanitarian laws and human rights. After all, Cuba is ruled by a communist dictatorship regime which promotes the incoherent belief system of atheism. Due to the fact that all human beings have an innate desire for freedom, it comes as no surprise that the Castro brothers have resorted to using brute force in order to keep a firm grip on the reins of power.

The Bahamas is a constitutional, parliamentary democracy. Our democracy is among the healthiest and most vibrant in the entire world. Human rights are respected in this country. It is for these reasons that I don’t expect any Bahamian or foreigner to be abused or for them to have their human rights violated by the state. I expect more of The Bahamian people and their government. Therefore, to compare Cuba with The Bahamas is like comparing apples and oranges. And to justify what allegedly happened to the Cuban detainees by alluding to the atrocities that are committed by the Castro brothers is a logical fallacy.

– Kevin Evans

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