Commentary. The Trump administration is poised to walk back its predecessor’s opening to Cuba because of “human rights” — but the U.S. president has no such qualms about Saudi Arabia.

‘Double standards’: the U.S. plan to isolate Cuba

“Talk about double standards,” Henrique López Oliva, a religious historian, said bitterly. He was referring to the recent statement of the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.

She regretted that countries like Venezuela and Cuba are part of the Council for Human Rights (DdHh) and accused the multilateral forum of having become the “refuge” of dictatorships who use it to attempt to clean up their “brutality.”

And not just that, López Oliva continued, citing data provided in his blog by journalist Fernando Ravsberg, he pointed out the ridiculousness of such a statement from a country whose president chose to make his first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia and, in addition to sell $110 billion of the latest U.S. weapons, was portrayed hugging and kissing monarchs and princes.

The same people who for years have deployed their U.S.-made planes to bomb Yemen, hitting schools, factories, hospitals, bridges, mosques and causing — according to Amnesty International — 3,500 civilians dead and more than 6,000 injured.

The U.S. ambassador, in fact, must be familiar with the data provided by Amnesty International, about the fact that Saudi Arabia applied the death penalty against 350 people since 2013. This figure includes the 47 people executed in January, including the Shiite Sheikh Nimr al Nimr.

And the fact that “all the people [in Saudi Arabia] who have worked independently in the defense of human rights have been imprisoned, silenced with heavy threats or forced to leave the country.”

Not to mention the rights of Saudi women, who cannot drive a car and must have the permission of a man in order to travel.

But the professor says that, according to Havana’s evaluation, the Cuban people see very little humor in the ambassador’s statements. As a matter of fact, the defense of human rights is one of the reasons bandied about by the White House for the “revision” of the United States’ policy toward Cuba, which, after months of anticipations and threats, should be made public by President Donald Trump in the next few days.

So, to defend the human rights of Cubans, U.S. citizens may be subject to new restrictions on their right to travel to the island as tourists if they want to. Restrictions on trade with the island, which were abolished by Barack Obama, would be reintroduced. These are part of that unilateral embargo — still in force — decided by the United States more than 50 years ago with the goal (among other things) “to starve the Cuban people.” It’s just about human rights.

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