Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Keeping up the pressure

The Greens are keeping up the pressure over the government's position on Guantanamo, with Keith Locke planning to raise the matter in today's General Debate. His speech is up on Scoop already:

Yesterday the European Parliament, by a large majority, called for the closure of the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. Earlier this year I had a similar Guantanamo Bay motion on the Order Paper, but Labour vetoed our having a debate on it in the House. I would like my fellow MPs to become a little bolder on this important matter and risk offending the Bush administration, because there is hardly a Parliament in the world where the majority of MPs are not for the closure of Guantanamo Bay.

It will be interesting to see how the other parties respond, and I'll be trawling Hansard later to see whether any rise to the challenge. But somehow I suspect they'll focus on other parts of the speech, or simply call him a communist...


While we're on the topic of the Greens ... how is it that they oppose a free-trade arrangement between NZ and China, but support one between the US and Cuba?

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 6/21/2006 03:36:00 PM

ha ha ha, I/S the last line of your post combined with duncans comments is halarious. Comedy writers couldnt do better.


Posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2006 05:06:00 PM

I'd rather see Locke end his support for imperialism in this part of the world by changing his mind about the recolonisation of the Solomons. Rove Prison in Honiara is the Guantanamo Bay of the South Pacific.

Posted by maps : 6/21/2006 07:37:00 PM

The Cuba thing is a red herring. If the NZ government ever had any diplomatic links or exchanges with Cuba I'd want them to raise the issue of human rights; but to my knowledge they don't. On the other hand we have deep diplomatic links with the US on a number of levels, so it's morally incumbent on us to use these links to apply our (admittedly small) leverage on them to respect human rights.

As for this being motivated by the Green's anti-capitalism, that's never stopped them protesting the Communist government of China's annexation of Tibet and other misdeeds.

- Ranald

Posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2006 11:14:00 PM

And just to see it said: congratulations to Mr Locke on consistantly doing the right thing here, as limited as his time and effort is bound to be.

Posted by tussock : 6/22/2006 12:31:00 AM

The question here is not whether countries x, y or z could do better wrt. human rights (and see I/S's comments about the state of Aboriginal communities in a more recent post) but whether Guantanomo Bay - which has considerable international profile - is an abomination.

The issue of Cuba (or China or any other country for that matter) is distinct, although not unrelated. And if health is envisioned as a human right, then Cuba is doing well in at least one area (again, contrast with Aboriginal communities in Australia).

Posted by dc_red : 6/22/2006 08:16:00 AM

So, Duncan.. if NZ is highly concerned about the governance of the Solomons, the most productive policy would be massive economic embargo and international isolation?
Unless and until there is some attempt to normalise relations with Cuba on the part of the US administration there is minimal chance of change.
The current US policy is simple economic bullying for purpose of creating a convenient domestic scapegoat, and surprise, surprise, it serves to keep Castro in power.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2006 09:07:00 AM


No. I don't think trade embargoes achieve anything except causing harm to the victims of oppressive Governments. Specifically, I support free trade between all countries, including the US, Cuba, China, and NZ.

I also don't think the NZ Government should be involved in the Solomons, as it doesn't further our interests as a nation in any way.

Private charity & aid? Sure. But not aid with Government - read, taxpayers - money, and certainly not troops.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 6/22/2006 10:41:00 AM

I don't think trade embargoes generally achieve anything useful either.. my point (in answer to your first post) is it would hardly be useful of the Greens to be protesting about human rights abuses in Cuba, so long as the west perpetuates an embargo that is at least as abusive to Cuba's general population, and is serving to further the political situation there.
But of course, that logic didn't stop western hypocrisy about Iraq..

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2006 01:22:00 PM

"doesn't further our interests as a nation".

That seems like a fairly short term perspective. By the same token would you agree that overseas aid doesn't further our interests as a nation?

Defining 'interests' over a longer term will give our descendants a better world to live in, and the knowledge of that gives me pleasure, ie is in my interest.

Moreover defining interests over a longer term is the only way we can prevent the earth from changing massively, and allow human civilisation to continue in roughly its present form.

As a little aside, if our grandparents hadn't acted against their own short-term interest, you'd be speaking Japanese right use the excrutiatingly bad cliche.

Sorry to have an off topic rant at someone's stupidity, but, well, it was a really really dumb thing to say.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/22/2006 02:04:00 PM