Conflicts are solved with mercy, not with violence

Por Alejandro Tagliavini. Publicado en:


According to Scotland Yard, the recent arrest of Assange is due to a request for extradition from the US Government, that accuses him of a serious crime – with a penalty of five years in prison – against security: the publication, on the Wikileaks website, of thousands of classified documents of the Department of Defense, with the help of Chelsea Manning who worked at the Pentagon .

Persecuted by the Swedish justice for the alleged violation of two collaborators of Wikileaks in Stockholm, in 2010, the British courts granted Assange the provisional freedom, but he mocked them and British law imposes at least a year in prison for it, so he must first meet that penalty.

Everything indicates that Assange will spend the next months in a British cell. Then, he will remain behind bars until the process, of up to two years, to decide the extradition to the US concludes. In addition, the Swedish authorities may reopen the case that had been provisionally shelved.

Now, the basic problem in all this is that modern States are configured as the monopoly of violence over a territory, guaranteed by its military and police forces. And, precisely, the most efficient weapon against violence, the most efficient weapon for peace is information. How usefull is an army if a mosquito has enough data to advance their movements and escape or even neutralize it?

Thus, Assange or anyone who reveals information that guarantees peace, by neutralizing armies, is dangerous for the States that must deprive them of their freedom, not for them to be “reeducated” and return to society (no person can be redeemed if his freedom which is essential to his nature is taken away) but only so that he does not continue to work for peace.

But these monopolies of violence – the States – besides defending themselves from external “enemies”, have to be imposed internally, to collect taxes to begin so that they can survive. And so they have their police, and jails, to force people to comply with their “laws”, those arbitrarily dictated by politicians.

A few days ago, during the fifth Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis referred to the “episode of the adulterous woman” (v. Jn 8: 1-11). They contrast two attitudes: that of the scribes and Pharisees … and Jesus … The firsts want to condemn her, because they feel they are the guardians of the Law … Instead, Jesus wants to save her, because it embodies the mercy of God who, forgiving, redeems and reconciling renews. ”

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone against her” (verse 7). In this way, Jesus appeals to the conscience of those men: they felt “defenders of justice”, but he calls them to the conscience of their condition … they can not claim the right of life or death of another human… they all left, abandoning the stoning of the woman … God “does not want the death of the sinner, but to become and live” (v. Ez 33.11), ” continued Francis. And the woman left.

In the first place, States should stop criminalizing. For example, a high percentage of convicts in world prisons are due to drug trafficking. If these drugs -even if they are very harmful- were freer, as in Portugal, there would be many less imprisoned. So, if we do not want to take revenge, but rather the delinquent to continue with his life, we must consider that depriving him of his natural liberty is not an auspicious beginning.


Alejandro A. Tagliavini es ingeniero graduado de la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Ex Miembro del Consejo Asesor del Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California y fue miembro del Departamento de Política Económica de ESEADE.

Leader Berta Soler: Castro Fears Our Peaceful Dissent, Growing Ranks

Por Belén Marty: Publicado el 4/10/15 en:


Ladies in White Will Not Relent until All Political Prisoners Are Freed

Staring totalitarians straight in the eye, the Ladies in White fight on for human rights in Cuba.

Español“Welcome to Cuba, I hope you can tell the world what the human-rights situation is here.” This is how Berta Soler, leader of the pro-democracy group Ladies in White, greets us at the entrance of La Merced church in Havana.

Some 20 women stand next to her, ready to begin their weekly march to demand the Cuban regime release all political prisoners.

While the Castros boast of Cuba’s supposed world-class health-care system — even though these claims have been debunked several times — Soler contends the island functions as a giant prison for anyone who dares to speak his mind.

The human-rights activist spoke with the PanAm Post under the scorching Havana sun three days after Pope Francis visited the island. Several fellow Ladies in White and tourists linger around us, as well as others who look like they may be Cuban intelligence agents disguised as civilians.

María Cristina Labrada (left) and Berta Soler (right) march every Sunday to demand the release of political prisoners. (PanAm Post)

                                                                             Are those undercover police officers?

Of course. Some dress up as civilians, but we know who they are. In Cuba, one lives, feels, smells, looks, and speaks with fear.

What would you have told Pope Francis if you had met him during his visit?

I would have thanked him for visiting Cuba and blessing a country that is in dire need of it. I would have told him to advocate for the release of political prisoners on the island and pray for the freedom of Cubans. I would have asked him to condemn the Cuban regime for its police brutality, and demand religious freedom.

What are your thoughts on the young man who read a letter to the pope asking for respect for those who think differently?

That’s correct. He said many things, but to achieve them we need freedom. Otherwise, it’s impossible. The most important thing for the Cuban people is freedom. We know that the Holy Father won’t be Cuba’s liberator. He already knows what Cuba is like, because he knows Latin America.

We were hoping that he would say something to stop human-rights abuses. Over the last 22 consecutive weekends, the Cuban government has arrested us before or after each mass. Cardinal Jaime Ortega and the papal nuncio are aware of it, because we told them. Besides, everything is on social media. The internet shows what is going on.

Many exiled Cubans believe that the Ladies in White have failed to achieve change. What would you tell them?

Perseverance will someday pay off. For those who don’t understand it: the Cuban regime has the power and the strength, but the moral strength and the truth is on our side. In order to achieve something, you need to overcome many obstacles and undergo many negative things. Persistence and perseverance are worth it.

What does your organization have in store for the future?

We created Ladies in White on March 30, 2003, and we remain active. First, we demanded the release of the 75 Black Spring political prisoners, our beloved brothers. Then, we expanded our scope to demand freedom for all political prisoners and respect for human rights.

As long as the Cuban government continues to hold political prisoners, we are going to continue with our struggle. When Cuba eventually reaches democracy, we will focus on the children, and any other social aid that is needed.

Why has the government targeted your group if it is peaceful?

The regime is scared that people are still joining our group. Many of our members are ordinary people who joined us because they sympathize with those of us who have jailed relatives. They want a free, sovereign, and democratic Cuba.

The government knows that if we take to the streets, and they do nothing, many more women will join our cause.


Belén Marty es Lic. en Comunicación por la Universidad Austral. Actualmente cursa el Master en Economía y Ciencias Políticas en ESEADE. Conduce el programa radial “Los Violinistas del Titanic”, por Radio Palermo, 94,7 FM.

The Cuba Deal: Coexisting And Profiting With Tyrants:

Por Alejandro A. Chafuén. Publicado el 18/12/14 en:


We all celebrate when an innocent person is released from prison. The freedom of Alan Gross is welcome news. But the release of three convicted Cuban spies and operatives (who were directly responsible for the killing of other innocents), the continued lack of consultation by the administration with other branches of government and Congress, and the disregard for the unrelenting oppression of political freedoms are a high cost to pay.

The leading Cuban-Americans in the legislature, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-NJ), and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) released statements with scathing criticisms. Sen. Rubio stated that the deal was “disgraceful for a president who claims to treasure human rights and human freedom. This president is the single worst negotiator we have had in the White House in my lifetime.” The statement by Ros-Lehtinen complements Rubio’s criticism: “This misguided action by President Obama will embolden the Castro regime to continue its illicit activities, trample on fundamental freedoms, and disregard democratic principles.”

I spoke with several human rights and democracy advocates and all were strongly critical. Tony Guedes, leader of the Cuban Liberal Union, Unión Liberal Cubana, who lives in exile in Spain, is convinced that the policies just announced will help the Cuban communist regime and will delay the transition to a real democracy. Guedes believes that the announcements are connected with President Obama’s decision to attend the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Sen. Robert Menéndez, the Democrat who is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had strong words about this as well. He said, “I’m extraordinarily disappointed that we intend to violate our own principles, laid down in the Inter-American Democratic Charter in 2001, on the Summit being a forum for the hemisphere’s democratically-elected leaders.” According to Menéndez, the new actions on Cuba “disavows the Charter and sends a global message about the low priority we place on democracy and respect for human and civil rights.”
Unlike the above bipartisan critics, the leader of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed the new Cuban policy. Its CEO Tom Donohue stated that the “U.S. business community welcomes today’s announcement, and has long supported many of the economic provisions the president touched on in his remarks” and continued “the Chamber and its members stand ready to assist as the Cuban people work to unleash the power of free enterprise to improve their lives.”

Free enterprise indeed improves lives. Free trade also works wonders to bring people and countries together. But trade managed by communist oligarchs can hardly be defined as free trade. An economy where all the key decisions are made by men in uniform can’t be described as free enterprise. Echoing the Chamber, a powerful German think-tank, the Bertelsman Foundation, published a piece which concludes with a typical modern-day capitalist statement “who knows, maybe the US will be able to export a few more Che Guevara tee-shirts along the way.”

Fernando Menéndez, a Cuban expert of the Center for a Secure Free Society, noted that when making the announcement, President Raúl Castro—who had been wearing civilian clothes—donned his military uniform to send a signal of who still remains in power. Crony capitalism of the left, if that is an appropriate name for the Chinese model, might create huge opportunities for profits but, as we see in the current disputes in Hong Kong, it can also weaken the struggle for political freedoms and respect for human rights.

The decline in the price of oil was threatening Cuba with a reduction of the subsidy it receives from its sugar daddy: Venezuela. This deal was arranged because the Obama administration is struggling to create some positive legacies. It aims to get credit for reversing a policy, a stringent embargo, which on its own failed to bring down communism. The Pope and the Canadian government, mentioned as playing important roles, seek different benefits. Pope Francis sees opportunities for the Catholic bishops in Cuba who receive periodic permissions from the tyrants to expand their preaching and educational efforts.

Mainstream media also hails the role of Canada, whose government hosted and facilitated some of the negotiations. Canadians have less restrictions to travel and conduct business in Cuba. The U.S. sanctions and embargo certainly cause them headaches. The Canadian government has a pro-Western stance but it is not immune from the power of economic interests and these might trump concerns for political and human rights.
The economic crisis in Cuba resulting from the woes of Russia and Venezuela would have been a wonderful opportunity to demand true changes. Cuba is still listed as a State sponsor of terrorism. It could be delisted if it stopped meddling in other countries. Its major ally Venezuela would likely have to release its own political prisoners. Not yet. Unfortunately the potential of selling more Che Guevara T-shirts carried the day.



Alejandro A. Chafuén es Dr. En Economía por el International College de California. Licenciado en Economía, (UCA), es miembro del comité de consejeros para The Center for Vision & Values, fideicomisario del Grove City College, y presidente de la Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Se ha desempeñado como fideicomisario del Fraser Institute desde 1991. Fue profesor de ESEADE.