Saturday, March 11, 2006

Quotes of the Year

The publicity brought on the WBC and Cuba, by a lone Cuban exile at the Hiram Bithorn stadium has been a Godsend. Cuban official Angel Iglesias le salio el tiro por la culata. In what he hoped would be the thwaring of dissent Cuban style, has resulted in the greatest show of the lack of freedom of speech in Cuba. He got exactly the the reverse of what he was looking for, and in the end even got a lecture on free speech.

Hence this incident has given us the best two quotes involving news about Cuba, and to add to their impact, both quotes are from non-Cubans, in this case Puerto Rico Police officers. The first quote is from Col. Adalberto Mercado, who after removing Iglesias from the stadium said:
``We explained to him that here the constitutional right to free expression exists and that it is not a crime"
After the incident, the Cubans threatened to withdraw from the tournament, and requested assurances that no other political signs would be allowed in the stadium. Local organizers of the tournament responded by banning posters of a political nature, but a top police official said his officers would not enforce the ban. Chief of Puerto Rico Police, Pedro Toledo had this to say:
``I have been clear that here there is freedom of expression and the police of Puerto Rico will not interfere at any time with any type of expression''
I've never had more respect for Pedro Toledo and the police of Puerto Rico as I do at this moment, for not bowing to the pressures of a foreign government and their attempts to impose their communist and totalitarian view violating the civil rights of freedom of expression of Puerto Ricans and Cuban exiles alike.

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