Cuban Lawmakers Denounce Arizona Immigration Law

Paul Haven, Google News, May 20, 2010

Cuban lawmakers have passed a resolution denouncing Arizona’s new immigration law as “racist and xenophobic,” recalling an old dispute in the process: the argument that the United States’ purchase of Arizona from Mexico in the 19th century was tantamount to theft.

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But the denunciation of the law by Cuban lawmakers, who called it a “brutal violation of human rights,” is sure to raise anger among U.S. backers of the law.

The tightly controlled, communist-run island has long been criticized for its human rights record, which includes the jailing of 200 political prisoners, the banning of a free press and the outlawing of opposition political parties.

Cuban citizens are required to carry identification with them wherever they go, and can be stopped by police and sent home if they are found in a part of the island where they don’t belong.

Havana bristles at criticism of its human rights record, saying its system provides deep food and housing subsidies, as well as free health care and education to all citizens, while capitalist countries are in the thrall of powerful corporations. It considers the dissidents to be paid mercenaries of Washington.

The lawmakers’ resolution, dated Wednesday and reprinted in the Communist Party daily Granma on Thursday, says the Arizona law “has a profound racist and xenophobic character, and permits police to use racial profiling.”

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The lawmakers said the Arizona measure “aims to close the doors on immigrants to territories that were stolen by force from the noble Mexican people.”

Mexico was forced to sell most of the territory that is now Arizona to the United States in 1848 following its defeat in the Mexican-American war. {snip}

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