- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2005

HAVANA (AP)

About 200 intellect- tuals, activists and artists from Latin America and elsewhere issued a letter Monday urging the top human rights watchdog of the United Nations to side with Cuba in an expected battle over the communist country’s human rights record.

The letter said the U.S. government has no moral authority to criticize Cuba’s human rights record after its own scandals over treatment of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

A U.S.-backed resolution to condemn the island’s record usually is presented at every spring meeting in Geneva of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which this year began Monday and runs through April 22.

No resolution targeting the island has emerged, but Cuba expects such a proposal to be presented and considered in mid-April. Last year’s resolution passed by a vote of 22-21, with 10 abstentions.

Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina and Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala, signed the letter, as did South Africa’s Nadine Gordimer and Portugal’s Jose Saramago, both recipients of the Nobel Prize in literature.

Among American signatories were actor Danny Glover, author Alice Walker and historian and activist Howard Zinn.

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