Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former Democratic state senator, ordered the Cuban flag hoisted above the New York state flag flying over Brooklyn Borough Hall, and equated suppression in the island nation to that in the United States.
The symbolic gesture was a way for Adams to celebrate diplomatic relations with the communist nation being re-opened under President Obama.
Via the Observer:
“Today, as we gather together at the steps of Brooklyn Hall, and watch the raising of the Cuban flag, not only do we celebrate the restored diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Cuba, but we also celebrate the changes that brings to the Cuban people, and how we hope to assist them as they move forward as a country,” he continued.
The borough president said he had no issue flying the colors of a nation where freedom of press and assembly are curtailed, political dissidents are arbitrarily arrested and do not enjoy due process rights, rival political parties are forbidden from campaigning, gay marriage is illegal and where LGBT persons were until relatively recently deported or placed in labor camps. Mr. Adams instead highlighted the indignities and abuses many Americans suffer, seeming to suggest an equivalency.
“If you can show me one country that doesn’t have issues, if you can show me one country where innocent people are not shot by police officers, if you can show me one country where people are having issues being displaced from their home because of the cost of rent, if you can show me one country where people are not receiving adequate legal protection because of over-proliferation of prisons in their country, then I would say we cannot fly a flag over Borough Hall,” he said. “But until we can rid all countries of that, we cannot challenge one country only. We are all in this together.”
Adams is best known as the state senator who pushed for the hiring of a convicted sex offender and another aide who was arrested on domestic violence charges in 2009.
Adams’s sentiments echo those of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who upon visiting the nation to open trade negotiations, said he admires how the Cuban government handles the media. During that same visit, while Cuomo was posing for photo ops, sixty dissidents were arrested in the capital of Havana for holding up images of others arrested before them.
Independent media watchdog Freedom House describes Cuba’s relationship with the press thus:
Cuba has the most restrictive laws on free speech and press freedom in the Americas. The constitution prohibits private ownership of media outlets and allows free speech and journalism only if they “conform to the aims of a socialist society.” Article 91 of the penal code imposes lengthy prison sentences or death for those who act against “the independence or the territorial integrity of the state,” and Law 88 for the Protection of Cuba’s National Independence and Economy imposes up to 20 years in prison for committing acts “aimed at subverting the internal order of the nation and destroying its political, economic, and social system.”
With regard to same-sex marriage, something Democrats like Cuomo are strong advocates for, Cuba has no anti-discrimination laws currently regarding the provision of goods and services, nor against hate speech against particular groups. But ir does have a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage.
Yet, Democrats like Eric Adams and Cuomo are perfectly fine with how Cuba handles the press and gays.
Now their flag flies high to prove their support.
Cross-posted at the Mental Recession