Sri Lanka Gov. “War Criminal” Promoted by Cuba’s Prensa Latina

December 31, 2013 |

By Ron Ridenour*

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G. I. Peiris.  Foto: PL

Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G. I. Peiris. Foto: PL

HAVANA TIMES — “Sri Lanka is fully able to undertake the tasks set out by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to guarantee the rights of its citizens”, Foreign Minister G. I. Peiris told Prensa Latina in an interview by Alberto Salazar, published by Prensa Latina December 26 this year.

The LLRC is a commission appointed by the Sinhalese Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into any possible wrong doing that government forces are accused of having committed in the last months of the civil war between it and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Tamil Eelam is an idea for a sovereign state desired by the vast majority of the Tamil minority. Critics of the Sinhalese government, which includes most Tamils in and out of Sri Lanka, view the LLRC as a white wash of government war crimes, and the seizure of Tamil lands, homes and businesses.

Upwards to 100,000 Tamils were killed in this civil war; some 40,000 in its final few weeks. There are as many dead, disappeared and in exile as the two million remaining in Sri Lanka.

The Cuban international news agency does not state why it interviewed the spokesman for the Sri Lankan government accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity by United Nations high authorities and its special panel of experts, in 2010, as well as by international human rights organizations, including the Bertrand Russell and John Paul Sartre created Peoples Permanent Tribunal.

PL simply lets the Sinhalese spokesperson speak unchallenged. PL did comment that the last two UN Human Rights Council resolutions have called upon Sri Lanka to speed up reconciliation with Tamils, but downplayed its significance by stating that only Western countries (that is, capitalist giants US-EU) sought an international independent investigation.

Firstly, that is not true. The Western countries only ask Sri Lanka to comply with its own LLRC commission’s request for slight reforms that would not allow equality and redemption for Tamils. Secondly, a majority of Latin American and other “third world” governments voted for the slightly critical UN resolution alongside Western governments.

From the beginning of Sri Lankan independence from Britain, in 1947, and for 30 years the Tamil people struggled peacefully to obtain equal rights with the majority Sinhalese, asking simply that their language and religions be recognized on an equal plane, that they be allowed to obtain education and jobs equally with Sinhalese.

They were met with legalized discrimination and murderous pogroms. Some Tamil youth took up arms, in the late 1970s, and a civil war ensued for three decades until the Tamil forces were defeated in May 2009. One of the long term and key war suppliers for Sri Lanka’s military is Israel, as is the US, UK, India, and more recently China, Iran, and Pakistan.

At the time of Tamils’ defeat, Cuba led the majority members on the Human Rights Council in praising Sinhalese Sri Lanka for its “humanitarian” efforts and for defeating “terrorism and separatism”. It made no mention of war crimes and continuous human rights abuses committed by Sri Lanka governments and its military forces over decades, the internment of hundreds of thousands of civilian Tamils, routine rape, disappearances, torture, murder   and mutilations of Tamils, the seizure of their homes, businesses, and temples in their traditional homeland, which continues to this day.
See more at: www.havanatimes.org/?p=56447

The Peoples Permanent Tribunal found Sri Lanka guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes, in 2010, and is currently investigating assertions by Tamils that they are subject to genocide. The United Nations expert panel on the matter found grounds for an independent international court investigation into these assertions. Sri Lanka rejects all these initiatives and is supported by the Cuban government, once the vanguard of internationalism.

As Tamils in exile were gathering forces in 2009-10, they were surprised and disconcerted that Cuba and other new progressive governments in Latin America sided with Sri Lanka at the May 2009 sessions of the Human Rights Council. Not only did these leftist governments take sides against the guerrilla movement but also against the Tamil population’s survival interests.

“Tamils always looked upon Fidel and Che as heroes,” Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran told me. “Our people are shocked by Cuba’s position since May 2009. Perhaps it is due to poor communication. We want to send a delegation to Cuba, to Venezuela and other ALBA [Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Latin America] governments to explain our position and to engage in dialogue.”

Rudrakumaran is Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), and a prominent activist in the Diaspora. ( See more at: www.havanatimes.org/?p=52152

“Those who are exploited are our compatriots all over the world; and the exploiters all over the world are our enemies.” Fidel Castro told Lee Lockwood in “Castro’s Cuba, Cuba’s Fidel”. (See more at: www.havanatimes.org/?p=72890
—–
(*) Ron Ridenour worked for eight years in Cuba for Prensa Latina and the Editorial Jose Marti publishers.  The journalist and author has published six books on Cuba and one on the Tamils “Tamil Nation in Sri Lanka” as well as several others. He lives in Denmark. See his website at www.ronridenour.com

 

Share this:

What's your opinion?

  • Stel En

    Tamils were brought in to work in tobacco farms in jaffna. tamils are Indian citizens. Not real Indians but tamils

    • Rajah2000

      Please learn some history before commenting. The tamils have been in Sri-Lanka for millenia and are the true natives of the country. The Hindu temples across the country with ancient Tamil inscriptions including in the deep Sinhalese South attest to their ancient presence. The Kathirgama temple in the deep south is excellent evidence of this. Kathirgama is a temple for Muruga, the patron diety of the tamils. This temple is visited by all peoples including the majority Sinhalese. The temple has ancient tamil inscriptions in it. If tamils were brought to work in tobacco farms in Jaffna, the Northern tip of Sri-Lanka, how in the world did a tamil temple exist in the Southern tip for centuries? The Sinhalese chronicles of their history, the Mahavamsa, which the Sinhalese themselves believe to be their true history states that the Sinhalese are decendents of the an exiled prince from East India who came to the island a thousand years ago. This is why the Sinhalese script matches the script of the languages of East India. So it is the Sinhalese who migrated to the island, not the tamils. All colonial powers that colonized Sri-Lanka including those before the British have chronicled the existence of a large and powerful tamil presence on the island.

      • Saman

        Lies lies and more lies.The original natives are veddhas.Then Sinhalese arrived in 6th century BC and created the amazing Sinhala Buddhist civilization of the island.Tamil migration only starts from 2nd century BC as traders.Then as countless Tamil invasions from south india.A lot of Tamils living in the northeast ARE tobacco planters imported by colonial powers.Not a single ancient Tamil inscription has been found anywhere in sri lanka.Show/point to any if you can.

      • Stel En

        I am an Englishman. I know for a fact that tamils were taken from Tamil Nadu to work in tobacco farrms in Jaffna

    • Lord Shiva

      You are simply a hate criminal writing propaganda without any facts.

  • Mr Rational

    I think Ron was on crack when he wrote this article. Sri Lanka suffered a protracted terrorist insurgency and not civil war mister. Total human cost from both sides account to 100,000 from both ends until June 2008. Suddenly from thin air the Tamil Tiger Diaspora pulls out the number 40,000 and frames the Sri Lankan forces who include Tamils,Muslims,Christians,Catholics and the Sinhalese.

    My question is, how much were you paid to write this stinking article you twat.

    • Thaliyasingham

      Insurgency arose because of constant discrimination of Tamils, Mr Rational. Therefore the Sinhalese leaders are the cause not the normal Sinhalese masses.

      • John

        Constant discrimination my foot ! All that happened was redressing the balance in terms of jobs and privileges for the Sinhalese majority since the leaving of the British colonials, who had engineered most of these problems around the world for their advantage.

    • Rajah2000

      Mr. Rational, the tamil diaspora did not pull out 40,000. Even if they did, why should anyone believe them? The 40,000 number has been used in the UN reports as well as by the current ruling party of the Northern Province, the TNA. Thee UN as well as the diaspora has asked Sri-Lanka to prove that the number is incorrect – simple proof: a non-biased international investigation. Since you are Rational, surely that is the rational way of approaching things right? Independent analysis of facts. What are you afraid of? The truth? With regards to your claims of a terrorist insurgency as opposed to civil-war, where do the anti-tamil riots of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s stand in this terrorist insurgency? There was not a single act of violence by the tamils then – so what were these riots if not the precursors of a civil-war? Better change your name to Mr. Biased-Lies, not Mr. Rational.

    • puniselva

      It was ‘bloodbath” after the UN was ordered out in September 2008 till the end in May 2009

    • puniselva

      Jayantha Dhanapala’s submission to Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), 25 August 2010: ‘’The lessons we have to learn go back to the past – certainly from the time that we had responsibility for our own governance on 4 February 1948. Each and every Government which held office from 1948 till the present bear culpability for the failure to achieve good governance, national unity and a framework of peace, stability and economic development in which all ethnic, religious and other groups could live in security and equality.Our inability to manage our affairs has led to the taking of arms by a desperate group of our citizens. We need to rectify this bad governance and the first and foremost task before us is to undertake constitutional reform in order to ensure that we have adequate devolution of power. We need to have State reform; we need to have rule of law established; we need to ensure non discrimination amongst our citizens; we need to have devolution of power and a tolerance of dissent and a strengthening of democratic institutions” (Dhanapala is a Sinhalese and a former UN Under-Secretary General. Many more conscientious Sinhalese retired diplomats made similar statements to LLRC. – http://www.scribd.com/doc/104705097/Conscientious-Sinhalese-Tell-LLRC

  • Sri Lankan

    Seriously, “Sinhalese Sri Lankan President”? Ron, do you call Obama, “Black American President”? You are totally misguided and then you like to be viewed as a pandit! So you just throw in your mere thoughts as pure facts! Tamil is a very large nation and ‘Tamil Elam’ is used ONLY by Sri Lankan Tamils. Sri Lankan Tamils are different from Indian Tamils. Please note that in Sri Lanka 11% of the population is Sri Lankan Tamils who migrated to SL since 12th century AC. They have heavily mixed with Sinhalese and genetically very close to Sinhalese than to Indian Tamils – do your own research. Indian Tamils make up about 4% of the population is Indian Tamils, who were brought by the British to work in the hill country tea estates. Many were later given Sri Lankan citicenship and now live in Sri Lanka. So the Tamil Elam is an aspriation of SL Tamil expats and 11% of Sri Lankan population.
    Also an important point to note is that majority of Sri Lankan Tamils live in the Southern Sri Lanka in majority Sinhalese areas. For instance the majority in the capital Colombo is Tamils and Muslims – NOT sinahalese! Most of the businesses in major cities like Colombo and Kandy are run by minorities, NOT by Sinhalese.
    As most of the world issues, racism and wars are problems created by ploticians for mere short term political gains. As a Sri Lankan I know how people feel about each other but politicians create the problems – both local and foreign. Meanwhile journalists with political agendas or lack of rationality fuel these political issues… Ron your article shows where you fit in.

  • haramanis

    THIS WRITER SEEMS TO BE AN AGENT OF U.S. AND PAID BY PRO LTTE TAMIL TIGER TERRORIST GROUP IN THE DIASPORA WHO ARE TRYING TO ESTABLISH A U.S. NAVY BASE IN SRI LANKA. IF THEY COULD SEPERATE TINY ISLAND NATION. THIS ARTICLE DIRECTLY LINKED AND INDICATE HIS INTENTIONS AND CONNECTIONS.

  • Stel En

    Tamils were brought in by English to work in tobacco farms. This is not very good

  • Lord Shiva

    Cuba should be isolated by the international community and travel ban to Communist Cuba should be made by all democratic nations including Canada.

    Cuban regime by its actions exposes disrespect to humanity and mankind!