Apparently, Cuba announced on 10 December – International Human Rights Day — its intention to sign the two most basic human rights treaties.
The two treaties — the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights — are both derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or UDHR (see UN-Truth here), adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948 at a meeting in Paris at the culmination of two years of intensive drafting work. The U.S. then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and a French diplomat were the two prime movers in those negotiations.
As the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights puts it,the UDHR, together with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [for full text see here], and its two Optional Protocols [see the first one here and the second one, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty here ], and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [for full text see here ], “form the so-called [sic] International Bill of Human Rights“.
Cuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque, looking very relaxed and confident in the photos that accompanied the news story, was at UNHQ/NY for the brief signing ceremony. At a news conference later, he said, according to the Associated Press, that “Cuba was signing the covenants now because the UN Human Rights Commission — which he claimed the U.S. used for ‘brutal pressure and blackmail’ against Cuba — had been ‘defeated’ in what he called ‘a historic victory for the Cuban people’.”
The AP reported that Perez Roque stated “that Cuba would later specify some reservations about treaty provisions”, and the AP noted that in 2001, Fidel Castro criticized the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights, saying it “could serve as a weapon and a pretext for imperialism to try to divide and fracture the workers, create artificial unions, and decrease their political and social power and influence.”
At the news conference, the AP reported, Cuban Foreign Minister was asked by journalists “whether Fidel’s opposition to parts of the two covenants, including the right to form independent trade unions, had changed now that Raul is president, Perez Roque said no. He reiterated that Cuba would later specify some reservations about treaty provisions … A statement Cuba submitted when it signed the two treaties said its constitution and laws ‘guarantee the effective realization and protection of these rights for all Cubans’, but also stressed that the government would register ‘reservations or interpretative declarations it considers relevant’… According to this Cuban statement submitted at the signing, the United States’ economic embargo [which has been in place 46 years] and hostility to Cuba’s communist government ‘constitutes the most serious obstacle to the enjoyment by the Cuban people of the rights protected by the covenants’.” This AP report is published here.