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GREATEST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN COMMUNISTS COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE USSR AND CHINA

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GREATEST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN COMMUNISTS COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE USSR AND CHINA

Mensaje por El Compañero el Vie Jun 27, 2008 12:10 pm

What were the greatest abuses of Communist regimes outside of the USSR and China?

Deadly slave labor camps, man-made famine, and mass executions have played a major role in almost every Communist state. It is not possible to discuss each country's experience in detail here. Rather, this section limits itself to a brief examination of other Communist nations guilty of at least 1 million killings in cold blood.

Poland and Czechoslovakia

Racism and Communism can be quite compatible. During World War II, Stalin ordered the deportation of entire nations deemed disloyal: Crimean Tatars, Chechens, Meskhetians, Kalmyks, and ethnic Germans. Russia's German- speaking minority was deported to Siberia early in the war. As Stalin's forces pushed further westward into non-Soviet territory, Stalin found new reservoirs of ethnic Germans under his dominion. Some were taken east as slave laborers; others were expelled west as penniless refugees. After the Red Army had done its work, provisional governments dominated by native Communists - especially in Poland and Czechoslovakia - decided that Stalin's treatment of ethnic Germans had been too lenient.

Even before World War II, Czechoslovakia had a German minority of about 25% of its population. Poland's pre-war ethnic German population was less substantial, but by joint Allied decision Poland's western border was pushed westwards to "compensate" for Soviet annexations on Poland's eastern border. The Communist-dominated governments of Czechoslovakia and Poland decided to expel these ethnic Germans en masse, after expropriating them of almost all their property, with full knowledge that in the harsh post-war conditions large numbers of the refugees would not survive. Out of about 12 million ethnic Germans living within the new borders of Poland and Czechoslovakia, about 11 million were expelled. Of these, about 1.5 million perished of hunger, exposure, and other deadly post-war conditions. Were their deaths merely poetic justice, as many people then and since have thought? Historian Alfred-Maurice de Zayas answers no:

All victims of injustice deserve our respect. The crimes committed by the Nazis and Soviets against the Poles in the years 1939 to 1945 move us to essential identification with them. The merciless revenge that poured over the entire German civilian population of Eastern Europe, in particular in those sad years of the expulsions from 1945 to 1948, should also awaken compassion, for in either case the common people - farmers and industrial workers, the rich and the poor - all were the victims of politics and of politicians... Every crime is reprehensible, regardless of the nationality of its victim - or of the victimizer. (Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, A Terrible Revenge: The Ethnic Cleansing of the

East European Germans, 1944-1950)

It is far easier to blame Communist ideology for man-made famines than for the terrible revenge post-war governments in Poland and Czechoslovakia exacted against their German minorities. Yet there is a real connection. On the theoretical level, Stalin had set the precedent for imputing collective guilt to "counter-revolutionary" ethnicities as well as "counter-revolutionary" social classes, when he ordered the deportations of Volga Germans, Chechens, Kalmyks, Crimean Tatars, and other nationalities (see Robert Conquest, The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities). On the practical level, expropriating the German minority gave the provisional Czech and Polish governments a stockpile of wealth with which to buy support. Moreover, the chaos of the expulsion period helped the Communists to crush internal opposition.

Communist Poland and Czechoslovakia also killed along standard Communist lines. Execution of anti-Communists and dissidents, as well as internal Party purges were significant, particularly during the remaining years of Stalin's rule. The deaths of the expelled German minority, however, made up the greater portion of the blood on the hands of Communist Poland and Communist Czechoslovakia.

Vietnam



Ho Chi Minh, the long-lived dictator of North Vietnam, was a loyal Stalinist throughout his life. He attended the founding congress of the French Communist Party in 1920, acquired a revolutionary education in Moscow during the early 20's, and served as a Comintern advisor in China until 1927. During World War II, he fought the Japanese in China and in Vietnam, proclaiming himself leader of a provisional government in 1945. His following at this stage was still small, but over the course of a nine-year guerrilla war against the French, Ho crushed internal opposition in order to make himself the Stalin of Vietnam:

As the Viet Minh struggled against the French, they also fought a vicious hidden war against their noncommunist nationalist competitors. They assassinated, executed, and massacred whole groups of nationalists, including relatives, friends, women, and children. Nationalists were not the only victims: "class enemies" were also "punished," and communist ranks were purified of Trotskyites and others who deviated from accepted scripture. Thousands among the most educated and brightest Vietnamese were wiped out in the years 1945 to 1947 that it took the communists to firmly establish their power. (R.J. Rummel, Death By Government)

After French defeat, Ho followed standard Communist operating procedure. First, kill off peasant leaders and better-off peasants to decapitate future peasant resistance; then forced collectivization can proceed unhindered. Slave labor camps sprang up, as did show trials. By all accounts several hundred thousand people perished during the 1953-1956 period. The Geneva Agreements divided Vietnam into the northern region held by Ho, and the southern region outside of Communist control. The people of Vietnam voted with their feet. Tallies for 1953-56 speak volumes: about 1 million northerners chose to flee south, while only one-tenth as many southerners chose to flee north.

Ho began guerrilla war against South Vietnam almost immediately. The war escalated quickly; with South Vietnam close to defeat in 1964, the United States joined in the war to prop up the failing government of South Vietnam. This delayed the North's victory for about ten years. Throughout the war, both North and South Vietnam engaged in large-scale killing of civilians. The United States did so as well, although it appears that more effort was made to avoid civilian targets than in World War II.

Ho was dead of old age by the time Communist forces triumphed in 1975, but the post-war atrocities were in his Stalinist tradition. Slave labor plus brain- washing yielded the infamous "re-education camps" to which anti-Communists, dissidents, former civil servants of South Vietnam, prostitutes, and others were condemned. The death rate of the hundreds of thousands of inmates in these camps was high. Fear of these camps led to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese on makeshift boats; many of these refugees perished at sea. Even Vietnamese who escaped the re-education camps were often deported to the country for milder slave labor in the "new economic zones." The post-war executions, concentration camps, and deportations probably produced several hundred thousand additional deaths.

A final major atrocity of the Vietnamese Communists began in 1979. The Khmer Rouge, a Cambodian Communist faction, had been in power since 1975. Relations between the Vietnamese Communists and the Khmer Rouge were however hostile. Vietnam invaded and quickly defeated Cambodia in 1979, revealing to the world the ghastly killing fields of the Khmer Rouge. Now that the Vietnamese were in charge, however, mass murder was merely curtailed rather than abolished. The Vietnamese puppet ruler, Heng Samrin, was himself merely a dissident member of the Khmer Rouge, so what else could be expected? Supported by Vietnamese troops, the Samrin regime exterminated perhaps an additional half million Cambodians.

Cambodia

In any other country with a population of only 7 million, Samrin would have been the greatest butcher in his country's history. Yet Samrin's regime seemed to be a force for liberation, because it replaced the nightmarish regime of the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot. The Khmer Rouge took Mao's totalitarian communes one step further: in addition to forcing the peasants into collective farms with communal kitchens and barracks, Pol Pot's troops also forcibly deported the entire urban population of Cambodia into rural communes. As Paul Johnson explains:

The scheme was an attempt to telescope, in one terrifying coup, the social changes brought about over twenty-five years in Mao's China. There was to be "total social revolution." Everything about the past was "anathema and must be destroyed." It was necessary to "psychologically reconstruct individual members of society." It entailed "stripping away, through terror and other means, the traditional bases, structures and forces which have shaped and guided an individual's life" and then "rebuilding him according to party doctrines by substituting a new series of values." (Modern Times)

The usual scapegoats - the bourgeoisie, non-Communist intellectuals, better-off peasants - shared the fate of numerous other groups demonized by the Khmer Rouge: the Vietnamese minority, anyone who could speak a foreign language, teachers, monks, Muslims. Violation of any of the commune's rules could result in a death sentence, and the rules were harsher than in any other Communist regime. Sex was often proscribed, even for married couples, and children taken away from their parents.

The killing rate in Cambodia has no precedent. Executions, slave labor, and man-made famine all blended together in a nation where every person was de facto an enslaved prisoner. Middling estimates indicate that in the short span of 1975-1979, over 25% of Cambodia's population perished at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Two millions out of seven. The xenophobia of the Khmer Rouge have led many to try to re-define them as racists rather than Communists. In truth, the Khmer Rouge was both racist and Communist.

Yugoslavia



Tito was one of the few Yugoslavian Communists living in exile in the USSR who managed to survive Stalin's purges. This made him a natural candidate for leadership of Yugoslavian Communism, which he attained in the late 1930's. Tito was present in Yugoslavia to initiate guerrilla warfare against the Nazis after Hitler sneak attacked the USSR. During World War II, Tito's forces waged a two-front war: one against the Nazis and domestic collaborators, the other against non-Communist opponents of the Germans. Even before assuming power, Tito had the blood of 100,000 innocents on his hands - wartime gave him ideal conditions for exterminating domestic opposition. This strategy left Tito in full control of Yugoslavia after the German surrender.

Unlike most of the other Communist leaders that came to power after World War II, Tito seized power with his own forces. He had the independent power base to do as he wished. Executions and forced labor camps accelerated, and (as in Poland and Czechoslovakia) a substantial ethnic German minority was expelled. While Stalin imposed a facade of democracy upon Eastern Europe for a brief period, Tito's police state began at once in full force. Tito's excommunication by Stalin in 1948 sparked a new wave of terror against anyone suspected of continuing loyalty to Moscow. Tito executed many accused "Cominformists," and sentenced the rest to slave labor camps. Tito sought and obtained Western support for his heretical Communist regime, and this Western influence seems to have greatly moderated the level of killing from the early 1950's onward. Nevertheless, by most counts Tito's innocent victims exceed 1 million.

North Korea



Under Communist rule, North Korea has been so closed to the outside world that it is very difficult even to estimate how many people were exterminated under the rule of Kim Il-sung and his successors. All available information indicates that Kim imitated the most brutal aspects of Stalinism and Maoism, often taking them to new heights. The slave labor empire Kim established is reputed to be extensive and deadly, his executions numerous, and his country often near starvation. Extrapolating Soviet or Chinese death rates to Kim's regime makes it extremely likely that he is responsible for one million or more innocent deaths

Source: Museum of Communism

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"Confiamos en que la pureza de nuestra intención nos traiga el favor de Dios para lograr el imperio de la justicia en nuestra patria. Si caemos, que nuestra sangre señale el camino de la libertad. Porque, tenga o no, nuestra acción el éxito que esperamos, la conmoción que originara nos hará adelantar la senda del triunfo."
José Antonio Echevarría : La Habana, 13 de Marzo de 1957.
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