A troubling trend in Cuba: Violent repression increasing
Troubling trends in Cuba: An Update
The past six months have demonstrated that the human rights situation in Cuba remains grave and has deteriorated.
Amnesty International identified six new prisoners of conscience in Cuba over the past two months. On August 5, 2013 the human rights organization demanded the immediate release of five Cuban activists: Rafael Matos Montes de Oca, Emilio Planas Robert and the brothers Alexeis, Diango, and Vianco Vargas Martín. On September 12, 2013 Amnesty also recognized Iván Fernández Depestre as a prisoner of conscience. The Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs in Cuba has identified dozens of Cuban political prisoners.
Thousands of detentions of nonviolent activists exercising their fundamental rights have also taken place in the island over the past 6 months. There were more than 700 detentions documented in Cuba in the month of September alone.
Neither of these two new developments are new in Cuba but established patterns of repression.
However there are new developments that point to a disturbing escalation in violence. Ofelia Acevedo, human rights defender Oswaldo Paya's widow addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 17, 2013 stated:
My family has received death threats and my children have suffered physical persecution by Cuban state security of the Cuban government in the streets of Havana. Violence against the members of all the opposition grows in the country. Less than three months ago Werlando Leiva of the Christian Liberation Movement was attacked with a machete on a public street because of his nonviolent work in favor of the plebiscite and human rights in the island. Werlando, who is a father of three, may never recover total mobility in his right hand.
There have been other incidents involving activists being attacked by regime agents wielding machetes. This is a new and disturbing pattern when taking into consideration the escalating violence against female human rights defenders that has included beatings with blunt objects and disfiguring knife attacks later in 2012.
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