Continuous Violations of Human Rights in Cuba

The repression in Cuba continues unabated.  Here is a sampling from a Cuba Fact Sheet published by the Cuban Transition Project:

The recent talks between General Raul Castro and Cardinal Jaime Ortega were seen by many as a gleam of hope for the political prisoners and dissident movement on the island. This signified the first time in five decades of the Cuban revolution that the communist government was negotiating with a national and independent organization like the Cuban Catholic Church.

     During the talks, General Castro promised to transfer some political prisoners in poor health to hospitals, move other detained dissidents to prisons closer to their homes, and release some of Cuba’s estimated 190 prisoners of conscience. In July, Cuba pledged to release 52 political prisoners, mainly as a way to diminish international criticism following the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo who died after being on a hunger strike for 83 days. To date, 36 political prisoners have been freed and sent to Spain, which has agreed to accept them.

     While some have applauded Raul Castro for these measures and presumed humanitarian actions, reality is significantly different. The Cuban government and its repressive apparatus continue to undermine human rights as evidenced in the island by the following actions, among many others, which took place throughout the month of September and beginning of October 2010. Opponents and political activists are being intimidated, beaten, and arrested almost on a daily basis. Using the police, Brigades of Rapid Response, and other forces of the Ministry of the Interior, the Castro government continues to terrorize the Cuban people.

 ·         William Rodriguez Paredes, delegate of Movimiento 24 de febrero, Habana Province, was detained in Zaragoza, San José de Las Lajas Municipality, and arrested. He was strip searched as police agents were in search of what they considered enemy propaganda, was interrogated for 7 hours, and was threatened with being charged with the Cuban Law of Social Dangerousness (1). (September 10, 2010)

 ·         Aliomar Janjaque Chivaz, President of the independent organization pro-human rights, Fundación Cubana LGBT Reinaldo Arenas en Memoria, was arrested by officials of the Policía Nacional Revolucionaria, PNR, after collecting video statements of homosexuals who suffered homophobic attacks in the Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Produción, UMAP, in the 1960s and 1970s. (September 18, 2010)

 ·         Leaders of Partido Cuba Independiente y Democrática, CID, were arrested to prevent the celebration of the Sixth Anniversary of the magazine Misceláneas de Cuba. (September 19, 2010)

 ·         Ariel Medina Acosta, activist of the Partido Pro-Derechos Humanos, was physically assaulted at the aluminum factory in San José de Las Lajas, Habana Province, where he currently works. (September 23, 2010)

 ·         Members of Partido Republicano de Cuba, PRC, were arrested as they were returning from Nuestra Señora de la Merced Church in Habana Vieja. (September 24, 2010)

 ·         Pastor Pérez Sánchez and Santo Rivero Castro were harassed and threatened by Cuban security agents for their regular visits to the home of dissident Vladimir Alejo Miranda who is on strike. (September 27, 2010)

 ·         Joel Marín Cárdenas, ex-political prisoner and member of Movimiento Cuba Independiente y Democrática was brutally beaten by police in the Florida Municipality, Camaguey, after speaking at a park with two friends about the political and economic situation in the island. He received bruises on his face and several parts of his body, along with a broken right foot. He is now on a hunger strike. (September 29, 2010)

 ·         Julio Beltrán Iglesias, independent journalist and spokesperson for Partido Republicano de Cuba, was arrested by police as he was traveling to Vedado, Havana City. (September 30, 2010)

 ·         More than a dozen dissidents, members of Alianza Democrática Oriental, were detained and threatened in Guantanamo Province to prevent them from assisting a peaceful meeting held in Maisí. (October 2, 2010)

 ·         Jorge Luís García Pérez (Antúnez) and his wife, Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, were condemned to house arrest. (October 5, 2010)

 ·         Vladimir Calderón Fria , Director of Partido Republicano de Cuba, was arrested while walking with his wife, Tay Benítez, through Centro Habana. (October 8, 2010)

 ·         The home of Rogelio Tabío, dissident and delegate of the political party 30th of November was surrounded by a mob of several hundred and led by security officers. The crowd chanted derogatory slogans, threw rock and eggs, and assaulted several men and women, including Eliecer Aranda Reinier, a nine year old boy. (October 10, 2010)

 ·         Members of Partido Democrático 30 de Noviembre “Frank País” protested in Cárdenas, Matanzas for the continued arrests and oppression of its members throughout the island by the Departamento de la Seguridad del Estado (State apparatus). They are being targeted simply for being peaceful activists and defenders of human rights. (October 10, 2010)

 Notes:

 (1) The Law of Social Dangerousness is a legal charge under Cuban law which allows the authorities to detain people whom they “think” are likely to commit crimes. The charge carries a penalty of up to four years in prison.

 * This report was prepared by Susel Pérez, Program Coordinator, Cuba Transition Project, Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies, University of Miami.

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