Record numbers of foreign tourists visit apartheid Cuba as Castro dictatorship steps up violent repression

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Tourists are flocking to Cuba in record numbers. Millions of foreign travelers from all over the world, including the U.S., have vacationed in Cuba this year and have pumped millions of dollars in to the state-controlled economy.

So how has the apartheid Castro dictatorship responded to all this interaction and exchange with the world? They kick their violent repression up a few notches.

So much for that whole “If the world opens up to Cuba, Cuba will open up to the world…” Kumbaya idea.

Elena Toledo in PanAm Post:

Castro Regime Steps up Repression, Detains and Threatens Prominent Opposition Figures

The Cuban regime, led by Raúl Castro, has not stopped its persecution of political opponents, especially writers and journalists. The latest victim is Rolando Ferrer Espinosa, a writer, lawyer and winner of the Reinaldo Arena prize for literature.

Espinosa was arrested early November 9 and transferred to the Provincial Unit of Criminal Investigations and Operations in Villa Clara on charges of “preventative social danger.”

“They asked me about my activity in inclusive culture networks, and about the rights of people with disabilities inside Cuba,” Espinosa said of the arrest.

Espinosa appeared last September before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to present a report on the situation of persons with disabilities in Cuba, during which he made an “extensive exhibition” of cases showing how the human rights of persons with disabilities on the island had been violated.

During the interrogation, he was reportedly asked about his book “Tiniebla de Soledad,” in which he narrates his experience during the nine years that he was a political prisoner in the maximum security prison, Alambradas, in Manacas.

Independent journalist arbitrarily detained for 72 hours

Meanwhile, freelance journalist Osmel Ramírez Álvarez was detained in his home on Friday, November 10, and held for 72 hours without being able to communicate with lawyers or family. He was released on Monday afternoon despite threats that he might be charged with “enemy propaganda.”

According to his wife, Idalia Torres Carballosa, the journalist was held at the Center for the Prevention of Crimes. Carballosa explained that, in addition to arresting her husband, they searched his home and confiscated various items such as his computer, hard drives, papers and books.

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