Human rights in socialist Cuba: 10 facts you should know

If you think the U.S. should have chummy relations with Cuba’s communist dictatorship or perhaps are planning a vacation to an apartheid resort on the island, here are some facts about human rights in socialist Cuba you should know.

Via Borgen Magazine:

In 1959, Fidel Castro established a socialist state in Cuba closely aligned with the” ideology of the Soviet Union. Castro ruled as a dictator, providing free healthcare and education but suppressing all political opposition and routinely violating human rights. Although new reforms have been implemented in Fidel Castro’s regime, Cuba’s political structure has changed very little. These 10 facts about human rights in Cuba demonstrate the country’s authoritarian system that undermines human rights.

10 Facts About Human Rights in Cuba

  1. Freedom of Expression: The government controls all media, which means they have the power to limit speech, press or any public information. Access to the internet is costly and limited. Due to censorship by the Communist Party, there is little reliable statistical data about the economic or political situation in Cuba. Criticism of the government is kept under control by the threat of criminal prosecution.
  2. Right to a Fair Trial: In the Cuban justice system there is no guarantee of due process. Cubans suspected of being political opponents can be tried without an impartial tribunal or legal representation. There is no meaningful judicial independence because the courts hold no real power. Instead, arbitrary detention, imprisonment and extra-judicial killings are employed by the government.
  3. Freedom to Travel: The Cuban government exploits a 1997 law that was originally designed to limit migration to Havana in order to restrict the movement of citizens within Cuba. Travel outside the country is also difficult. Despite a 2013 reform that abolished travel restrictions on Cubans who have valid passports, many are still denied the right to leave the country since the government decides who can obtain and renew passports. The state still monitors who can enter and leave the country.
  4. Freedom of Religion: In 2008, Cuba signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which included protection for religious freedom. However, this protection is absent in its new proposed constitution. It significantly reduces religious freedoms already promised in Cuba’s current constitution, which has been in effect since 1976. Travel restrictions and arbitrary detentions of religious leaders continue to make the practice of religion in Cuba dangerous. The Catholic Church and numerous other religious groups have repeatedly advocated for reform, but have been ignored.
  5. Political Freedom: Cuba’s constitution recognizes the Communist Party as the only legal political party. Free elections do not exist in the country. Any political dissent or protest against the one-party system is restricted. Political groups, home libraries and even musicians and artists who promote an alternative culture in Cuba are all considered involved in illegal activity and are treated as criminals.

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