"Trabajando juntos por Cuba Libre"




Sociedad Internacional de Derechos Humanos denuncia a Cuba en Ginebra.

MCUD INTERNACIONAL (www.cubamcud.org) 23-04-2004 El Movimiento Cubano Unidad Democrática hace público el siguiente documento que fue presentado por la reconocida Sociedad Internacional de Derechos Humanos (ISHR) ante la 60 Sesión de la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas que concluyó en Ginebra, Suiza el día de hoy.

El documento condena de forma directa al Gobierno de Cuba, y lo hace responsable por el desmesurado aumento de la represión en la isla. La ISHR condena en específico al régimen por no permitir la libertad de opinión, la libertad de prensa e información, la libertad de movimiento y reunión, el documento además menciona que Cuba viola el Acuerdo Internacional de la Convención de Naciones Unidas en materia de torturas y crueldad, al tener a cientos de prisioneros políticos en condiciones infrahumanas y recibiendo maltratos físicos y psicológicos, la ISHR aclara que Cuba firmó dicho acuerdo el 17 de Mayo de 1995.

En forma clara y bien documentada la Sociedad Internacional de Derechos Humanos denuncia y presenta una larga lista de arbitrariedades y proporciona reales testimonios con nombres y ejemplos de estas violaciones.

Concretamente al final del documento la Sociedad Internacional de Derechos Humanos solicitó formalmente a la Comisión de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas:

Emita una Resolución expresando su preocupación acerca de la generalización de las violaciones de los Derechos Humanos en Cuba, especialmente el arresto de 75 disidentes y el aumento de arrestos ilegales, persecución y otros maltratos.
Inste al Gobierno de Cuba que aplique y se adhiera a los estándares determinados por la Convención contra la Tortura y otros inhumanos y denigrantes tratos y castigos.
Inste al Gobierno de Cuba a recibir a la Relatora Christine Chanet, Representante Personal del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos.
Inste al Gobierno de Cuba a suscribir los Convenios Internacionales de Derechos Civiles, Políticos, Económicos, Sociales y Culturales.

El Movimiento Cubano Unidad Democrática, y en particular sus Delegaciones Europa y Alemania que trabajan coordinadamente con la Sociedad Internacional de Derechos Humanos aportaron parte de la documentación necesaria para la emisión de este documento.

Cuba una vez más resultó condenada internacionalmente en el seno de la Comisión de los Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas.


International Society of Human Rights.

30 January 2004
60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights
15 March to 23 April 2004

Republic of Cuba

Drastic measures taken against political dissidents
The human rights situation in Cuba has dramatically worsened in 2003, in particular concerning freedom of opinion, freedom of press and information, freedom of assembly and freedom of movement. Furthermore, Cuba violates the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Cuba signed on 17 May 1995.

While the world followed events in Iraq, the government of Cuba arrested altogether 75 human rights defenders, independent journalists, economists and opposition members in mid-March 2003. In April they were sentenced to an average of 20 years and a total of more than 1,000 years imprisonment. ISHR believes that all 75 dissidents had only exercised their basic human rights.

The crackdown of spring 2003 was sharply condemned by the UN Commission on Human Rights, several democratic governments, human rights organizations and Pope John Paul II. In June 2003 the EU expressed its concern in form of a demarche to the Cuban government, decided to issue diplomatic sanctions and demanded the immediate release of the political prisoners. Following the demarche, Cuba declared that it will from now on refuse humanitarian aid from the EU Commission and the EU member states. In September 2003, Claudia Roth, Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the Federal Republic of Germany, was denied a visitor’s visa. Christine Chanet, Personal Representative of the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, has so far not been able to enter Cuba in order to implement Resolution 2002/18 adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights on 19 April 2002.

1. Draconian prison terms for independent publicists
Freedom of the Press and Information is very limited in Cuba. Press Freedom only exists pro forma; and, according to the Cuban constitution, independent media are basically prohibited. Although there has been a slight liberalization in the past few years, the crackdown of spring 2003 revealed this measure to be an untrustworthy illusion. “Granma“, the daily paper of the Cuban Communist Party, is the only newspaper that is officially permitted. There are a few independent press agencies in Cuba, but they deliver their news to the USA or Western Europe via Internet or the radio station “Radio Martí “. Employees of these agencies are constantly watched, intimidated and threatened.

Internet access is generally denied to journalists as well as to average Cuban citizens. Any Internet traffic is channeled through two central servers, which are strictly monitored. Additionally, Internet usage requires a special government permit. All Internet traffic, including email, the press and books are censored. Owners of private libraries have to fear long prison terms if they offer illegal books, such as, for example, books by George Orwell or Milan Kundera.

Independent publicists whose reports are not in conformity with state policies are explicitly warned, massively threatened and persecuted, and sentenced to many years imprisonment if violating law No. 88. The law No. 88 - "Law for the Protection of the National Independence and Economy of Cuba" - of 1999 is used to impose draconian punishment on Cuban citizens who act “subversively” or deliver information to “enemies abroad.” Since 18 March 2003, 27 independent journalists have been imprisoned, nine of whom ran small independent news agencies. Police and State Security Service burst into their houses and confiscated books, written notes, computers, fax machines, typewriters and tape recorders. They were all charged with “subversive activities”, “enemy propaganda” or “counterrevolutionary activities” and sentenced in summary trials to up to 27 years imprisonment.

According to ISHR information the following 27 Cuban journalists have been imprisoned since March 2003: Víctor Rolando Arroyo (sentenced to 26 years in prison), Pedro Argüelles Morán (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Majail Bárzaga Lugo (sentenced to 15 years in prison), Carmelo Díaz Fernández (sentenced to 15 years in prison), Oscar Espinosa Chepe (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Adolfo Fernández Saínz (sentenced to 15 years in prison), Miguel Galván Gutiérrez (sentenced to 26 years in prison), Julio César Gálvez (sentenced to 15 years in prison), Edel José García (sentenced to 15 years in prison), Roberto García Cabrejas (sentence unknown), Jorge Luis García Paneque (sentenced to 24 years in prison), Ricardo González Alfonso (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Luis González Pentón (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Alejandro González Raga (sentenced to 14 years in prison), Normando Hernández (sentenced to 25 years in prison), Juan Carlos Herrera sentenced to 20 years in prison), José Ubaldo Izquierdo (sentenced to 16 years in prison), Héctor Maseda (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Mario Enrique Mayo (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Jorge Olivera (sentenced to 18 years in prison), Pablo Pacheco Avila (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Fabio Prieto Llorente (sentenced to 20 years in prison), José Gabriel Ramón Castillo (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Raúl Rivero Castañeda (sentenced to 20 years in prison), Omar Rodríguez Saludes (sentenced to 27 years in prison), Omar Ruiz Hernández (sentenced to 18 years in prison), Manuel Vázquez Portal (sentenced to 18 years in prison).

2. Drastic Restrictions on the Freedom of Opinion, Movement and Assembly
Cuban government authorities violate the freedom of opinion, movement and assembly. Political indoctrination rules everyday life. In general, all citizens are expected to join mass organizations that are controlled by the state. The only authorized party is the Cuban Marxist-Leninist party which Fidel Castro has been leading as head of the state since 1959.

The right of movement is very limited for the average Cuban citizen. Those who try to leave the country for good are prevented from leaving. Caught refugees are sentenced to many years in prison or are executed. In April, three Cubans were convicted of hijacking a passenger ferry and sentenced to death in a summary trial. They were executed shortly afterwards. They were part of a group of eleven persons accused of participating in the hijacking. The three executions de facto ended the moratorium on the death penalty in Cuba. Castro admitted that he had wanted to make an example in order to deter potential imitators from similar attempts of escape.

The right of assembly and the right to form organizations is frequently violated. Whenever a few people get together for a meeting they are threatened by imminent arrest and imprisonment. Independent labors unions are denied the status of a legal entity. Religious groups are only allowed to meet for worship services. The Cuban State Security Service keeps all non-governmental activities and groups under surveillance. Dissidents and their families are monitored. A special strategy is the systematic creation of fear. People who get involved in human rights see themselves confronted with an overpowering machinery of repression. They suffer from psychological and physical ostracism, imprisonment or exile. Persecution starts with losing one’s job or massive interference with one’s career development. Activists’ families are often intimidated and approached to leave in order to prevent further harm to family members. Some family members are even blackmailed and forced to spy on the activist. Their task is to persuade the dissident to give up his or her involvement in human rights matters. Likewise, the State Security Service often tries to damage the reputation of dissidents; activists are called "troublemakers", "crazy people" or "counter-revolutionists" in public. They and their families are banished from their homes and often physically attacked.

The Cuban activists who are currently incarcerated have just practiced their basic human rights: their right to freedom of expression and assembly.

3. Inhuman Prison Treatment
Cruel and inhuman treatment is the norm in Cuban prisons. Often Cuban dissidents are held in prison for an indefinite time without charges or trial. Some of those without trial were reported to have been taken to mental institutions where they suffered inhuman and cruel treatment. The inhuman treatment in Cuban prisons often causes prisoners to suffer from depression, anxiety attacks, insomnia, claustrophobia, restlessness, suicidal tendencies as well as psychological and physical diseases (such as high blood pressure, chest pain, diabetes, stomach ulcers, heart attacks and respiratory depression). Cuba is especially violating „the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment“.

Trials of political dissidents usually take place in closed session. After the trial, they are taken to prisons far away from their families. Often their lives in prisons are threatened by criminal prisoners. These prisoners are used as informants or violent troublemakers by the prison authorities. The authorities violate common prison rules by denying the imprisoned activists fundamental rights, such as release on probation or visits from family and friends. Their mail is censored or immediately confiscated. In prison they are cruelly punished, e.g. by being thrown into solitary confinement without any sunlight for an indefinite time. There they suffer psychological damage and serious physical decline (loss of teeth, loss of weight etc.).

The majority of the dissidents arrested in spring 2003 is kept in solitary confinement. Prisoners of conscience again and again complain about maltreatment and torture, unhygienic conditions and refused medical care.

A typical example for how prisoners of conscience are treated in Cuban penitentiaries is the 37-year old Juan Carlos González Leiva. The blind lawyer is the founder of "Fraternidad de Ciegas Independientes" and president of the "Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba" (CFHR). He was arrested in March 2002 because he had, together with others, organized a peaceful protest. Leiva and seven other protesters were attacked by state security forces and arrested. They were charged with defamation of President Fidel Castro as well as being a ‘public nuisance’. Leiva has not been allowed to leave his cell for months and sleeps on the concrete floor since he is denies a mattress. During the last months his health declined drastically. He suffered a nervous breakdown and suffers from panic attacks, lung pain and a severe bronchitis. Yet, medication is categorically denied to him. Even his walking cane and bible in Braille were taken away from him. Pastoral care does not exist in Cuban prisons either. Priests who try to obtain a visitor’s permit are not allowed to enter prison properties.

The physician Dr. Oscar Elias Bíscet, founder and president of the "Lawton Foundation for Human Rights" is enduring a similar fate. During the last six years he was arbitrarily arrested 26 times. Dr. Bíscet, a 42-year old follower of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, previously served 3 years in prison because of his involvement in advocating press freedom and human rights as well as the abolition of the death penalty. He was released 31 October 2002, only to be re-arrested once more on 6 December 2002 as he was to meet with human rights activists. Since 7 April 2003, he has again been kept in prison. He was tried summarily along with other activists and independent journalists and sentenced to 25 years for "serving as a mercenary to a foreign state."

Since August 2003 his health has been deteriorating. Bíscet suffers from severe hypertension and gum infection. However, like many other prisoners, he is denied medical treatment. Currently, he is in a maximum security prison in the province of Pinar del Rio called Kilo 8 and spends his time in solitary confinement, in a cell of 2 x 1 meters without windows or lights, no sanitary facilities, no bed or mattress. The terms of his punishment prohibit family visits, food supplies, toiletries, and clothing, receiving or sending any correspondence, and going out in the sun. Reading and writing is also prohibited. Since he does not have access to newspapers, TV or radio, he is totally isolated from the outside world. His family - Bíscet is married and father of small children – fears for his life.

The internationally recognized economist Martha Beatriz Roque, 57, is the only woman among the 75 dissidents. Her sentence is 20 years for "conspiring with a foreign power“ for speaking the truth about Cuba's moribund economy and totalitarian government. Held at the notorious Manto Negro prison, Ms. Roque has been kept in solitary confinement with no access to sunlight. Rats and cockroaches infest her cell, and an allergic rash covers her body. Martha Roque suffers from high blood pressure, stomach ulcers and chest pains. Due to prison conditions she also suffers from recurring fainting spells. For weeks, the prison authorities have denied medical treatment.

The International Society for Human Rights calls on the UN Commission on Human Rights to:

adopt a resolution to express concern about widespread human rights violations in Cuba, especially the arrest of 75 dissidents and increasing incidents of persecution, unlawful arrests, and other mistreatment;
urge the government of Cuba to implement and adhere to the standards determined by the „Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment";
urge the government of Cuba to receive Christine Chanet, Personal Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights;
urge the government of Cuba to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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