Of Human Rights

Por Los Derechos Humanos En Cuba. Project dedicated to the freedom of all Cuban political prisoners.

Capitol Hill Cubans

Here are some recent posts over at Capitol Hill Cubans regarding recent repression in Cuba.

Cuba: Religious Freedom Violations Increase in 2013

at 9:02 AM Tuesday, January 14, 2014
From Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW):Cuba: religious freedom violations continued to increase in 2013

Read the original article here.

CSW has renewed its call for Cuban leader Raul Castro to ensure that significant improvements are made in upholding religious freedom in 2014, after research showed a steady increase in religious freedom violations across Cuba in 2013 as the result of an ongoing government crackdown on religious organizations and individuals.

CSW documented 185 reported cases of religious freedom in 2013, up from a total of 120 in 2012. Many of the individual documented cases involved entire churches and denominations and large numbers of people. While Roman Catholic churches reported the highest number of violations, mostly involving the arrest and arbitrary detention of parishioners attempting to attend church activities, other denominations and religious groups were also affected. Baptist, Pentecostal and Methodist churches in different parts of the country reported consistent harassment and pressure from state security agents. Additionally, government officials continued to refuse to register

some groups, including the large Protestant network the “Apostolic Movement”, threatening affiliated churches with closure.

Church leaders in different parts of the country reported ongoing violations in the final weeks of the year. On 20 December, six members of an inter-denominational protestant group were beaten and imprisoned for nine hours in a windowless cell with no ventilation or light after attempting to carry out open air evangelism in the city of Bayamo. A few days later, on 22 December, 60 women affiliated with the Ladies in White movement were arrested in the early hours of the morning and held in prisons, police patrol cars and police stations across the country to prevent them from attending Sunday morning Mass.

Based on the documentation and information received from church leaders, the Cuban government seemed most concerned with control over religious groups, some of the only established independent civil society organisations tolerated by the regime. Various denominations told CSW that they are under heavy pressure from the Office of Religious Affairs of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party to change internal governing structures, statutes and constitutions to make them less democratic and therefore easier to control. The government also announced that in 2014, bank accounts would be restricted to one per denomination or religious association; individual churches will no longer be permitted to maintain their finances independently.

The government continued to push religious groups to expel or bar Cubans associated with human rights or pro-democracy groups from their congregations. Religious groups that refused to comply with these government demands saw their bank accounts frozen and entire denominations found their requests to receive foreign visitors on religious visas denied.

There were some improvements, notably in the elimination of the need for Cubans to receive an exit visa, or ‘white card’ from the Cuban government in order to travel abroad. However, while many church leaders were able to travel outside Cuba for the first time some continued to see their right to travel curtailed. At least two leaders in the Apostolic Movement were informed in 2013 that they would not be permitted to leave Cuba with no reason given.

Free Ivan Fernandez Depestre

at 9:52 AM Monday, January 13, 2014
Read the original article here.
Ivan Fernandez Depestre, an Amnesty International “prisoner of conscience,” remains unjustly imprisoned by the Castro regime.The 40 year-old democracy activist was arrested on July 30th in the central province of Santa Clara for peacefully participating in a public event with fellow dissidents.Depestre, an Afro-Cuban, was charged with “dangerousness,” a pre-emptive measure defined as the “special proclivity of a person to commit crimes” after he was accused of “meeting with antisocial persons.” He had no access to a lawyer during his show-trial and was sentenced to three-years in prison.Under Articles 78 to 84 of Castro’s Criminal Code, any Cuban accused of “special proclivity to commit crimes” can be sentenced to between one and four years of re-education in “specialized work or studyestablishments” or sent to “a work collective.”

More “reform” you can’t believe in.

Handicapped Dissidents Brutally Beaten

at 9:55 AM Saturday, January 11, 2014
Read the original article here.
While Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Alex Lee was seemingly romancing Castro’s dictatorship this week, here’s what was really taking place in Cuba:Brutal Violence Against Peaceful Human Rights Defenders, Including a Blind LawyerThe Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs of Cuba makes an urgent appeal to the national and international community on behalf of the life and physical integrity of ten peaceful human rights activists who live in Ciego de Avila, a city in the center of the island.They denounce the brutal beating that they were subjected to on January 9, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. by the repressive forces of the Cuban political police when said activists were publicly disseminating among the citizens of Ciego de Avila a bulletin they publish: “Voz Avileña“.

The activists who were violently beaten and arrested were: Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, whose right knee, left hand and leg, as well as his right shoulder were injured. The left side of the face and head of Gonzalez Leiva are presently swollen since both of his arms were forced behind his back by one officer while another one beat him repeatedly with his fists. All of this occurred inside a patrol car that was taking the blind activist and his wife, who also brutally beaten, to the First Police Unit in Ciego de Avila. The military personnel had to get a doctor with urgency to attend Gonzalez Leiva after he was dragged out of the patrol car and choked from behind to such a point that he lost consciousness and past out. After this violent episode, the activist is having trouble swallowing.

The wife of Gonzalez Leiva, Tania Maceda Guerra, who also belongs to the human rights movement, Ladies in White, had locks of hair pulled out, she was bitten, her arms were twisted behind her back and she was choked while held down against the floor of the patrol car. In that position she was savagely beaten by the officers.

The other human rights activists who were beaten are: Junior Ortega Ribero, president in Ciego de Ávila of the Cuban Independent and Democratic Party, Yoandi Quintana Sarría, who is deaf, is president of the Independent Association of the Deaf,  the ex-political prisoner Daniel Camacho Marchena, Fernando Santana Vega, Luís Gilberto Vila León, Ulice Cintra Suárez and Daniel Martínez and the independent journalist Alberto Plas Rico.

All ten activists belong to the Democratic Municipal Circles of Cuba and the Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs of Cuba with their national headquarters located at: calle Honorato del Castillo, # 154, E/ República y Cuba, in Ciego de Ávila.

All of the above mentioned NGOs are considered illegal by the Cuban government.

Courtesy of the Coalition of Cuban-American Women.

Castro Regime Attacks Children of Democracy Activist

at 9:19 PM Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Read the original article here.
From the European NGO, Frontline Defenders:Physical attack against the children of human rights defender Damaris Moya PortielesOn 2 January 2014, the 5-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter of human rights defender Damaris Moya Portieles were beaten by Cuban state security agents in Santa Clara. Damaris Moya Portieles is a member of the Movimiento Femenino por los Derechos Civiles Rosa Parks (Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights), and president of the Coalición Central Opositora (Central Oppositional Coalition), an organization that works against evictions carried out by state agents and protects the well-being of children and the elderly.On the morning of 2 January 2014, the son and daughter of the human rights defender were on their way to visit the president of theMovimiento Feminino por los Derechos Civiles Rosa Parks, Yris Pérez Aguilera, when they were beaten by the National Revolutionary Police. Damaris Moya Portieles had to bring them to a medical center for immediate attention. At this moment, the children are physically recovered but are suffering from psychological trauma.

Throughout the past year, Damaris Moya Portieles was the subject of various intimidatory acts, sexual abuse in detention, and the threat of the rape of her young daughter. Front Line Defenders previously issued an urgent appeal on her case on 10 October 2013.

In December 2013, particularly in the context of vigils and protests around International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013, there was an increase in the number of detentions. 1,123 people were arbitrarily detained over the month, amongst these dissidents, political opposition figures, protesters and human rights defenders.

Front Line Defenders expresses its profound concern at the physical attack against the children of Damaris Moya Portieles, especially as it appears to be linked to her legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights in Cuba. Front Line Defenders views this attack as part of an ongoing campaign against the human rights defender, as well as part of a broader campaign to silence critical voices and those working for human rights in Cuba.

5. http://www.capitolhillcubans.com/2014/01/more-record-repression-under-raul.html

More Record Repression Under Raul Castro

at 10:33 AM Monday, January 6, 2014
Independent journalists have documented at least 853 political arrests in Cuba during the month of December 2013.According to a report released by Centro de Informacion Hablemos Press (CIHPRESS), this brings the year-long total of 2013 political arrests to 5,718.Separately, the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCHR) has documented 1,123 political arrests for December 2013.CCHR‘s year-long tally of 2013 political arrests is 6,424.

Unlike some foreign journalists, these courageous Cuban independent journalists and human rights observers have thoroughly and painstakingly documented each political arrest — at great risk.

In the four years since CIHPRESS has been producing these reports, it has documented over 16,555 political arrests in Cuba.

All under the rule of General Raul Castro.

These are only those arrests that have been thoroughly documented. Many more are suspected.

More “reform” you can’t believe in.

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2014 by .
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