Since October 2020, the number of Cuban political prisoners Has reached 525According to the NGO Prisoners Defenders, this is a historical record. An NGO report detailed the Cuban regime’s “arbitrary” imprisonment of 387 people in twelve months.
Although the numbers are already high, the prisoner defenders clarified that they may be higher because it is “impossible to cover all cases” given that the Cuban government’s censorship system is difficult to obtain official data.
Cuba experienced several weeks of tension in July, when some Cuban people took to the streets to demand an end to the dictatorshipThe report stated that these demonstrations appeared to be a turning point in imprisonment. Of the 525 political prisoners detained in the past 12 months, 442 people are currently in prison 288 cases were related to the demonstrations last summer.
Between chants “Down with dictatorship” and “Motherland and Life”, The demonstration lasted for several days. Lack of food, censorship on social networks, and lack of a vaccine against Covid-19 are some of the main reasons why thousands of citizens are exhausted.
The pandemic has severely exacerbated the economic crisis that Cuba is experiencing and severely hit the tourism industry.By May 2021, Covid-19 has decreased 94% of tourists arrive To Caribbean countries compared with the same period in 2020.
Prisoner defenders condemned 5000 and 8000 arrested In the demonstrations in July, “arbitrarily used police violence”. The prisoner defense organization said that most of the detainees were later released, even though they paid a “very high” fine equivalent to Cuba’s monthly salary. Detainees, Except for the opponent, Most of them are citizens Usually inactive politically.
In addition to the number of political prisoners detained, there are also accusations from a group of people Five rapporteurs United NationsThe rapporteur said in a letter of accusation to the President of Cuba: “Public order troops and plainclothes personnel have begun to use excessive force, including putting people on police cars.” Miguel Diaz Canel, And your government.
Among those arrested in the protests, “dozens” have been tried and sentenced in judicial proceedings, and it is reported that they Irregularities The UN rapporteur condemned problems such as the lack of lawyers and the necessary means to prepare a defense.
They also condemned the censorship system for violating digital rights “Digital Blackout” This prevents people from receiving information about events in the country. Internet connection was interrupted, phone calls were unstable, social networks and messaging platforms were interrupted for several days.
The five rapporteurs concluded in the letter that these allegations would violate many International human rights standards, Emphasizing that the state has the obligation to respect and protect the right to be free from arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial.
Most of the people who were detained during the July protests but are still in prison are awaiting sentencing. However, according to the prison list published by the prisoner defender, some people have been sentenced to between eight months and two years for crimes such as “disturbing public order”, “contempt”, “assault” and “inciting crime”.
Sanchez and Borrell, singled out
The prisoner defender’s report clearly stated that the President of the Spanish government, Pedro Sanchez, and High Representative for European Union Foreign Policy, Joseph BorrellBecause of his “lack of strength” in suppressing Cuba.
The NGO report reads: “Borrel conducted a very unfortunate intervention and blamed everything on Donald Trump. He has not participated in American politics for a long time. As we all know, the United States is Cuba’s first food supplier. .”
Criticism of Sanchez also appeared in the United States this week. Several Democratic senators, including Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Bob Menendez, They criticized the executive officer of Sanchez on Wednesday Because it did not share Washington’s strategy for Cuba.
“It seems that the Spaniard They care more about their hotel And investment (in Cuba) instead of democracy and human rights,” Menedez said. “Spain can do more,” he added.
When the wave of demonstrations broke out in July, the President of the Spanish government did not call Cuba a dictatorship, but affirmed Cuba in an interview. Telecommunications company “Obviously, Cuba is not a democratic country.”
Besides Ministry of Foreign Affairs Issue a statement to defend the right to free demonstration. “Spain defends the fundamental right of all citizens to demonstrate freely and peacefully and requires the Cuban authorities to respect this right,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.