Report on the HR situation in Cuba over the last 5 months (January -May
Over the last five months, the Cuban regime arrested and jailed 22
dissidents and opposition activists, 13 of whom were still in prison at
the time of this report. The closed door trials were problematic on
several levels. They were held in judicial chambers without public
access, tended to be so quick that they lacked basic procedural
guarantees necessary for fair judgment, and had military and State
Security personnel present in the room at all times. Most of these court
cases were the result of dissidents being accused and found guilty of
social dangerousness, insulting the Cuban state, or conspiracy charges
around the attempt to commit some type of attack.
During this same time period, 4 out of the '75' prisoners of conscience
from the 2003 crackdown were released from prison into forced exile in
Spain. There were rumors of 3 more of the '75' being released at the
same time, but in the end they were not set free and their names were
not made public. Almost 50 political prisoners in total are very ill,
and at least 10 are considered to be in critical condition. As of now,
the Cuban regime has refused to grant any of them a conditional probation.
2 Prisoners dying in custody
3 Detained and condemned persons
4 Violent of inhumane treatment of prisoners
5 Repressions against peaceful dissidents, i.e. detentions,
interrogations, physical aggression and "actos de repudio"
6 Actions against the free flow of information
7 Fines for Dissidents
Over the last several months there has been a consistent campaign
against dissidents and activists across the island, especially outside
of Havana and within Cuba's prisons. These actions are proof that
regardless of the cosmetic 'reforms' announced by Raul Castro's
government, it is still dangerous to oppose the regime in even the
In May 2008, the regime initiated a new campaign against dissidents by
claiming they had definitive proof that certain members of the
opposition were receiving support from private US funds. Michael Parmly,
the departing head of the U.S. Interests Section, was accused of
carrying funds from the Miami-based Fundacion Rescate Juridica to the
island following trips to the United States. There were TV spots
accusing Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Laura Pollan, Jorge Luis García
Pérez (Antúnez), Berta Soler and Vladimiro Roca of using these funds. It
is still unclear what the fallout will be from these claims. However,
the timing would indicate that the government would like to discredit
the opposition and its critics prior the EU Council's vote on its Common
There were also reports about the closing of internet access at various
European embassies. According to sources on the island, the Norwegian
and Slovakian embassies have already stopped providing internet access;
the Canadian embassy had promised to open up an internet café for
dissident, but has given up on the idea. Furthermore, dissents and other
activists have expressed their fears about the future of internet access
at Dutch embassy, which in the past has been one of the more reliable
places they could go.
2. Prisoners dying in custody:
We do not been able to get information from every Cuban prison, but we
have information from eleven of them where 30 people were reported as
having died in custody. An additional 9 more persons were also
mentioned, but their deaths need to be verified. The deaths were most
commonly caused by cardio-infarctions (heart attacks), but this could
have been exacerbated by prison conditions and the lack of adequate
access to medical help and treatment. There was also proof in most cases
of rough treatment by prison guards and wardens. Some deaths were the
result of prisoners committing suicide.
Genrry Ordóñez Quiñónez died on January 1, 2008 in Ariza 2 Prison in
Three prisoners died in Kilo 7 Prison in Camagüey: Ismario Álvarez
Andrades (January 28, 2008) died after extremely, violently treatment by
his jailors. Dennis Pupo Samora (January 18, 2008), Rafael Sierra García
(February 23, 2008)
Eliecer Vergara Pino died on January 30, 2008 in la Pendiente Prison
in Santa Clara
Four prisoners died in Combinado Prison in Guantánamo: Neuvis Ortiz
Machado (April 20, 2008), Tomás Pantójas Rodríguez (February 16, 2008)
Carlos Cobas Gaínza (Februrary 21, 2008), and Pascual Correa (February
Leonardo Delgado Díaz, died in March, in Ariza 2 Prison in Cienfuegos
after severe suffering from tuberculosis an NO medical assistance
Jorge Luis Acuña Arias was murdered by fellow prisoner Adrián Guillén
Gonzáles in La 60 Prison on Isla de Pinos during the 3rd week of March
Jorge Ramírez Montesino died on March 22, 2008, in kilo 5 Prison in
Pinar del Río.
Andrés Vázquez Rodríguez died March 24, 2008 in Guanajay Prison in
Michael Santos Depara died on April 1, 2008 in Las Mangas Prison in
Fernando Hurtado Carrillo April 5, 2008 in prison of Ariza 1 Prison
Yislandis Gómez Izquierdo, age 23, died of a heart attack on April
16, 2008, in Ariza 1 Prison in Cienfuegos
Maximiliano Troncoso Aguilar April 17, 2008 in Ariza 1 Prison in
Luís González Díaz died on April 19, 2008 in Cuba Sí Prison in Holguín.
• Israel Torres González, age 37, died of a heart attack on April 19,
2008, in Las Mangas Viejas Prison in Granma
3. Detained and Condemned Persons:
On January 11, 2008 in Bayamo 4 young demonstrators were taken
detained for screaming anti-governmental slogans. Two of them, Yoandri
Gutiérrez Vargas and Rigoberto Samora Rodríguez, are still in Nueva las
Mangas Prison in Granma
January 15, 2008 activist Dixán Saavedra Prat was condemned during a
closed trial under the charge of 'public dangerousness'
On January 25, 2008, Víctor Luís Albrisa Díaz, age 19, was sentenced
to 2 ½ years in prison by the Municipal tribunal of Violeta in Ciego de
Ávila for precriminal social dangerousness
On February 1, 2008, Deisy Talavera López was taken to the women's
prison of la Belloté, Matanzas. While being taken into custody her right
hand was broken, she was chained and had her head forced down by agent's
On February 6, 2008, dissident Rafael Meneses Pupo was sentenced to 2
years in prison by the Banes Municipal Tribunal
On Febraury 19, 2008 in Santa Clara, independent journalist and
photographer Filiberto Pérez del Sol was detained by repressive agents
for writing articles about the poor living conditions of people in suburbs.
On February 21, 2008, a group of young people was arrested by special
police on the accusation of being homosexuals in Havana.
On March 25, 2008, activists Adel Ramón López Nápoles and Santo del
Pozo Rodríguez were sentenced to 3 years in prison by the Municipal
Tribunal of Isla de Pinos for the crime of illegal departure from the
In March, Juan Bermúdez Toranzo, José Luis Rodríguez Chávez, y Leodán
Mangana López, activists from Fundación Cubana de Derechos Humanos
(FCDH), were arrested and sentenced to 4 years each, without a public
trial, minimum of procedural guarantees, and no family participation. In
addition, the wife of José Luis (Daymí Nazaret Pereira) received 2 years
of house arrest and Arquímides Camacho Millán is waiting for a trial
while imprisoned in Valle Grande
On April 1, 2008, José Díaz Silva, the president of the Opposition
Organization for a New Republic, was sentenced to 4 years in prison by
the Boyeros Municipal Tribunal for pre-criminal social dangerousness.
On April 3, 2008, Isrrael Sagarra Martínez was sentenced to 3 years
in prison by the Aguada Municipal Tribunal in Pasajeros for pre-criminal
social dangerousness and ties to dissidents.
On April 8, 2008 in Colón, Matanzas activist Juan Pedroso Esquivel
was charged together with more dissidents, and his house surrounded by
Abel López Pérez, Director of the Movimiento de Derechos Humanos
Resurrección Martiana and representative of the Consejo de Relatores de
Derechos Humanos de Cuba in Guantánamo, was returned to prison on April
21, 2008. He had been sentenced to 4 years in prison in 2005 for
'disrespecting,' but had received a conditional discharge due to severe
health conditions that included Hepatitis B, chronic renal failure and
On April 22, 2008 Mijaíl Capote Aranda was sentenced to 4 years in el
Típico Prison in Manzanillo for an attack, lack of respect and resisting
arrest in February 2008. State security had observed him screaming
"Abajo Fidel" in the street.
On May 18, 2008, independent journalist Roberto de Jesús Guerra
Pérez, law student Luis Mell Morales Chávez and human rights activists
Ricardo Rubén Barreto Fuentes, Higinio Euberto Rodríguez Batista, Osmani
Rojas Díaz, Osmani Lazo and Yasmani Fría were detained early in the
morning for the accusation of "meeting with subversive elements".
On May 19, 2008, in Lawton, Havana police detained approximately 50
young people after accusing them of undisciplined social behavior and
• Human right activist José Ramón Mendez Cuellar was detained May 19,
Havana accused of undisciplined social behavior and illicit actions.
4. Violent treatment and/or inhumane conditions
On April 8, 2008, Bárbaro Carmenate García was violently mistreated
by his jailers in Kilo 7 Prison in Camagüey. The doctor, who treated him
in the provincial hospital, detected hematomas, a broken facial bone and
several other fractures.
Political prisoners: Librado Linares García, Eduardo Pacheco Ortiz y
Orlando Zapata has been imprisoned with tuberculosis-ill prisoners.
Tuberculosis was also reported as having appeared in the prison of
Canaleta in Matanzas
• Other serious problems are the almost complete absence of medical
care and pharmaceuticals in the prisons for the detained; denying long
distance telephone calls to prisoners, as has been the case of Jorge
Luis González Tanquero, president of Movimiento Independentista Carlos
Manuel de Céspedes, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but has not
been allowed to speak with his familiy.
5. Repressions against peaceful dissident, i.e. detentions,
interrogations, physical aggression and "actos de repudio"
In March 2008, independent journalist Roberto Armando Sanchez Valdes
was denied medical assistance by hospital staff on the Isla de la
Juventud due to his opposition activities
On April 2, 2008, activists Julio César López Rodríguez, Alfredo
Fernández Silva and Domingo Lascano, were arrested and detained for 8
hours for participation in the event organize by the unity of pacific
On April 5, 2008, 4 independent labor unionist arrested in Pinar del
Río, interrogated by state security police. 20 bracelets of CAMBIO and
15 stickers and other documents were taken form them.
On April 8, 2008, Didio Fernández Luis, president of "la Comisión
Martiana de atención al presidio politico" was arrested for organizing
On April 9, 2008, 7 activists, Orestes Paino Viera, Carlos Ríos
García, Carlos Ríos Otero, Aida Valdés Santana, Rafael Ernesto Ávila and
Ramón de Jesús Pereda Gutiérrez were arrested while indented to organize
a press conference on invalidation of Cuban national parliament
"Asamblea Nacional del Poder Popular". Others were visited in their
houses and threatened.
On April 21, 2008, 7 activists, Idania Llanes Contreras, Yesmi Elena
Mena Urbano, Pedro Yordi Tápanes García, Guillermo Fariñas Hernández,
Roque Emilio Martínez Angúlo, José Alberto Ocaña Sarsine and Léster
Fernández Samora were arrested in Santa Clara while visiting their
friend being in hospital from being of hunger strike.
• On April 21, 2008, a peaceful demonstration by the Damas de Blanco
was broken up by state police. Since that time the house of Laura Pollan
has been under the permanent surveillance. Noelia Pedraza Jiménez, Dolia
Bárbara Jiménez Contreras, Alejandrina García de la Riva, Laura
Pollán Toledo, Tania Morejón Soca, Juana Gómez Riego, María del Carmen
Martínez López, Olga Lidia González Barroso y Berta Soler Fernández were
detained. Together with them was arrested a dissident: Leonardo Miguel
Bruzón Ávila In addition, on April 21st, independent journalist Carlos
Serpa Maceira was detained in Havana from monitoring the Damas de
Blanco's demonstration. He was fined 30 CUC and due to his permanent
residency at Isla de la Juventud he was expelled from Havana in spite of
the fact that his wife is a permanent resident there.
On April 21, 2008, Leonardo Miguel Bruzón Ávila, Omar Bustamante
Mustelier y Armando Leiva Sánchez were detained after repeated screaming
liberty for political prisoners and held for 24 hours.
On April 26, 2008 Fidel Mojena Rivero and Raúl Velásquez Valdés were
interrogated by police in Artemisa, threatened, fingerprinted and fined
On April 28, 2008 local dissidents were threaten by social workers on
Isla de la Juventud after the national revolutionary police accused them
of breaking the law of social danger and laziness..
On May 5, 2008, Victor Manuel Leon Piloto was beaten during the
interrogation by the police representatives. He was accused of
On May 7, 2008, young Cuban activist Maikel Bencomo Rojas was
arrested for having a tattoo on his back "Abajo Fidel." He was condemned
to two years in prison after being harassed for 8 months by state
On May 14, 2008, an "acto de repudio" was conducted in Pinar del Río
during a meeting of Partido pro Derechos Humanos.
On May 21, 2008, human right activist and former political prisoner
Noel Gutierrez was threatened by agent of State Security after he was
visited by a foreign diplomat.
Ex-prisoner of conscience Pedro González Acosta was detained in Pinal
del Rio while coming back home with his 8-years child on the public
street. His bags were searched and though nothing was found, they
threaten him with imprisonment.
Members of Partido Obrero Campesino in Granma were visited in their
homes and threaten by the state police because to stop them from
participating in organizing a congress being held on June 10th.
Interrogated were: Salvador Caballero Aliaga, Gerardo Valentín Mecía
Hernández, César Martín Pelegríno, Viki Boroná Ástigui, Maritza Sánchez
Collado and el presidente Alberto Moreno Fonseca.
• Activist José Hernández López was a victim of an "actos de repudio"
in Arabos, Matanzas, and detained after he put stickers of CAMBIO and NO
COOPERACION on his door, his "handicapped card" has been taken because
of his open critics toward Cuban government, and he has to register
every Fridays at the police station.
6. Actions against the free flow of information
On April 8, 2008, independent journalist Ernesto Corría Cabrera was
detained and expulsed from Havana to Camagüey, where he original resides
for publishing El Camagüeyano Libre new bulletin.
On April 12, 2008, activist Ángel Luis Gallardo Mena had his phone
call interrupted by State Security police for sending reports on
violation of HR to the radio in Miami.
On April 16, 2008, jailers from the prison Guayabo on Isla de Pinos
disconnected Rolando Jiménez Posada during his phone call while he was
giving information about conditions to Consejo de Relatores.
• On April 18, 2008, independent journalist Maiki Martorell Mayáns
was threatened by police in Manatí. The chief of police brought him in
front of revolutionary organs and read a law about public danger,
fingerprinted him and told him that he would be sent to prison if he
continues contra revolutionary activities. The whole process begun after
appearance of some stickers all over the region.
7. Fines for Dissidents
Ángel Luis Santiesteban Rodés was taken to court for refusing to pay
a 3600 pesos fine for private business activities of manufacturing
bricks. However, the main problem was that he is not willing to end of
membership in organization called: Fundación Cubana de Derechos Humanos.
• President of "Cooperativa de Ceramistas Independientes" de Isla de
Pinos -José Vladimir Araña Rosa, announced that he was fined 300 pesos
for building a small fence in front of his house that is higher than 90